AMS S370 • American Cultural History of Alcohol and Drugs-W
1:00 PM-2:30 PM
Most scholars of alcohol and drugs have concentrated upon its physiological aspects. It is clear that addiction and craving, not just for alcohol but other drugs as well, have a physical and, in some cases, even a genetic basis. Yet, culture also affects drug use. Alcohol use has risen and fallen over time and differs from one ethnic group to the next. Certain drugs are used extensively in certain periods and never in others. The type of drug and how they are used can tell us a great deal about that culture. Drug use is not only a product of culture but also a key social and historical descriptor. This semester we will study the use of five drugs in five distinct historical periods and try to determine what they say about American culture at that time and perhaps about us as Americans as well. This seminar, never offered before in the summer, is designed primarily to ensure that American Studies and History majors can graduate on time. Although reading from the regular course will be reduced considerably, there will still be a book a week. Also, to meet the writing requirement, there will be two 8 to 10 page papersone research and one reflecting on the wisdom of the criminalization of drugs. There will also be a short answer and matching exam based on the reading.
W.J. Rorabugh, The Alcoholic Republic: An American Tradition Cassandra Tate, Cigarette Wars: The Triumph of the Little White Slaver Jay Stevens, Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream Phillippe Bougois, In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in El Barrio Charles Bowden, Down by the River: Drugs, Murder, Money, and Family