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CFP: British Academy/University of Warwick Workshop, ‘Prohibition: Responses from the Humanities and Social Sciences’ (University of Warwick)

January 15, 2016



Responses from the Humanities and Social Sciences

Wednesday 23 March, 2016


Keynote lecture:

Dr Benjamin Smith, Department of History, University Of Warwick, ‘The Year Mexico Legalised Drugs’

This workshop is a cross-disciplinary forum for humanities and social science scholars to discuss issues raised by the passing of the UK Psychoactive Substances Bill in the broader context of historical, literary, sociological, anthropological, art historical, film and philosophical research, as well as critical theory.

Proposals are invited from early-career and established scholars for 20-minute papers that address this theme. Papers may focus on any geographical region, from c. 1800 to the present (earlier material will also be considered).

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Historical, sociological, legal, political, anthropological, theological and literary perspectives on the prohibition, decriminalization and legalization of psychoactive substances
  • Moral prohibitions
  • Temperance movements and taboo substances
  • Narratives of criminal substance use in film, art and literature
  • Autobiographical/biographical narratives of prohibited substance use
  • The medicalization of illegal substance use
  • Medico-legal frameworks from historical, linguistic and sociological perspectives
  • Prohibition in the USA in the twentieth century
  • Opium, morphine and heroin from the Opium Wars to twenty-first century Portugal
  • Nineteenth- and early twentieth-century drug control policies and their ramifications today
  • The ‘War on Drugs’ from heroin and cocaine to new psychoactive substances (NPs, or ‘legal highs’)
  • The politics of prohibition and the classification of ‘hard’ vs. ‘soft’ substances
  • The anthropology/philosophy of intoxication and prohibition
  • Perspectives from theology and comparative religion
  • Challenges to the concepts/practices of addiction and prohibition from writers, philosophers, artists and film-makers
  • Addiction and recovery narratives: perspectives on prohibition
  • The historical, psychological and philosophical case for prohibition
  • Cross-disciplinary perspectives on the social/cultural/psychological function of prohibitions

Please send a 200-word outline of your proposed 20-minute paper, together with a title and short author biography to:


Deadline for proposals: 15 January 2016



Alongside this workshop a proposal for an edited volume of essays on Prohibition is being put together for submission to the Proceedings of the British Academy (Oxford University Press). This volume will combine contributions from UK and International scholars. Proposals from early-career scholars as well as established academics are most welcome. Please note that due to constraints on length and coverage not all papers will be suitable for inclusion in the volume. Please indicate if you would like to propose an essay for inclusion in the edited book so we can send further details.

The event will be held in the Graduate Space, Humanities Building (4th floor), University Of Warwick. It is free with lunch and refreshments provided but booking is essential. Travel bursaries are available for early-career researchers.

Event organised by Dr Susannah Wilson, School of Modern Languages and Cultures, University Of Warwick, as part of the British Academy Early-Career Network, ‘Addiction and Culture since 1800’.


British Academy/University of Warwick


University of Warwick
Coventry, CV4 7AL United Kingdom + Google Map
+44 (0)24 7652 3523
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