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Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context

Book Launch: The War on Drugs and the Global Colour Line

19 November 2019

Time: 6:00 - 8:00pm
Venue: Room 313, Third Floor, School of Law, Mile End Road, Queen Mary University of London, London E1 4NS

This event brings together a superb panel of critical scholars and policy makers, to discuss Dr Kojo Koram’s new edited collection, ‘The War on Drugs and the Global Colour Line’.


While laws prohibiting the production, sale and use of particular drugs are presented as politically neutral and objective, this collection reveals the racist impact of the War on Drugs across multiple continents and in numerous situations. Our panel will analyse and dissect the ways in which the global colour line, popularised by WEB Du Bois, is articulated in contemporary contexts. From racialised drugs policing at festivals in the UK to the necropolitical wars in Juarez, Mexico and from the exchange of drug policing programs between the United States and Israel to the management of black bodies in Brazil, this collection proves that the regulation of drugs and race is an international, and intentional, disaster.


Editor: Dr Kojo Koram, Lecturer in Law, Birkbeck College, University of London

Dr Kojo Koram’s Research interests lay at the intersections of Critical International law, Colonialism, Race and the Law and Political/juridical theology. Drawing upon an array of scholarly traditions including postcolonial/decolonial theory, critical legal theory, law and literature and postmodernism, his projects have looked at the relationship between international drug prohibition and the (post)colonial structure of international law. Dr Koram is currently embarking on a new research project that explores Brexit and Imperial Amnesia in Britain.

Chair: Dr Isobel Roele, Lecturer in Law, QMUL

Dr Isobel Roele is a lecturer in law at QMUL, and Co-Director of its Centre for Law and Society in a Global Context. She writes about the United Nations, including its pursuit of global collective security, its management and organisational structures, and the aesthetics of its physical spaces. Her new book Articulating Security: The United Nations and its Infra-Law is forthcoming with CUP.

Dr Lisa Tilley, Lecturer in Politics, Birkbeck College, University of London

Dr Lisa Tilley is currently a Lecturer in Politics and the Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at Birkbeck, University of London. Her work focuses on political economy/ecology, race, and historical/present-day colonialism, extraction and expropriation, especially in Southeast Asia. She also co-convenes the CPD-BISA working group and is Associate Editor of Global Social Theory.

Naomi Burke-Shyne, Executive Director, Harm Reduction International

Naomi Burke-Shyne brings more than 10 years of international experience at the intersection of harm reduction, HIV and human rights. Previously, Naomi worked for the Open Society Foundations’ Public Health Program, leading a portfolio of funding and policy engagement that supported civil society to challenge the negative impact of drug policy on access to controlled medicines, and strengthen access to justice for people who use drugs.

Dr Adam Elliot-Cooper, Research Associate, Greenwich University

Dr Adam Elliott-Cooper is a research associate at the University of Greenwich. He received his PhD from the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, in 2016. He has previously worked as a researcher in the Department of Philosophy at UCL, as a teaching fellow in the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick and as a research associate in the Department of Geography at King's College London. He sits on the board of The Monitoring Group, an anti-racist organisation challenging state racisms and racial violence.


For directions to the venue, please refer to the map.


For more information on this event, please email

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