Drugs, Chemicals, and Health: Histories of Substances in Economies, Environments, and Bodies


This course asks how we might think historically about synthetic chemicals, natural alternatives, and the benefits and hazards they pose to human health, society, and environments. Combining cultural, political, and economic history with interdisciplinary environmental history and science & technology studies, we will follow historical “biographies” and “genealogies” of drugs and chemicals through economies, environments, and bodies, from cellular to planetary scales, comparing and connecting different global settings (including North Carolina). Focal substances may include aluminum, antiretrovirals, DDT, gold, indigo, mercury, nicotine, quinine, and opioids. Instructor: Hepler-Smith
Curriculum Codes
  • CCI
  • R
  • STS
  • CZ
  • SS
Cross-Listed As
  • GLHLTH 235
  • ICS 237
Typically Offered
Fall and/or Spring