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Research Seminar: Opium, Empire, and the Indian Peasant

Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 5:40 pm – 7:00 pm

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff of the Department of History, 

We are continuing our departmental tradition of organizing weekly research seminars. In these seminars, professors and researchers provide insights into their current work.

On Tuesday, 11.01.2022, 17:40 PM CET, we will have a lecture by Rolf Bauer, Visiting Professor at CEUs History Department. The seminar will take place at the Vienna Campus in room B215 and on Zoom.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 933 3710 3536

Passcode: 271164


Title:  Opium, Empire, and the Indian Peasant

Abstract: Opium has had a long history in South Asia as both a medicinal and recreational drug. However, it was only under British rule that it became a major item of trade. The East India Company created a monopoly system that allowed them to control every step in the production process: from the sowing of the poppy seeds to the sale of the drug at auctions in Calcutta. In this lecture I sketch the rise and fall of this notorious industry with a focus on the peasant producers who cultivated poppy on their own fields with their own means of production and delivered the harvest to the colonial state’s very own Opium Department.

Bio:  Rolf Bauer, born 1984, is an economic and social historian. He is interested in the history of modern South Asia, drugs, commodity frontiers, disasters, and peasant studies. In 2019 he published his first monograph The Peasant Production of Opium in Nineteenth-Century India with Brill. Currently, Rolf is Visiting Professor at CEUs History Department. 


We welcome all members of the department and the CEU community!

Daniela Munteanu and Jan Hennings