James Bradford

Associate Professor
Affiliated Departments

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Career Highlights
  • Taught courses at Babson College, Northeastern University, and Suffolk University
  • Author of Poppies, Politics, and Power: Afghanistan and the Global History of Drugs and Diplomacy (Cornell University Press, 2019)
  • Wrote articles/chapters "The War on Drugs in Afghanistan: How the War on Drugs Shaped Afghanistan’s Emergence in the Global Illicit Drug Trade" in The War on Drugs: Fifty Years, A Trillion Dollars, and Thirty Million Arrests, edited by David Farber (NYU Press, 2021); "Smoker's Paradise: How Hashish Globalized the Afghan Drug Trade in Cannabis" in Global Histories, edited by James Mills and Lucas Richert (MIT Press, 2021); "Twenty-First Century Global Drug Trades and Consumption" for the Oxford Handbook of Global Drug History, edited by Paul Gootenberg (forthcoming in Oxford University Press, 2022); "The Known Unknowns and the Unknown Knowns: The Hashish Trade in Afghanistan" with David Mansfield for Illegal Cannabis Cultivation in the World, edited by Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy (EchoGeo, 2019)
  • Gave public lectures as part of the Kreminar: Opioids in Historical Context at the Edward Kremers Seminar in the History of Pharmacy and Drugs, University of Wisconsin, Madison, and for the lecture series Afghan History: Past, Present, and Future at the Yale Program in Iranian Studies, Yale University
  • Workshops include The Afghan Connection: Smuggling, Heroin, and Nixon’s War on Drugs in Afghanistan for the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR), Summer Institute, and Security and the State: Cultures of National Security and Insecurity in American Foreign Relations
  • Participant in the Social Sciences Research Council's Eurasia Program Field Building Workshop cosponsored by the Central Asia Program at the Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at George Washington University, 2012
  • Recipient of the Choice Book Award for Poppies, Politics, and Power, October 2019
  • Recipient of the John F. Richards Travel Grant, Kabul, Afghanistan, from the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, summer 2014
  • Recipient of the John F. Richards Research Fellowship, American Institute of Afghanistan Studies, summer 2012
In Their Own Words

“As a historian, I try to get students to use primary sources. I encourage discussion and debate in the classroom, but I also try to keep it lighthearted and make students feel comfortable in discussing issues.”

“I want students to realize the importance of history in understanding the contemporary world. All too often, we see things as isolated temporally and it’s really important to see how these things are connected to historical processes that have been going on for decades if not centuries. I also want to help students see how complex things are and to get away from looking at things dogmatically in black and white. There are multiple sides to every story and the more we can recognize that complexity, the better off students are in having an enlightened view of the world.”

“Musicians have a mouthpiece to articulate ideas about how the world functions, so it’s really important for students and musicians to pay attention to what’s going on. The big thing I want for my students is to not be apathetic and to see that they are a part of history like everyone else.”