Dr. Isaac Campos

This course examines the business, culture, policy, legal, and public health implications of drugs and the broader category of addiction since 1980. Over the course of the semester, we will delve deeply into the high point of the “War on Drugs” beginning in the 1980s.

Topics here will include the emergence of “crack” in the United States and “cartels” in Mexico and Colombia, the ties between the War on Drugs and the Cold War,  the War on Drugs and the “prison industrial complex”, the militarization of police in the name of fighting drugs,  and how all of this eventually led to calls for reform that resulted in part in the legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana,  and a more public-health oriented approach to the more recent opioid epidemic. At the same time, the course will explore other forms of addiction that have exploded since the 1980s  principally the various “digital addictions ” from online gaming  to smart phones and social media.  

This course will be designed to fulfill the 4000-level requirements of the History Department  meaning that it will guide students through an original research project that will utilize both primary and secondary sources and entail significant writing. However,  in most semesters the class will aim to produce a collaborative research project  perhaps a documentary film or a podcast  that will bring together our collective research into an accessible and engaging final product that students can add to their portfolios as proof that they have received good training in both research and collaboration.