Book project

… is finally almost done

This is a book about the earliest phase of the global drug trade. The globalization of ‘Indies drugs’ in the seventeenth century entangled indigenous and enslaved inhabitants of the tropics with scientists, merchants and consumers in Europe. The global pharmaceutical industry and illicit drug cartels, I argue, are twin Janus faces of an earlier trade.
In preparation, 2017.

Recent Publications

articles and book chapters

Res Obscura

I maintain a biweekly newsletter with links to historical news and writing. The only selection criteria is that it’s for things I think are interesting and little-known. There’s also a blog.

Sign up for the Res Obscura newsletter

Recent & Upcoming Talks

Three Ways of Looking at an Opium Ball
Jun 1, 2030 1:00 PM



I’m currently the editor of the ‘Found’ section at Bunk, a new history site.


A complete list of links to my journalism and popular writing.


I enjoy making historical maps. Here are a few, with more to come.

Res Obscura

My personal history blog, Res Obscura, started in 2010.

The Appendix

The Appendix was a journal of narrative and experimental history that was published from 2012 to 2015.


I’m not teaching in the fall of 2017. In Winter Quarter, 2018, I will teach:

  • HIS70A: Modern European History, 1500-1815
  • HIS151: Science, Medicine, and Technology from Antiquity to the Enlightenment

And in Spring Quarter, 2018:

  • HIS2A: The World to 1500
  • HIS177A: Tropics of Empire


  • Stevenson College, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA
  • On leave from teaching, Fall 2017