HIST 3109 outline Fall 2010

HIST 3109 outline Fall 2010 - The Social History of Alcohol...

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The Social History of Alcohol HIST 3109A , 3109T Fall Term, 2010 Course Outline Lectures Tuesdays, 6:05-8:55 PM Instructor Professor Rod Phillips Office Paterson Hall, Room 409 E-mail roderick_phillips@carleton.ca Office hours Mondays 10:00-11:30 AM, or by appointment Scope of the course This course examines the relationships between alcohol and society in Europe and North America, with an emphasis on the period 1500 to 2000. This long period saw the transformation of alcoholic beverages (especially beer and wine) from necessary and intrinsic elements in the daily diet of most adults to commodities of discretionary consumption. This radical shift fundamentally altered the social and cultural meanings of alcohol, and had important consequences for regulation and consumption. It forms a hinge in the long-term themes that the course focuses on. The key questions we discuss in relation to alcohol are: Who drank what? Why did they drink it? Where and when did they drink it? Whom did they drink it with? How did they, and how do we, interpret their patterns of alcohol consumption? These questions direct us to look at the kinds of alcohol that were available (and thus questions of production, distribution, marketing and exchange) and the differences among them. We ask why there was a cultural hierarchy of alcoholic beverages, with wine ranked most highly almost everywhere, and why some alcohols were more widely consumed in some places and at some times than others. We also examine issues of gender, class and race. Why were prevailing (male) attitudes to women’s drinking so often negative? Why did the middle and upper classes find working- class drinking so threatening? How and why was the North American image of the “drunk Indian” constructed? Questions like these force us to examine the ways alcohol was integrated into broader social and cultural processes and the relationships of alcohol to power. Here we encounter the overarching dichotomous attitudes toward alcohol.
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HIST 3109 outline Fall 2010 - The Social History of Alcohol...

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