‘Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century’

13th Sep 2018, 10:00am - 14th Sep 2018, 5:00pm

Edge Hill University


This two-day interdisciplinary conference examines the changing roles of drugs in the history, literature, and medical discourses of the long nineteenth century. Focusing on the century prior to the Defence of the Realm Act (1916), which criminalized the use of opium, cocaine and other substances in Britain, this conference brings medical humanities approaches to bear on nineteenth-century studies to produce more complex and nuanced understandings of substances which have, since DORA, been framed largely through discourses of addiction or illegality.

Our Call for Papers is now OPEN! Submit your abstracts to: substance18@edgehill.ac.uk


Professor Susan Zieger (University of California Riverside), author of the seminal work on nineteenth-century addiction narratives, Inventing the Addict. She will discuss the crystallization of identities, personal and collective, based on the use and abuse of substances in the period.

Dr Noelle Plack, Reader in History at Newman University. Her current research considers the politics of alcohol consumption during the French Revolution, focusing on how alcohol is bound up with protest, liberation, and national identity.

Dr Douglas Small, Glasgow University. In 2016 Dr Small was awarded a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship for his project ‘Cocaine and Cultural Mythology, c. 1860-1919,’ which examines drug narratives in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries.

Further information is available here

‘Substance Use and Abuse in the Long Nineteenth Century is kindly supported by: BAVS, BARS, Past and Present Society, Alcohol Research UK.



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