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Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Mark C. Smith

Associate Professor Ph.D., American Studies, 1980, University of Texas at Austin

Mark C. Smith



Research interests

His main research interests are the history of social science and the cultural history of alcohol and drugs.

Courses taught

His major teaching fields are American cultural and social history, especially of the twentieth century.

T C 357 • Prohibition And Drug Wars

43025 • Fall 2012
Meets TTH 200pm-330pm CRD 007A
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Americans' relationship with drugs has always been a curious one. As staunch individualists we have pronounced our right to control our body in whatever way we please. Yet, simultaneously, we recognize the potential power drugs have to take away this very same individuality. We treat our addiction alternately as a consequence of our environment and then as free choice. Such duality leads to cyclical periods of Americans declaring that drugs are the ultimate evil and then stating that drugs do no harm at all. Consequently, American society has witnessed a number of historical periods which merit the appellation “drug war” followed by times of relative calm.

This class explores two of those periods: the time of alcohol prohibition beginning around the 1880’s and in existence from 1919 to 1933 and the present scattershot, unrestrained movement to eliminate all “street” drugs. These periods have a number of things in common: lawlessness and disrespect for the law, increased price and demand for drug's; moralistic rhetoric, and huge increases in prison population. Yet, political and cultural opposition to alcohol prohibition always existed as did support for it. The historical use of alcohol in American society served as a normalizing function. Yet illegal drugs today do not have such support. Does this mean that this cycle will go on forever, and we will continue to pour money down this sinkhole? Is there a possibility that America can transcend history and achieve a truly drug-free age? Or, indeed, do prohibition movements take place only under certain historical circumstances and will this drug war end with a change in circumstances?


Joseph Spillaine, Cocaine: From Medical Marvel to Modern Menace in the United States

Nate Blakeslee, Tulia: Race, Cocaine, and Corruption in a Small Texas Town

Michael Lerner, Dry Manhattan

Michael Massing, The Fix

Charles Bowden et. al., Dreamland: The Way Out of Juarez


Two reading quizzes:                               20%

One short paper (3-5 pages):                   10%

Class participation:                                  30%

One research paper (15-20 pages):          40%

About the Professor:

Mark Smith teaches in the American Studies and History departments. Before coming to the University of Texas, he taught for a number of years overseas in Germany and Japan. In addition to his degrees in American Studies, he has a masters degree in Social Work from the University of Texas and has worked as an alcohol and drug counselor. He has written Social Science in the Crucible: The American Debate over Objectivity and Purpose, 1918-1941 and is currently working on a study of 20th century American resistance to the demonization of drug use and users. He has won several teaching and advising awards from the college and university. He admits to living and dying with the Boston Red Sox.


T C 357 • Prohibition And Drug Wars-W

43820 • Fall 2009
Meets TTH 1230pm-200pm CRD 007A
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Fall 2009            Dr. Mark Smith
TTh 12:30-2            Office Burdine 428
CRD 007B            Office Hours Tues 12-12:30 and Thurs 2-3                             Littlefield snack bar         
Course Number 43820    Phone: 232-2150
Course Description:  Humans and human society have always had an ambivalent relationship with drugs.  On the one hand, they provide us with pleasurable and unique sensations.  Biochemists have discovered that our brains contain chemical substances whose reactions are almost identical with drugs like heroin.  Cultures throughout time have used drugs for such societal functions as ritual and solidarity.  Individuals use them to control anxiety, overcome social handicaps, and seek creative insight.  Almost all human societies have had access to drugs, usually alcohol, and almost all have used them.  Some of the earliest written records of human societies as far apart as Babylonia, Egypt, and China, record note the use and abuse of alcohol.  In those few areas of the world like Oceania and most of North America where alcohol did not exist aboriginally, other drugs were known and used and alcohol was quickly adapted after European contact.

    For all of the positive use of drugs, all societies share problems with them at the same time.  These earliest records show not only the use of alcohol but also its abuse and consequent regulation.  One of the earliest written records in Babylonia noted drunkenness and called for its control.  Once alcohol was introduced into Native American and Oceanic societies, the two areas that lacked fermented beverages indigenously, terrible problems and even chaos ensued.  Almost all societies seem to contain individuals whose use of drugs escalates to obsessive and antisocial behavior.  The society, as well as its individual members, can be weakened by such actions.  The division of the once dominant Chinese by the European powers and Japan in the nineteenth century had a good deal to do with the extent of opiate addiction especially in the ports controlled by the Europeans.

    Because of this, all societies at one time or another seemed to engage in regulation and often prohibition.  Certain societies have been more successful than others, but few, if any, have succeeded in completely eliminating drug use in large part because of the physiological and social attractiveness of drugs for humans.

    The United States is one of the few industrialized nations (the others are in Scandinavia), which have attempted to prohibit alcohol by national legislation.  Moreover, we have tried to do it in the twentieth century.  It has also led, often by coercion, through the United Nations an international attempt to eliminate worldwide the opiates, cocaine, and progressively more drugs.  Indeed, throughout much of American history public attitudes toward drugs has been a type of pharmacological determinism—that drugs by their very nature are so seductive that they compel the use to continue their use once begun.  This destroys free will and attacks the core of American democracy.  In
                                        page 2

a weird way, drugs threaten American individualism, yet law enforcement’s imposition of strict abstinence also denies the individual’s right to make one’s own decision and control his or her own body.

This particular course emphasizes the public policy issues of this dilemma.  What policies can the state design to eliminate drug problems?  Or is it literally impossible to eradicate such a biologically driven impulse?  Are all government solutions worse than the initial problems?  Why was the United States one of the few places in the world determined to eliminate rather than regulate alcohol?  Yet, why did they give up those utopian hopes for alcohol so quickly yet insist upon it for other drugs?  Why are alcoholics relatively well accepted while drug addicts and even users are seen as the devil incarnate?  And above all else, why does emotionalism so often interfere with the rationality of policy-making?

It is out of these contradictory tendencies that America’s history of drug prohibition and drug wars have emerged.  This course will examine it with the goal being not just an understanding of the phenomena itself but of its symbolic meaning.  What do Americans’ use of and image of drugs tell us about the culture?  And the ultimate public policy question, how does one devise a policy that will ameliorate the problem without causing great harm?  This is a problem that has bedeviled societies for generations.

Required Texts

Michael Lerner Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City
Joseph Spillane Cocaine: From Medical Marvel to Modern Menace
Michael Massing The Fix: Under the Nixon Administration America Had an Effective Drug Policy
Nate Blakeslee Tulia: Race, Cocaine and Corruption in a Small Texas Town
Nick Reding Methland: The Death and Life of a Small Town

Course Packet—Available at Paradigm Notes—West 24th St.

Drug War Chronicle
    I will be asking each of you to subscribe to a pro-reform weekly online publication entitled Drug War Chronicle.  It does oppose the present drug policy but does so, it seems to me, in a factual, informed way.   If you have a strong reason for opposing such a position such as a sibling trying to recover from speed and you think such policies will make things worse, I’ll relent.  For the rest of you this is the best and fastest resource on contemporary drug policy.
    The address is or Google Drug War Chronicle.  Register and the newsletter will come every week.  It’s about a 15 minute read and some pretty amazingly weird ones

                                        page 3

Required Films
“Demon Rum” (to be shown in class)
“High: The True Tale of American Marijuana” (showings TBA)
 HBO “Addiction” 
“The Meth Epidemic”
National Geographic “The World’s Most Dangerous Drug” seen in class

Class Format

    This is a seminar course and will be conducted almost exclusively on a discussion basis.  My idea of hell is listening to anyone, especially myself, talk continuously for more than 15 minutes.  You have to do that in lectures.  It’s why I like teaching seminars.  One of my crusty old professors used to describe unprepared seminars as “exchanging ignorances.”  To overcome that, I will expect people to prepare and attend on a regular basis.  I will take attendance and make notes on student participation for every class.  30% of your final grade will depend upon participation.  I will give a participation grade at the end of the semester and explain in detail the basis of my decision.  You also can ask how you are doing during the semester if you are uncertain  Anyone who misses five or more classes without specific medical or similar reasons will receive an automatic F for the course.

Course Requirements:

For every other semester I have given two short answer exams during the semester.  I did it to ensure that people did the reading since one can’t do a seminar successfully without class preparation.  I also did it because I thought spot quizzes were even more insulting to both parties.  But I know many of you are overextended with faculty thinking that only their class is important because only they are important in this world.

Here is my hoped for solution for this semester.  During the semester I will assess the ongoing reading and participation level.  If I am not happy with it, I will require you to turn in summaries of books and/or articles coming due within the next week.  To determine grades, I will do this occasionally even when the class is fine, but it will be fewer.  Book summaries will be a minimum of three pages and concentrate upon the thesis and how the author proves the thesis.  Article summaries will again emphasize the thesis but will also relate it to the class topic and material of the day.  Each article summary should be a minimum of a page and a half.  The composite grade for the summaries will be 10% of the final grade,                           
There will be three very different papers.  The first will be a five page paper which you will begin for the second class.  I will ask you  to summarize your position on the Drug War and what should be done to deal with the problems of drug abuse and
                                    page 4 addiction.  You have three classes to revise your paper in terms of both grammar and belief.  In each class you will have the last 15 minutes to work with your assigned group of three to work together for suggestions for improvements.  The grade will be hopefully an easy 10%.

The second paper will also be a more philosophical paper.  After studying the very different stories of alcohol and cocaine at the turn of the century, I want you in an 8 to 10 page paper to conclude what you have learned about the criminalization of drugs?  Can it work?  What are the dangers of criminalization?  The necessities of it?  Could one have different answers about different drugs?  in different cultures?  at different times?  This will constitute 15% of your grade.

The third paper assignment will again reflect that section of the course.  The last third or so will deal with contemporary drug policy as it reflects our changing time and specific drugs.  In the latter part of the course we will deal with crack cocaine, marijuana, and speed.  If we had more time, we could include heroin, prescription drugs, cocaine, salvia, LSD, Ecstasy, tobacco, alcohol. and whatever new drug has been developed in the past month.  I want you to pick a particular drug that is either illegal, “gray” like prescription drugs. or even legal like alcohol or cigarettes during a particular historical period.  I want you to describe the drug including its potential for abuse to individuals and/or society and what is a society’s policy toward it.  That is, how do they try to control its problems, e.g. no cigarettes to individuals under the age of 18.  Now you tell me how you would do it better (in many cases you couldn’t do it any worse).  I think you need a minimum of 15 and more like 20 pages to do a good job of this.  Unlike the other papers, you will absolutely need to do research on this and include a bibliography and footnotes.  I want you to choose a topic by October 23.  Your topic will be a drug and a time period and a short bibliography of 2 to 3 sources showing me that you have started thinking about the topic.  On November 13th I want a topic outline with a sentence for every paragraph.  I wish to see this to check the organization and logic of your work.  You will not receive a grade on this but will be penalized for not doing it or doing a poor job. This, along with participation, will be the largest part of your grade with 30% of the total.
All papers will be due electronically, and I will note its receipt.

    In addition to daily participation, each person will give a 5-minute firm presentation on his or her final paper.  This assignment is designed to help you prepare for your Plan II presentation in the spring.  You should concentrate on your organization and emphasize your thesis.  As they are extremely rigid with regard to time, I will limit you to five minutes only.   This will count 5% of your grade. 
Final Grade Breakdown:
Class Participation 30%
Research paper 30%
Alcohol/Cocaine Paper 15%
First collaborative paper 10%
Summaries 10%
Oral presentation 5%  
                                        page 5 Bibliographies:
The following are a few books and websites that contain useful material for papers and the like.  Interestingly, the drug websites are the most detailed, although a few like Ephidrina treat alcohol as a drug.
1. Jack Blocker et. al;. Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: An International Encyclopedia (HV 5017 A43 2003)
2. Mark Lender and Martin Drinking in America: A History (HV 5292 L4 1982)
3. Schaffer Library of Drug Policy (
4. Drug War Chronicle (
5. Erowid-Documenting the Complex Relationship Between Humans and Psychoactives (
6. Ephidrina (

              Students With Disabilities
            The University of Texas at Austin provides upon request appropriate
                 academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities.  For more
                 Information contact the Office of the Dean of Students at 471-6257, 471-4641 TTY.                            They are  responsible for determining if I can give you extra time or special testing                  arrangements.


Aug    27    Introduction


Sep     1    Drug War Prohibitionists
        DEA Demand Reduction                                    
        James Q. Wilson “Against the Legalization of Drugs”                     (1990)
        David Courtwright “Drug Legalization, the Drug War,                     and Drug Treatment in Historical Perspective” (1992)
        Don Baum Smoke and Mirrors, chapter 18 (1996)
      3    Supporters of Reform/Legalization
        Milton Friedman “An Open Letter to Bill Bennett”                         (1989)
        Gary Fisher “The War on Drugs: Is the Battle                                  Working?” Rethinking Our War on Drugs (2006)
        Jerome Skolnick “Rethinking the Drug Problem”                         Deadalus (1992)
                                        page 6

        Jefferson M. Fish “Proposals for De-escalating the War                     on Drugs” (2005)
        Peter Cohen “The Drug Prohibition Church and the                         Adventure of Reformation” (2003)
        Ethan Nadelmann on Steven Colbert show                         videos/226362/april-30-2009/ethan-nadelmann
      8    International Alternatives
        Craig Reinarman “The Dutch Example Shows That                         Liberal Drug Laws Can Be Beneficial” (2000)
        David Duncan and Thomas Nicholson “Dutch Drug                     Policy: A Model for America” find in Shaefer Drug                         Library
        Maurice Frank “BYO Heron” (2000)
        Articles on Drug Injection Sites Drug War Chronicle


    10    The Beginnings of American Temperance
William Coggshall “Little Peleg: The Drunkard’s Son” (1854)
Neal Dow “The Story of a Neighborhood” (1854)
Ian Tyrell “Temperance and Economic Change in the Ante-Bellum North” (1979)
Michael Lerner Dry Manhattan: Prohibition in New York City, chaps 1-2

15    The Ethnicity of Alcohol
    Jon Kingsdale “The Poor Man’s Club: Social Functions     of the     Urban     Working Class Saloon” (1980)
    Madelon Powers “Decay from Within: The Inevitable     Doom     of the     American Saloon” (1991)
    Lerner Manhattan, chaps 3-6

17    The War on Alcohol
    in-class film “Demon Rum”
    Lerner Manhattan, chaps 7-9

                                        page 7   

    22    National Lawlessness and Repeal
        Lerner, Manhattan chaps 10-12
        Craig Reinarman and Harry Gene Levine: Lessons                         about Alcohol Policy for Drug Policy” (1992)


     24    Cocaine as Medicine
        Rudi Matthee “Exotic Substances” The Introduction                     and Global Spread of Tobacco, Coffee, Cocoa, Tea and                     Distilled Liquor, 16th to 18th Centuries”  (1995)
        Joseph Spillane Cocaine: From Medical Marvel to                         Modern Menace intro and chaps 1-3

    29    Development of Drugs as Sin
        Spillaine Cocaine chaps 4-6
        Susan Speaker: The Struggle of Mankind Against Its                     Deadliest Foe: Themes of Counter-Subversion in the                     Anti-Narcotic Campaigns” (2001)

Oct     1    Regulation and Criminalization
        Spillane, Cocaine chaps 7-8 and conclusion
        Mara Keire “Dope Fiends and Degenerates: Gendering                     of Addiction in the Early 20th Century” (1998)


      6    NO CLASS
        See “High: The True Tale of American Marijuana”      (2008)                 time and place to be announced
  8     The Offensive Against Marihuana
    Mezz Mezzrow “Really the Blues” (1946)
    Meyer Berger “Tea for a Viper” (1938)
        Harry Anslinger “Marihuana: Assassin of Youth”                         (1937) Schaffer Library of Drug Policy


    13    Drugs, Addiction, and Treatment
        Michael Massing The Fix, Part One
        see in-class film HBO “Addiction”
                                        page 8   
    15    The War on Drugs #1
        Massing Fix chaps 7-12
        Arnold Trebach “War Orphan”

    20    The War on Drugs #2
        Massing Fix chaps 13-20
        Michael Massing “Elephant in the Room” (2000)                         Robert Housman “US Drug Policy: Are We Doing the                     Right Thing?” (2000)

    22    Crack and Crack Babies
        Loren Siegel “The Pregnancy Police Fight the War on                     Drugs” (1997)
        Newsbrief: “Texas DA Says Doctors Must Turn in                         Drug Using Women” (2004)
        Susan Okie “The Epidemic That Wasn’t” (2009)


      27    The Drug War in Rural Texas
        William Finnegan “Deep East Texas” (1994)
         start Blakeslee, Tulia

       29     Race and Drug War
Nov         3    Law Enforcement and Texas

          5    Prescription Drugs
        Susan Speaker “From ‘Happiness Pills’ to ‘National                     Nightmare’: Changing Cultural Assessment of Minor                     Tranquilizers in America, 1955-1980 (1997)
        Ilina Singh “Not Just Naughty: Fifty Years of Stimulant                     Drug Advertising: (2007)

    10    The Origins of Methamphetamines
        Nicholas Rasmussen “America’s First Amphetamine                     Epidemic, 1929-1971” (2008)
        see “The Meth Epidemic” on your own
        Nick Reding Methland Prologue and Part One

                                        page 9

    12    Meth in America
        National Geographic “The World’s Most Dangerous                     Drug” seen in class
        Reding Methland Part 2


    17    The End or the Beginning of the Worst Drug
        Reding, Methland Part 3 and Epilogue

    19    First Presentations
        Each student will give a five minute presentation                         maximum and be prepared for a 5 to 8 minute question                     period

    24    NO CLASS
        WORK ON YOUR PAPER.  GET OUT OF TOWN                     EARLY.

Dec      1    Second Presentations

      3    Third Presentations




“American Social Science: An Overview,” Oxford Encyclopedia of American Cultural and Intellectual History, ed. Paul Boyer, Scott E. Caspar, and Joan Shelley Rubin, New York: Oxford University Press, scheduled 2012

“Alcoholism in Finland and the United States,” Suomi-USA Magazine, League of Finnish-American Societies, Helsinki, Finland, May, 2011, 18

“Same Beginnings, Different Ends: A Comparative View of Attitudes and Policies Toward Alcohol in Finland and the United States,” Suomi-USA Magazine, League of Finnish-American Societies, Helsinki, Finland, May, 2011, 16-17

“Alcohol Policy under the Microscope,” Helsinki Times, April 7,  2011, p. 2 

More and Less Than Prohibition: A Comparative View of Temperance Movements and Alcohol Institutions and Policies in Finland and the United States,” Juhalenot, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, December 10, 2010

“Hobson, Richmond Pearson,” Alcohol and Drugs in North America: A Historical Encyclopedia, ed. David Fahey and Jon Miller, Santa Barbara Ca., ABC-CLIO, forthcoming 

“Robert and Helen Lynd” International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, second edition, ed. William Darity, Farmington Hills, Minnesota, Macmillan Reference, 2008

“A Tale of Two Charlies: Political Science, History, and Civic Reform, 1890-1940,”Modern Political Science: Anglo-American Exchanges Since 1880 ed.  Robert Adcock, Mark Bevir, and Shannon C. Stimson, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007, 118-36 

“Ulrich Bonnell Phillips,” New Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Charles R. Wilson (ed.), Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006, 291-2

“The Maine Law and Prohibition,” Encyclopedia of New England Culture, Burt Feintuch and David Watters (ed.), New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005, 929

“Cowley, Malcolm,” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, Robert S. McElvaine (ed.) New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004, 215-16 

“Odum, Howard,” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, Robert S. McElvaine (ed.) New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004, 727-28 

“President’s Committee on Social Trends,” Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, Robert S. McElvaine (ed.) New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004, 768-69 

“Lawrence Kolb,” Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: An International Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, Ca.: ABC-CLIO, 2003, 352

“Joseph E. Turner,” Alcohol and Temperance in Modern History: An International Encyclopedia, Santa Barbara, Ca.: ABC-CLIO, 2003, 625

“American Social Science,” The Oxford Companion to American History, Paul Boyer (ed.), New York: Oxford University Press, 2001, 727-28

“Witch-hunting during America’s First War on Drugs: Richmond Pearson

Hobson and “Narcotic Education,’” in Fear Itself: Enemies Real and Imagined in American Culture, Nancy L. Schultz (ed.), Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1998, 303-12

“Academics, Advocacy, and the Public Schools: A View from the 1930s," Role of Advocacy in the Classroom, ed. Patricia Meyer Sparks New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996, 143-49

"Clarence Ayres," The Handbook of Texas, Ronnie Tyler, et. al.(eds.), Austin:Texas State Historical Society, 1996, I, 325

 "C. Wright Mills," The Handbook of Texas, Ronnie Tyler, et. al, (eds.), Austin: Texas State Historical Society, 1996, IV, 749-50

"William Archibald Dunning," American National Biography ed. John Garraty and Mark Carnes, New York: Oxford, 1999, v.7, 104-05

"Harold D. Lasswell," American National Biography New York: Oxford, 1999, v.13, 225-27

"Wesley C. Mitchell," American National Biography New York: Oxford, 1999, v.15, 623-25

"Stuart A. Rice," American National Biography New York: Oxford, 1999, v. 19, 424-25

Ulrich Bonnell Phillips," Encyclopedia of Southern Culture, Charles Wilson and William Ferris (eds.), Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1989, 297

"Southern History and Myth: Ulrich Bonnell Phillips Reconsidered," Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, XV 1985, 9-13

"Rejoinder to Theodore Caplow 'Social Criticism in Middletown: Taking Aim at a Moving Target, '"Qualitative Sociology, VIII (no. 1), February, 1985, 47-48

"Has America Really Changed?: The Case of Middletown, 1925-1983, Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas, XIV, 1984, 22-28

"From Middletown to Middletown III: A Critical Review Essay," Qualitative Sociology, VII (no. 4),  Winter, 1984, 72-81

"Fifty Years of an American City: Stability and Change in Middletown," Indian Journal of American Studies, XIV (no.1), January, 1984, 57-66 

"Robert Lynd and Consumerism in the 1930s," Journal of the History of Sociology, II (no.1), 1980, 99-119


Social Science in the Crucible: The American Debate over Objectivity and Purpose, 1918-1941 Duke University Press 1994

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