2021: What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been

Smoke-em-if-you-got-em
January 6, 2021: Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em.
Image Source: Ayamann Ismail, “What I Saw Inside the Capitol Riot,” Slate, Jan. 7, 2021.

Editor’s Note: Founding Points Co-Editor Trysh Travis wraps up 2021 for us and gives a preview of what’s to come on Points in 2022. See you in the new year!

As another Covid year closes out, Points readers may find themselves wondering whether a historical perspective on alcohol and drugs is really useful—or even possible, given the unprecedented nature of our lives right now. Maybe critique is overrated and use and abuse is where it’s at?

While the editorial team shares this existential quandary, we continue to live by those immortal words of Frederic Jameson: “always historicize!” Understanding The-Endemic-We- Are-Now-Living as a historical formation, rather than simply a swirling shit show with no end in sight, is of course challenging. I guess that’s why Jameson also reminds us that “history is what hurts.”

Read more

80 Years of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

Editor’s note: On January 1, 2021, the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy (AIHP) joined the Alcohol and Drugs History Society as a co-sponsor of Points. On the occasion of AIHP’s 80th birthday on Friday, January 22, 2021, we would like to take the opportunity to introduce the past and the present of AIHP to the readers of Points. Today’s post is by Dr. Greg Higby, the former longtime AIHP Executive Director. In his current roles as the AIHP Fischelis Scholar and as a Senior Curator at the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy, Dr. Higby continues to manage and maintain the historical collections at AIHP and the UW School of Pharmacy in his semi-retirement. Happy Birthday, AIHP!

AIHP Logo

On January 22, 1941, six men gathered in a pharmacognosy laboratory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and founded the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy. Its explicit purpose was to serve as a center for pharmaco-historical research and information. Its implicit purpose was to provide an academic home for scholar-pharmacist Dr. George Urdang, a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany. Urdang had fled Berlin in 1938, making his way to New York, where he obtained an American pharmacy degree from the Brooklyn College of Pharmacy at age 57.

Soon afterward, in the summer of 1939, Wisconsin pharmacy professor Edward Kremers recruited Urdang to Madison to help complete a comprehensive history of pharmacy textbook based on materials Kremers had been collecting for decades. After the publication of Kremers and Urdang’s History of Pharmacy by Lippincott in 1940, the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy was established with Urdang as its first Director.

Later in 1941, an anonymous dispatch—no doubt written by Urdang—announced the establishment of the new historical society in Madison, Wisconsin, and outlined the purposes of this “center for all pharmaco-historical work”:

  1. To aid in the collection, selection, arrangement, and exhibition of pharmaceutico-historical material and—as far as possible—to catalogue and to inventory this material;
  2. To give the research worker in the field of historical pharmacy the possibility to discuss his projects, to get advice on literature, and to publish the manuscripts concerned;
  3. To furnish information and means for historical instruction at the Colleges of Pharmacy;
  4. To furnish material for popular pharmaceutico-historical information directly to the general public (journals, newspapers, etc.), or to individual pharmacists for use in their social or professional relations;
  5. To cooperate with the historians of the related sciences and professions, especially of medicine, in order to promote the mutual scientific, professional, and social understanding and progress derived from such a cooperation.
George Urdang and students in 1950
In addition to serving as AIHP’s Director, George Urdang (second from right) was hired as a Professor by the University of Wisconsin School of Pharmacy in 1947. He soon established the first History of Pharmacy graduate program in the United States, and he is seen here with his first cohort of graduate students, including future AIHP Executive Director Glenn Sonnedecker (left). Image courtesy of AIHP Kremers Reference Files.

Read more

Help Manage Points! SHAD is Hiring a Digital Editor

Call for Applications: Digital Editor Position The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs: An Interdisciplinary Journal (SHAD), published by the University of Chicago Press, is seeking a Digital Editor with a primary responsibility of co-managing its associated scholarly blog, Points. The Digital Editor has an opportunity to shape our field by curating the content of a widely …

Read more

Introducing our new managing editor, Kyle Bridge

Since Claire Clark and I took over Points in April 2014, we’ve been committed to bringing you the most unique, thoughtful, and hopefully entertaining posts on alcohol and drug history available on the web. And, through the consistent quality of our writing, we’ve achieved some significant success: we now reach nearly 9,000 unique visitors each …

Read more

Points is back!

After a brief hiatus, Points is rolling out a new look. We have new managing editors and have added fresh voices to our roster of contributing editors (for more on that, check out our bios below). But our mission remains the same:  Points is an academic group blog that brings together scholars with wide-ranging expertise …

Read more

ADHS Daily Register: Call for Editors

The Alcohol and Drugs History Society is looking for one or more new Managing Editors of the ADHS Daily Register.  The Daily Register is a long-time online publication of the ADHS, dedicated to providing regular news, publication updates, and announcements of interest to both the members of the organization and the wider, global audience interested …

Read more

Points of Continuity

As the new managing editor of Points, it’s high time I introduced myself. For my lateness, I could offer some familiar academic excuses, but I have one that’s better: thanks mainly to work done by Trysh Travis and others, the blog has been filled with excellent essays in the new year, led by the wonderful symposium on the fortieth anniversary of David Musto’s The American Disease that was organized by Nancy Campbell. Reading those posts as they arrived was an especially useful way for me to start my tenure. They illustrated the development of drug history in the lived, personal pathways that are usually invisible to late-comers and onlookers. In doing so they put on display one of the best and most necessary things about Points: its role as a window into – and often, as a medium fefc Hvd ID picor – the multi-layered nature of knowledge production. Ideas in development, reflections on method, forays across disciplinary borders and, as in the symposium, retrospection – together these various kinds of posts constitute a fuller and more open account of how academic thought takes shape. But this is just one way of thinking about Points. One of my goals is to facilitate an open conversation about what the blog can and should do.

Read more

Announcements: New Managing Editor, Points Blog, Seeks Same

Points: The Blog of the Alcohol and Drugs History Society, seeks a new managing editor for a two-year term beginning January 2013.  This person will join Eoin Cannon of the Committee on Degrees in History and Literature at Harvard University at the blog’s helm; the co-managing editors, in collaboration with the glowing roster of Contributing …

Read more

%d bloggers like this: