A Book Proposal in Drug History: Considering Audience

Editor’s Note: Today’s post comes from contributing editor Dr. Seth Blumenthal, contributing editor and lecturer at Boston University. Today, he explores what academics — especially those of us writing about timely topics like alcohol and drugs — should consider when thinking about their audience(s). Public or academic? How do we reach readers? How can we make our work matter? Read on and find out how Dr. Blumenthal considers these questions when analyzing his newest book project.

As I have written on this blog about my brush with marijuana politics, the suburban contest over legalization has exposed fascinating generational and cultural differences within these communities.  What accounts for this wide range of opinions about this issue? I propose to look at the role of public school education in shaping the many mythologies surrounding cannabis. Considering this project’s scope, three audiences—academic, policy and education experts or students, and the wider audience interested in marijuana history– emerge as the target readership for my proposed project,  Just Say No: A History of Drug Education in American Public Schools. Recently, historians have reconsidered the wider appeal of their scholarship and sparked a robust conversation about reaching a broader audience.[1] To be sure, the specific approaches each of these audiences require are not always compatible, but the topic of drug education provides a unique opportunity to reconcile the differences.

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Points in Public

Hello and happy new year to all our beloved readers! We want to welcome 2019 in a new and special way.

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As you probably know, the writers and contributing editors of Points are real live people, who can often be found doing exciting work in the world far beyond this website. We thought we’d start off the new year by letting you know all the places where you can catch Points writers speaking, lecturing and presenting their research over the next few months. Below is a list of where you can find us during the first half of 2019. Many of these things are based in the U.S., and most are on the east coast. But hopefully we’ll keep expanding our reach, and you can find us more nationally and internationally in the second half of the year!

If you have events you’d like us to feature related to drug and alcohol history, get in touch and we can add you to the calendar. You can reach me, managing editor Emily Dufton, directly at the email address located under the “Contact Us” tab.

Seth Blumenthal:

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 7.55.11 AMCome see contributing editor Dr. Blumenthal discuss his new book, Children of the Silent Majority: Young Voters and the Rise of the Republican Party, 1968-1980, on January 7 at 7pm in Washington, DC, at the new Politics and Prose storefront at the Wharf in Southwest. More info here.

Matt Pembleton: 

Come see Dr. Pembleton in Chicago at the American Historical Association’s meeting on January 4 at 10:30am. Pembleton will be chairing a panel titled “The New Drug History and US Foreign Policy: Perspectives and Methodologies.” More info here.

Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 8.00.19 AMLater this month, come see Pembleton present an encore performance of his extremely popular Profs and Pints talk, “A Nation of Drunkards,” on January 20 at 6pm at the Bier Baron in Washington, DC. Profs and Pints is a great lecture series in the DC area that brings professors into bars and local establishments to give fun lectures on cool topics. Pembleton’s talk includes a purchasable flight of some of the very historical beverages he’ll be telling you about, from cider to whiskey to beer.

Robert Beach:

Come see Mr. Beach present two conference papers over the winter. He’ll present the first, “Comics and Cannabis: The Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency and the Portrayal of Marijuana Use in American Comic Books, 1940-1950,” at the Michigan State University Comics Forum on February 23.

The second, “Intoxication and Resistance: Rethinking the American Marijuana Complex 1937-1960,” can be seen at the Eleventh Annual Graduate Conference of the Department of History, at Syracuse University on March 22.

Okay readers, we’re ready to roll into 2019 with you. Thank you, always, for your support and we look forward to bringing you lots of drug and alcohol history over the next twelve months. We wish you health, happiness, and good history in the new year!

Homecomings

Editor’s note: This post was written by Kate Silbert and Matthew Woodbury, Ph.D. candidates in the Department of History at the University of Michigan. They were part of a graduate student team who researched and wrote the nomination for Dr. Bob’s Home to become a National Historic Landmark, a process outlined in previous posts. Here, they describe the recent ceremony to celebrate the designation.–Michelle McClellan

Mother’s Day is an important day for Alcoholics Anonymous. It was on this day back in 1935 that Robert H. “Dr. Bob” Smith and Bill Wilson first met. On this most recent Mother’s Day, seventy-eight years after the encounter that sparked a worldwide movement for sobriety, AA supporters gathered at 855 Ardmore Avenue in Akron, Ohio, to celebrate another milestone: the designation of Dr. Bob’s Home as a National Historic Landmark (NHL). As the authors of the NHL nomination, we were also celebrating. The recognition of Dr. Bob’s Home as an NHL marked the successful conclusion of an eighteen-month collaboration between Professor Michelle McClellan’s graduate seminar in public history and the stewards of Dr. Bob’s home, now a museum. NPS plaques

Since our first trip to Akron in the fall of 2011, the project had come full circle. That initial whirlwind visit set the pace for an intense period of consultation, research, and writing back in Ann Arbor. Last May, our group journeyed to Washington, D.C. to present the completed nomination to the National Park Service’s (NPS) Landmarks Committee. Five months later, in October of 2012, the Secretary of the Interior formally designated both Dr. Bob’s Home and Stepping Stones, the long-time residence of Bill and Lois Wilson in Bedford, New York, as NHLs. Continue reading →