What Historians Wish People Knew about the History of Licit and Illicit Drugs

AHA Session 334
Sunday, January 8, 2017: 11:00 AM-12:30 PM
Room 605 (Colorado Convention Center, Meeting Room Level)
David T. Courtwright, University of North Florida
Isaac Campos, University of Cincinnati
Anne L. Foster, Indiana State University
Eugene Hillsman, Princeton University
Miriam Lynn Kingsberg, University of Colorado at Boulder
William J. Rorabaugh, University of Washington
Scott K. Taylor, University of Kentucky

Session Abstract

This panel seeks to provide a global historical framework for the recent legalization of marijuana in Colorado, the conference site, and other current debates over the (il)legalization of drugs in the United States. In this lightning-round panel, historians of the U.S., Latin American, East Asia, and early modern Europe will discuss the history of drugs, attitudes toward them, and efforts to control them in diverse historical contexts, as well as the challenges of researching pleasure and vice in the past. Moderated by senior scholar David T. Courtwright, panelists will speak for five to six minutes each, followed by dialogue with each other and the audience. The panel defines “drugs” broadly to include alcohol, tobacco, marijuana and opium, as well as “soft drugs,” such as coffee and chocolate.