We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Internal Communications
  • Need to know

    Need to know
  • Latest news

    Latest news
  • Events and Activities

    Events and Activities
  • Lectures and Seminars

    Lectures and Seminars

Adding Smoke to Breath

(8 February 2019)

This relaxed talk by Dr Andrew Russell on Thursday, 28 February, 6pm at Palace Green Library, will focus on the history of tobacco smoking and its consequences. Coinciding with the publication of his book 'Anthropology of Tobacco: Ethnographic Adventures in Non-Human Worlds' Andrew's talk will present tobacco as a plant with agency and the ability to assume different shapes according to context. Please book in advance.

In the past 500 years, tobacco use has spread rapidly from its evolutionary origins among indigenous communities in South America. This worldwide growth has been fuelled by its addictive properties, a murky colonial history and its contemporary exploitation by the forces of corporate and state-sponsored capitalism.

This has had frequently disastrous consequences for human health and well-being worldwide. How has an apparently humble plant managed to achieve such world domination? What are the latest manifestations of its shape-shifting abilities? What needs to happen if we are ever to put this particular genie back in its lamp and consider seriously ‘a world without tobacco’?

Have something to include?

Please liaise with the designated contact for your department or college. For further guidance, email

Get in touch