Drugs and the Industrial Situation, 1800-1960s

Drugs and the Industrial Situation, 1800-1960s

Elife Biçer-Deveci; Judith Vitale
ETH Zurich
Takes place
In Attendance
From - Until
22.08.2022 - 23.08.2022
Connections Redaktion, Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics, Universität Leipzig

This workshop understands drugs as a vehicle by which to shed light on the global economic and social changes brought about by the industrial situation.

Drugs and the Industrial Situation, 1800-1960s

Scientific and technological revolutions, including the isolation of alkaloids and the invention of machines, allowed the mass production and long-distance distribution of drugs from the early nineteenth century onwards. The rise of the pharmaceutical industry affected societies in Europe and North America in terms of economic structures, styles of life and conceptualizations of public health. Yet, there has been a neglect of the ‘industrial situation’ – a term echoing Georges Balandier’s ‘colonial situation’ which he believed to be total – in other world regions. Drug factories and laboratories in Latin America, or Korea and Taiwan competed with German, Swiss, and British pharmaceutical centers, and turned into early platforms of multinational entrepreneurship with the support of states in the early twentieth century. Also, shifting consumption patterns and views on drugs that resulted from the rise of globally active pharmaceutical companies occurred not only in European and North American consumer societies, but also in the Near East, or East Asia. In sum, this workshop understands drugs as a vehicle by which to shed light on the global economic and social changes brought about by the industrial situation.


Monday, August 22

09:30–09:40h Opening
Elife Biçer-Deveci, ETH Zurich, Judith Vitale, UZH: Welcome remarks

09:40–12:20h Manufacturing Processes

Tomás Bartoletti, ETH Zurich: Parallel Histories? Cocaïna and the Bolivian-Italian Missing Link

Benjamin Breen, UC Santa Cruz: The Industrialization of Ethnobotany: Anthropologists, Chemists, and the Early Histories of Amphetamine and Mescaline, 1860–1940

Discussant: Harald Fischer-Tiné, ETH Zurich

14:10–15:40h Keynote
Jim Mills, University of Strathclyde: The Asian Cocaine Crisis: Colonialism, Capitalism, and Consumption in South and East Asia, c. 1890–1945

16:10–18:50h Invisible and Licit Commodity Chains

Diana Kim, Georgetown University: The “Evil Spectators”: Opium and its Colonial Stakeholders across Twentieth-Century Asia

Chris Duvall: The University of New Mexico: The Mostly Invisible Transport of Psychoactive Cannabis across the Atlantic before 1925

Discussant: Miriam Kingsberg, University of Colorado Boulder

Tuesday, August 23

09:30–12:10h Export Countries and their Domestic Markets

Peter-Paul Bänziger, University of Basel: A History of Opiate Retailing in Industrialization Era Switzerland, c. 1780–1930

Judith Vitale, University of Zurich: Morphine Geishas: The Japanese Drug Industry in the 1920s

Discussant: Oleg Benesch, University of York

13:30–16:10h Drugs in the Middle East

Elife Biçer-Deveci, ETH Zurich: The Issue of Drugs in Turkey: A Nexus between Pharmaceutical Industry, the League of Nations and Nationalist Policies

Haggai Ram, Ben Gurion University of the Negev: Israel and the Dialectics of the War on Drugs: Detoxicating “Outsiders Within”, Intoxicating Foreign Enemies

Discussant: Liat Kozma, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

16:10–16:50h Concluding Remarks

Contact (announcement)

Elife Biçer-Deveci

Judith Vitale

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