Suzanna Reiss

Generic Profile GraphicAssociate Professor & Acting Graduate Chair
U.S. Foreign Relations, Imperialism, Capitalism

Office: Sakamaki B207, A202
Phone: (808) 956-6768

BA New York University, 1996; MA University of Toronto, 1998; MA, PhD New York University, 2001, 2005



Suzanna Reiss trained as an historian of twentieth century US history and the African Diaspora with a particular emphasis on Latin America, the Caribbean, and Canada. Her research has focused on the political economy of US expansion, the history of capitalism, Cold War and anti-colonial politics, and how designations of legality and criminality have grounded the power of the modern state. She received her MA from the University of Toronto and PhD from New York University. She spent the 2009-2010 academic year in residence at Harvard University as a Fellow at the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. Her recent book, We Sell Drugs: The Alchemy of US Empire, tells the history of international drug control initiatives providing both material and ideological foundations for twentieth century US imperialism.

Courses Offered

US Foreign Relations (HIST 371, 372), American Empire (HIST 379, AMST 365), Race and Incarceration, (HIST 296), The Cold War (HIST 469), modern US history (HIST 282), Senior Tutorial in History (HIST 496B), and graduate seminars on US foreign relations and the historical interplay between capitalism and criminality.

Representative Publications

  • We Sell Drugs: The Alchemy of US Empire (University of California Press, 2014)
  • “Canadian Multiculturalism: Immigration, Race and the Crisis of National Identity,” in Reza Hasmath, editor, Managing Ethnic Diversity: Meanings and Practices from an International Perspective (Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., January 2010)
  • Beyond Supply and Demand: Obama’s Drug Wars in Latin America,” NACLA Report on the Americas, January/February 2010: 27-31, 38.
  • Policing Development: Andean Drug Control & the Expansion of US Capitalism,” Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: an Interdisciplinary Journal, Vol. 23, No. 2 (Spring 2009): 128-50.
  • “‘Sampson Takes Havana’: International Tobacco Cultures and the War of 1898” in Patricia P. Hilden, Shari M. Huhndorf, and Timothy J. Reiss, eds., Topographies of Race and Gender: Mapping Cultural Representations, a special double issue of Annals of Scholarship: Art Practices and the Human Sciences in a Global Culture, Vol. 17.3-18.1 (2007): 136-161.

We Sell Drugs