HIST 3109 V - Social History of Alcohol

Alcohol in Western society from Ancient times to the present. Production, trade, and consumption of alcohol; religious and social significance; class, gender, and health; drinking cultures; policies toward drunkenness, and alcoholism. Specific topics include comparative trends, temperance movements, and prohibition. (Field e) Prerequisite(s): a 2000-level history course or third-year standing and 1.0 credit in history.

Social History of Alcohol shows how we can investigate societies and cultures through their approaches to a particular commodity. What did people - whether they were in medieval England, Revolutionary France, or interwar Germany - drink? How much did they drink, why did they drink it, where, and with whom? And what were the regulations governing the production, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages? Over time, alcohol has been freely available, highly regulated, and even banned outright. It has been seen as a good thing for society and for individuals, and as a danger to both.

Alcohol is still very much in play in conversations about social order. Drinking and driving is a perennial concern, universities and colleges adopt increasingly restrictive policies regarding alcohol on campus, and 'binge-drinking' by young people is often portrayed as an epidemic. Studying the history of alcohol gives context and perspective to issues such as these.

CRN for section V: 12796

CRN for section VOD (optional Video On Demand service): 12797

In-class lecture time & location:
Time & location TBA

Instructor: Roderick Phillips

Roderick Phillips

About the instructor: My course on the social history of alcohol reflects the way my career has developed and my personal interest in wine. I became interested in wine when I was growing up in New Zealand, and I've read about wine, tasted wine, and enjoyed wine ever since. In 2000, I published a history of wine (which came out in several foreign languages) and I began to write for wine magazines and judge in wine competitions around the world. Then I broadened my scope to study beer, spirits, and other alcoholic beverages, and in 2014, I published a history of alcohol (with half a dozen foreign translations to come).

My course on the history of alcohol shows how we can investigate societies and cultures through their approaches to a particular commodity. I really enjoy teaching this course because alcohol is such a rich subject. There is no end to the ways we can approach alcohol and it makes for a course that has something for everyone.

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