Jamie Banks

Research Assistant - Alcohol, Race and Ethnicity/ Wellcome Trust ISSF Early Career Fellow

Contact detailsJamie Banks

Personal details

After completing my BA (2014) and MRes (2016) at Leicester, I was lucky enough to receive a Midlands4Cities AHRC doctoral studentship. My doctoral research (which I am in the very last stages of finishing), offers a social history of opium use amongst Indian and Chinese indentured labourers in British Guiana, Trinidad, and Mauritius. This project challenges the narrow social, political, and economic contexts which have often defined prior studies of indentureship, exploring the ways in which opium use entangled migrants in a nexus of intersecting relationships with others in their host societies.

As of December 2019, I assumed the role of Research Associate on the AHRC funded project: ‘Alcohol Race, and Ethnicity: Mexico, the United States and the Wider World, 1845 – 1940.’ The project, funded by Dr. Deborah Toner’s AHRC Leadership Fellows Grant, examines the emergence and proliferation of racial stereotypes about drinking behavior in the United States and Mexico between 1845 and 1940. In this role, I will be supporting Dr. Toner by helping to organize a series of collaborative workshops, writing project blogs, and helping to create a knowledge exchange best practice guide.

Following the defense of my thesis, I will also be starting a University of Leicester-Wellcome Trust ISSF Early Career Fellowship. During this fellowship, I will be exploring the persistence of racialized stereotypes about cannabis and mental illness in Britain and Jamaica. In particular, this research seeks to demonstrate how colonial attitudes, towards cannabis and mental illness in 19th century Jamaica, persisted in the use of ‘Cannabis Psychosis’ as a means to diagnose the symptoms of Anglo-Jamaican psychiatric patients during the 1970’s and 1980’s.


Jamie Banks, ‘Ganja Madness: Cannabis, Insanity, and Indentured Labor in British Guiana and Trinidad, 1881-1912,’ in Lucas Richert and James Mills (eds.), Cannabis: Global Histories (Massachusetts: MIT Press, forthcoming 2021).

Share this page: