Subject: History
Credit units: 3
Offered: Either Term 1 or Term 2
Weekly hours: 3 Seminar/Discussion hours
College: Arts and Science
Department: History


People around the world and throughout history have consumed plants, brews, chemicals and alkaloids in an effort to change consciousness. Some of these efforts are recreational, some ceremonial, and others part of medicine and experimentation. In this class we explore different ways that alcohol and drugs have been used in the past, by examining themes from different areas of the world. We examine how historians have contributed to popular understandings of drugs, alcohol, and intoxication and we consider what role social sciences and humanities scholars play in shaping our popular understandings of what makes good drugs and bad drugs, or how scholars and policy makers have determined limits for acceptable intoxicating behaviours and who has the privilege to be intoxicated, or who is criminalized for seeking intoxication. Rather than follow a chronological structure, in this course we examine how different psychoactive substances have been viewed in different places, from the perspectives of colonizers and colonized at different time points in history.

Prerequisite(s): 6 cu of senior HIST courses of which 3 credit units must be 300-level; or permission of the instructor or the department.

Upcoming class offerings

For full details about upcoming courses, refer to the class search tool or, if you are a current student, the registration channel in PAWS.


The syllabus is a public document that provides detail about a class, such as the schedule of activities, learning outcomes, and weighting of assignments and examinations.

Once an instructor has made their syllabus publicly available on USask’s Learning Management System, it will appear below. Please note that the examples provided below do not represent a complete set of current or previous syllabus material. Rather, they are presented solely for the purpose of indicating what may be required for a given class. Unless otherwise specifically stated on the content, the copyright for all materials in each course belongs to the instructor whose name is associated with that course. The syllabus is the intellectual property of instructors or the university.

For more information, visit the Academic Courses Policy , the Syllabus page for instructors , or for students your Academic Advising office.