Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs
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Illicit Globalization

“Illicit Globalization”: The clandestine dimensions of globalization involve illicit cross-border flows of people, goods, money and information. This project critically examines the interaction between states and illicit flows across time and place, focusing especially on the practice and politics of government policing efforts. The project, which bridges the study of security, political economy, and cross-border crime, involves a wide range of outputs and activities: books and edited volumes, scholarly and policy articles, conferences, and courses.

This includes books such as Smuggler Nation: How Illicit Trade Made America (Oxford University Press, 2013); Blue Helmets and Black Markets: The Business of Survival in the Siege of Sarajevo (Cornell University Press, 2008); Policing the Globe: Criminalization and Crime Control in International Relations (paperback edition, Oxford University Press, 2008); Border Games: Policing the U.S.-Mexico Divide (second edition, Cornell University Press, 2009, third edition 2022); Sex, Drugs, and Body Counts: The Politics of Numbers in Global Crime and Conflict (Cornell University Press, 2010), and The Illicit Global Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know (under contract with Oxford University Press). 

Other activities include policy and scholarly articles in such publications as Foreign AffairsPolitical Science Quarterly, and Perspectives on Politics; chapter contributions to edited volumes; co-editing a special issue of the interdisciplinary journal Crime, Law & Social Change; organizing a conference (focusing on the relationship between violence and illicit markets) hosted and sponsored by the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation; op-eds in media outlets such as the Washington Post and Boston Globe; and lectures in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Europe. The teaching component includes a lecture course on "The Politics of the Illicit Global Economy," a senior research seminar on "Contraband Capitalism: States and Illegal Markets," and a first-year seminar on "Drug War Politics."