Richard Harvey Brown

Forbidden Substances

Towards the end of his life, Richard Harvey Brown was able to complete a number of projects, including the book Culture, Capitalism, and Democracy in the New America (Yale University Press) and the edited volume The Politics of Selfhood: Bodies and Identities in Global Capitalism (University of Minnesota Press). Unfortunately, he was not able to finish his long in-process comparative history of drug policies, Forbidden Substances. As his research assistant during the last year of his life, I continued working on the manuscript for some time after Richard’s passing, but ultimately decided against pursuing its publication. It appears here for the first time anywhere, in a still unfinished state. As you will see, some of the chapters are missing references and some may have outdated statistics. However, I believe the value of Richard’s many comparative analyses, and the power of his theoretical insights, remain clear throughout the book.

Although I edited and revised much of the book, I only did a significant amount of writing on chapters seven and eight, so those are the only ones for which I have assumed co-authorship. I would like to thank Wendy Wiedenhoft, Richard’s research assistant on this project before me, for the hard work she put into this manuscript, and Laure Bjawi for all her support and guidance.

If you have any questions about Forbidden Substances, please contact me at

The following chapters are available for download in PDF (Portable Document Format).


Richard Harvey Brown Homepage