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Steven Hoelscher, Chair Burdine 437, Mailcode B7100, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-7277

Fall 2003

AMS 370 • American Cultural History of Alcohol and Drugs

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
26435 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
GAR 301

Course Description

Most scholars of alcohol and drug use have concentrated upon its physiological aspects. It is clear that addiction and craving have a physical and, in many cases, even a genetic basis. Yet, as many anthropologists and sociologists have pointed out, cultures directly affect the types of drugs used, how they are used, and for what purposes. In addition, one can examine a culture's drug use and attitude toward it and often discover a great deal about its functioning and values. Thus, drug use is not only a cultural product but a key social and historical descriptor. In this course, we will study both how American culture affected the use of drugs and attitudes toward them and how these serve as keys to the changing American intellectual, social, and political landscape.

Topics to be considered include proliferation of alcohol abuse in the early Republic, the Prohibition movement, criminalization of drugs, Alcoholics Anonymous and treatment, medical response to addiction, and the present issue of legalization. There will be a 15-20 page paper, a 5 page book report, and two reading quizzes.

Grading Policy

One book report (10%), two reading quizzes (15% each), class participation (20%), and a 15 to 20 page research paper (40%).


W.J. Rorabaugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition Claude Brown, Manchild in the Promised Land AA, Alcoholics Anonymous (the Big Book) Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream Michael Massing The Fix Cassandra Tate Cigarette Wars Reading packet of approximately 300 pages


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