Criminal Justice-coas | Drugs in Society
P300 | 1478 | Brown
This course will focus upon one of the most highly debated and emotionally
charged issues of our time - drug use in the United States, a topic which
has its own extensive history and cultural mythology. In the American
context, the use and abuse of chemical substances have perpetually appeared
at the heart of cultural practice and social response. In short, Americans
have always used a lot of drugs and have created a lot of policies to either
prohibit, regulate, or encourage this use. This course is designed to
explore this relationship and challenge major preconceptions about drug use
and its representation.
Our goal is to develop the critical skills to recognize and analyze the
images and evidence that both social science and popular culture present.
Consequently, we will move weekly between the perspectives offered by drug
research and cultural images in film. Based upon our assessment of social,
political, legal, economic, and cultural factors affecting drug policy, we
will look for the ways in which these images intersect, diverge, and collide
with historical and social patterns of drug use in the U.S. Depending upon
political, historical and personal settings, the meanings and sentiments
surrounding particular types of drug use change. We will look at how social
contexts affect definitions of use and abuse and their representations. We
will consider which perspectives achieve the most widespread dissemination
and political leverage. As a class, we will seek to develop a
well-informed, critical foundation from which to think about drug use in
today's world, questioning where our ideas about drugs come from, asking
what expressions of drug use retain the most power and why. In the end,
there will be no right or wrong answers to the questions we ask about
American society's relationship to drugs, but there will be more informed
frames from which to consider these questions. Consequently, we must all
work together to provide an open forum from which we may begin to understand
drug use and its representation in the United States.
Readings: Course packet of selected readings.
Course Requirements: There will be three in-class exams and a series of
brief writing assignments as a measure of participation.
Exam 1 (20%)
Exam 2 (25%)
Exam 3 (35%)
Participation: Attendance and in class
Class Meeting: Two 75-minute lectures each week (TR, 9:30-10:45A, SB 150).
Film showings to be announced
Instructor: Michelle Brown, Criminal Justice Department