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Last updated:

December 13, 2022

Duration:

Unlimited Duration

FREE

This course includes:

Unlimited Duration

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

Unlimited Duration

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.

Course Curriculum

  • Alcohol in the U.S. Unlimited
  • Alcohol Across Cultures Unlimited
  • “Primitive” Drugs Unlimited
  • Drugs and American Counterculture Unlimited
  • Cocaine, Latin America and Globalization Unlimited
  • The War on Drugs Unlimited
  • Modern Pharmaceuticals: Sex Unlimited
  • Modern Pharmaceuticals: Prozac® Unlimited
  • Big Pharma Unlimited

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology
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