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Course Info

  • Course Number / Code:
  • 21A.344J (Spring 2006) 
  • Course Title:
  • Drugs, Politics, and Culture 
  • Course Level:
  • Undergraduate 
  • Offered by :
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
    Massachusetts, United States  
  • Department:
  • Science, Technology, and Society 
  • Course Instructor(s):
  • Prof. Hugh Gusterson 
  • Course Introduction:
  •  


  • STS.062J / 21A.344J Drugs, Politics, and Culture



    Spring 2006




    Course Highlights


    This course features exemplary student papers and a detailed description of the assignments. A partial set of lecture notes is also available.


    Course Description


    This class examines the relationship between a number of mind-altering substances and cultural processes. We look at the relationship between drugs and such phenomena as poverty, religion, technology, inter-generational conflict, colonialism, and global capitalism. We read about the physiological and psychological effects of these substances -- ranging from alcohol to LSD, cocaine and ecstasy -- and ask why different societies prohibit and sanction different drugs. We examine the use of mind-altering substances in a number of "traditional" societies, and follow the development of a global trade in such substances as sugar, coffee, tea, nicotine, cocaine, and marijuana concurrent with the evolution of global capitalism. We look at the use of LSD as a mind-control substance by the CIA and as a mind-altering substance in the 1960's counter-culture, and we look at the rise of Prozac® and Viagra® as popular, if controversial, pharmaceutical products in recent years. Finally, we evaluate America's current drug laws.
     

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT:
This course content is a redistribution of MIT Open Courses. Access to the course materials is free to all users.






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