Chris Duvall corrects common misconceptions about cannabis and provides a history of cannabis as it flowed into, throughout, and out of Africa. He demonstrates how preexisting smoking cultures in Africa transformed the plant into a fast-acting drug and how it later became linked with global capitalism and the slave trade. Cannabis was also used to cope with oppressive working conditions under colonialism, as a recreational drug, and in religious and political movements.
“This timely and compelling book profoundly engages with the contemporary interest in medical marijuana and the revision underway in the racial stereotyping of drug users. As the only work that situates Africa and its peoples at the center of a human and environmental narrative that unfolds across the Atlantic world, The African Roots of Marijuana offers a history of cannabis unlike any other.” Judith Carney, coauthor of In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s botanical legacy in the Atlantic world
"The history and geography of psychoactive cannabis has been written many times, but no other work prior to Chris S. Duvall's The African Roots of Marijuana has explored the crucial importance of Africa and Africans in the story. Indeed, as in so many others areas of biocultural world history, Africans have been written continuously as recipients of knowledge and invention rather than innovators. With a focus on nineteenth-century published works, Duvall exposes forcefully and with felicitous prose the roots underlying the cannabis cultures that exist today." Robert Voeks, author of The Ethnobotany of Eden: rethinking the jungle medicine narrative
Chris Duvall is Associate Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of New Mexico and author of Cannabis.