T C 357 • Pharmacology and Human Development - W
1:00 PM-2:00 PM
The purpose of this course is to understand how some of the major pharmacological developments of the 20th century have been intended or interpreted as enhancements of human traits and abilities. The course begins with a reading of history's most influential interpretation of psychopharmacology, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World (1932). We proceed to look at the social and medical careers of the "minor" tranquilizers, and the later antidepressants such as Prozac, in the light of Huxley's predictions. The course also deals at length with the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone and the long (and now controversial) career of hormone replacement therapy for women. We will examine the expanding "anti-aging" market for testosterone drugs as well as the use of anabolic steroids and other artificial hormones to boost athletic performance. A major theme of the course is how difficult it has become to distinguish between "therapeutic" and "cosmetic" or "performance-enhancing" drug treatments.
About the Professor Professor Hoberman is a cultural historian whose research areas include the history of racial folklore and topics within the history of modern medicine. He has taught courses at UT on the history of racial ideas, the history of antisemitism, race and sport, and race and medicine. His most recent book is Darwin's Athletes: How Sport Has Damaged Black America and Preserved the Myth of Race (1997). He is currently writing a social and medical history of synthetic testosterone drugs. He received a President's Associates Teaching Excellence Award in 1988.
The primary reader for the course is a photocopied anthology of medical and journalistic articles on a variety of drugs. The other readings are: Richard Davenport-Hines, The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Peter Kramer, Listening to Prozac: A Psychiatrist Explores Antidepressant Drugs and the Remaking of the Self