"A World Problem”: Race, Gender, and Marijuana Prohibition in Brazil and the United States

Kellogg Institute Graduate Research Grants
Grant Year

My project, “A World Problem” examines how racialized patriarchal ideologies shaped the formation of drug control regimes in the early twentieth-century United States and Brazil. In examining these structures, this project challenges the narrative that drug control regimes were imposed on the Global South by the United States and highlights the transactional exchange between the two. By utilizing a transnational comparative approach, this project reveals how Brazil used drug regulation to police Afro-Brazilians and construct systems of democratic exclusion. Centering Brazil allows this research to analyze how the Global South was an active participant in the creation of a global prohibitionary system. As active participants, Brazilians constructed the imaginary that marijuana endangered the nation. My research highlights how drug usage and degeneration were linked illustrating how national racial and gendered ideologies and social structures influenced a transnational discourse that shaped policies concerning human development.