Isaac Campos

Isaac Peter Campos



Professional Summary

Professor Campos teaches Latin American history. His main expertise is in modern Mexico and the history of illicit drugs. He is generally fascinated by the history of ideas, culture, and transnational phenomena. These interests are reflected in his thrice weekly newsletter, History on Drugs, which brings scholarly work to a more general audience, his digital history website, The Drug Page, which pursues a similar objective, and his book Home Grown: Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico's War on Drugs (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012), which examines the development of marijuana's reputation for causing madness and violence in Mexico from the sixteenth century down to its nationwide prohibition in 1920. Professor Campos has also worked for the National Security Archive where he did research on Mexico’s “dirty war” of the 1970s, Cuban-Mexican relations, and the War on Drugs since 1969. He teaches a variety of classes, from introductory surveys to graduate seminars.


Ph.D.: Harvard University 2006

A.B.: University of Michigan 1995

Abbreviated Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

Home Grown: Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico’s War on Drugs  (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2012)
“‘Pressure-Response’ and the Origins of Mexican Drug Policy, 1912-1920: A Reassessment,” forthcoming in Histories of Drug Trafficking in Twentieth Century Mexico, eds. Wil Pansters and Benjamin Smith (University of New Mexico Press, 2022).
“Reefer Madness Past and Present: Dr. Leopoldo Salazar Viniegra, Mexico, and the United States, c. 1938-Present,” in Cannabis: Global Histories, eds. James Mills and Lucas Richert (MIT Press, 2021).

“Mexicans and the Origins of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States: A Reassessment,” The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs 32, no. (2018): 6-37.

“A Diplomatic Failure: The Mexican Role in the Demise of the 1940 Reglamento Federal de Toxicomanías,” Third World Quarterly, 39, no.2 (2018): 232-247.

“Toward a New Drug History of Latin America: A Research Frontier at the Center of Debates,” (with Paul Gootenberg), Hispanic American Historical Review, 95, no. 1 (Feb. 2015): 1-35.

“Degeneration and the Origins of the War on Drugs,” Mexican Studies/Estudios Mexicanos 26, no. 2 (2010): 379-408

Other Publication

"In Search of Real Reform: Lessons from Mexico's Long History of Drug Prohibition," NACLA Report on the Americas 44, no. 3 (2011): 14-18
“Mexico’s Illegal-Reefer Madness,” Los Angeles Times, May 4, 2009
“¡La Gente Manda!”, Nueva Época, no. 630–631 (2003): 32–40

Honors and Awards

"Best Book" Prize, New England Council of Latin American Studies, 2013

"Honorable Mention," Bryce Wood Book Award, Latin American Studies Association, 2013

Courses Taught

Latin American History Survey (3 parts)

The Mexican Revolution

Modern Mexico

Drugs in the Americas and in Global Perspective

Topics in Latin American History (Graduate Seminar)

Drugs and Other Addictions Since 1980

Home Grown: The History of Marijuana in Mexico