A New Social History of Pharmacy & Pharmaceuticals Festival

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The American Institute of the History of Pharmacy and the University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Pharmacy are pleased to host the virtual festival, A New Social History of Pharmacy & Pharmaceuticals. The Festival will be a free online streaming event running from Thursday, September 24 through Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

Registration for the Festival is now open! Please click the button below to submit your free registration and to reserve your spot at Festival events.

For questions or more information, please contact: aihp@aihp.org.

This five-day interdisciplinary Festival aims to generate a discussion related to the under-explored social history of pharmacy and pharmaceuticals. We hope the contributed paper panels, books talks, and invited Festival talks will stimulate/connect new scholarship as well as place a spotlight on emerging trends in the studies of pharmaceuticals, drugs, and alcohol more broadly. At the conclusion of the Festival, links to video recordings of the panels and presentations will be available below.

Festival Hashtag: To create a conversation surrounding Festival events and presentations, please use the hashtag #PharmFest when posting about the Festival on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms.

Instructions for contributed paper presentations: Presentations during the virtual conference should be “to the point” and as succinct as possible. Presenters should aim to give about a 15-minute oral presentation. There will be approximately 10 minutes at the end of each contributed paper panel for a question-and-answer period.

Please consider a donation to AIHP to help support future programming like the New Social History of Pharmacy & Pharmaceuticals Festival.

Festival Program: Please click the button below to access the online Festival program that contains links to all Festival events. (Online rooms will open 15 minutes before each event’s scheduled start time).


The papers presented at A New Social History of Pharmacy & Pharmaceuticals Festival will be considered for publication in joint special issues of Pharmacy in History, The Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, and the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History.

Instructions for manuscript submissions: Festival authors should submit manuscripts for publication consideration in Pharmacy in History, Social History of Alcohol and Drugs, and the Canadian Bulletin of Medical History by August 21, 2020. Papers should be between 8,000–10,000 words; use footnotes; follow Chicago citation style; and use the conventions of historical writing (ie., no ‘methods’ or ‘results’ sections). After papers are received, the editors of the journals will decide on the placements of each manuscript.

For those participants not yet ready to publish to a full manuscript, please consider sending your work to Points, the blog of the Alcohol and Drug History Society. For further information and guidance, please contact Emily Dufton, the managing editor, or reach out to any of us at AIHP.

Mastheads for 2019 Special Issue Call For Papers

A New Social History of Pharmacy & Pharmaceuticals Festival Preliminary Schedule

All times are Central Time (-2 Pacific, +1 Eastern, +6 HRS GMT).

All participants will need to register for the online events. Registration information forthcoming. Registration is free.

Program subject to change. Download a .pdf version of the Festival program. Last Updated 9/24/2020.

Day 2—Friday, September 25, 2020

8:30–9:00 AM: Invited Festival Talk—”Formula Magistralis and the Battle between David and Goliath: The Dutch Pharmacist Versus the International Pharmaceutical Industry, 1865-2020″

Host: Jeremy Greene, Institute of the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University
Presenter: Toine Pieters, Utrecht University

9:30–10:30 AM: Panel 3—Decolonizing Drugs from the South

Panel Chair: Maziyar Ghiabi, University of Exeter and SOAS, University of London

  • Thembisa Waetjen, University of Johannesburg: “Apartheid’s War on Cannabis”
  • Athos Vieira, IESP/UERJ, “Cocaine and the Night: The Social Life of a Drug in Rio de Janeiro during Brazil’s First Republic, 1885–1920”
  • María-Clara Torres, Stony Brook University: “The Twilight and Revival of Coca: Northern Cauca, Colombia, 1950s–1980s”

11:00 AM–12:00 Noon: Panel 4—The Asian Cocaine Crisis: Pharmaceuticals, Consumers & Control in South and East Asia, c. 1900–1945

Panel Chair: Jim Mills, University of Strathclyde

  • Eva Ward, University of Strathclyde: “Philippines Case Study”
  • Ian Baker, University of Strathclyde: “Myanmar Case Study”
  • Yun Huang, University of Strathclyde: “China Case Study”

1:00–2:00 PM: Panel 5—Trends in Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice

Panel Chair: Gregory J. Higby, University of Wisconsin–Madison and American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

  • Christian Brown & Ben Urick, University of North Carolina: “Capitation for Pharmacy Services:  A Bold New Idea with a 40-Year History”
  • Michael Oldani, Concordia University Wisconsin: “The Im/Possibleness of Radical Deprescribing: Can Pharmacy Take Back the Script?”

Unfortunately, Johanne Collin, University of Montreal, who was going to give the presentation, “Gender and Pharmacy: Feminization and Transformation of the Canadian Pharmaceutical Profession since the 1950s” had to withdraw from this panel.

2:30–3:30 PM: AIHP Early Career Roundtable Conversation

Panel Chair: Paula De Vos, San Diego State University

3:45–4:15 PM: Invited Festival Talk—”Doing Drugs in Socialist East Germany”

Host: Emily Dufton, George Washington University
Presenter: Markus Wahl, Institute for the History of Medicine, Stuttgart

"False Friends with Fair Faces" cartoon from 1916 NARD People's Almanac.
“False Friends with Fair Faces” cartoon from 1916 NARD People’s Almanac.

Day 3—Saturday, September 26, 2020

8:00–9:00 AM: Panel 6—Shortages and Knowledge: Southeast Asian Perspectives

Panel Chair: Laurence Monnais, Université de Montréal

  • Gani Jaelani, Universitas Padjadjaran, Bandung: “Testing the Chanted Water: Medical-Based Experiment on Traditional Pharmaceutical Knowledge”
  • Malika Basu, Kalna College, University of Burdwan (West Bengal): “Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Education in Colonial India: Understanding the History of a Historical Science”
  • Nishanth Kunnukattil Shaji, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: “Grappling with Morphine: A Local History of Painkiller Use in Kerala, India”

9:30–10:30 AM: Panel 7—Traditional and Early Modern Drug Knowledge

Panel Chair: Matthew Crawford, Kent State University

  • Edoardo Pierini, University of Geneva: “Different People, Different Addictions: The Recognition of Different Cultures of Intoxication in Early Modern Medicine”
  • Pedro Carlessi, University of São Paulo: “Neotraditional Medications: Ethnographic Contributions to the Conceptual Definition”
  • Julia Nurse, Wellcome Collection: “The Healing Power of Colour: Pigments as Potions in the Early Modern Period”

11:00 AM–12:00 Noon: Panel 8—Objects, Museums, and Names

Panel Chair: Briony Hudson, Independent Historian and Museum Curator

  • Laura Robson-Mainwaring, The National Archives (UK): “‘Own Name,’ ‘No Name,’ and ‘the Plague of Fancy Names’ in the Pharmaceutical Market c. 1870–1920”
  • Violetta Barbashina, Independent Researcher: “‘…In Charity, for the Sake of Charity, and with Charity’: The Ointment Jar and the Virtue of Caritas in the Apothecary’s Practice”
  • Katarzyna Jarosz, University of Logistics and Transport in Wrocław: “The Development of Museums of Pharmacy in Post-Soviet Countries”
Compound Remedies cover

1:00–1:30 PM: Invited Book Talk—Compound Remedies: Galenic Pharmacy from the Ancient Mediterranean to New Spain (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020)

Host: Petros Bouras-Vallianatos, University of Edinburgh

Author and Presenter: Paula De Vos, San Diego State University
Abstract: In Compound Remedies, Paula De Vos examines the equipment, books, and remedies of colonial Mexico City’s Herrera pharmacy—natural substances with known healing powers that formed the basis for modern-day healing traditions and home remedies in Mexico. The book traces the evolution of the Galenic pharmaceutical tradition from its foundations in Ancient Greece to the physician-philosophers of the Islamic empires in the medieval Latin West and eventually through the Spanish Empire to Mexico, offering a global history of the transmission of these materials, knowledges, and techniques.

1:45–2:45 PM: Panel 9—Breakthroughs and Ethics

Panel Chair: Jacalyn Duffin, Queen’s University

  • Jordan Liz, San Jose State University: “Pharmacogenetics and the Politics of Race: Conceptualizing Health, Purity, and Miscegenation in the US and Brazil”
  • Cheryl Krasnick Warsh, Vancouver Island University: “Dr. Frances Kelsey and the Animals: A Case Study of the Evolution of Pharmacology in the 20th Century”

Unfortunately, Pierre-Marie David, Université de Montréal, who was going to give the presentation, “Une décennie de ruptures de stock en médicaments au Canada 2010–2020: causes et effets d’une situation de moins en moins exceptionnelle Le cas des anti—cancéreux” had to withdraw from this panel.

OD Cover

3:30–4:00 PM: Invited Book Talk—OD: Naloxone and the Politics of Overdose (The MIT Press: 2020)

Host: Joseph Gabriel, Florida State University

Author and Presenter: Nancy Campbell, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Abstract: In OD, Nancy Campbell charts the emergence of naloxone as a technological fix for overdose and describes the remaking of overdose into an experience recognized as common, predictable, patterned—and, above all, preventable. Naloxone, which made resuscitation, rescue, and “reversal” after an overdose possible, became a tool for shifting law, policy, clinical medicine, and science toward harm reduction

Drugs Rx Clip Art

Day 4—Monday, September 28, 2020

9:00–10:00 AM: Panel 10—Medicine vs. Drugs: African Perspectives

Panel Chair: TBD

  • Jo-Ansie Van Wyk, University of South Africa: “Radiopharmaceuticals in South Africa: From Apartheid’s Atoms to Ubuntu’s Isotopes?”
  • Phumla Innocent Nkosi, University of Johannesburg: “A Picture of Dagga Policing in Mid-Century South Africa (1932–1960)”
  • Muhammad Wada, Bayero University (Kano, Nigeria): “Internal Outsiders, Domestic Politics and the Campaign against Drug Abuse in Kano State, Northern Nigeria, 1999–2015”

10:45–11:15 AM: Invited Festival Talk—”Vaccines & Epidemics: Successes & Crises from Smallpox to COVID-19″

Host: Arthur Daemmrich, Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation, Smithsonian Institution
Presenter: John Grabenstein, Merck Vaccines (retired) and American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

1840s French cartoon by Cham lampoons profiteering pharmacists and doctors struggling to keep “la Grippe” (influenza) in Paris.

Day 5—Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Taming Cannabis

9:00–9:30 AM: Invited Book Talk—Taming Cannabis: French Pharmacy, Cannabis, and Exotic Drugs (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2020)

Host: Erika Dyck, University of Saskatchewan

Author and Presenter: David Guba, Bard High School Early College
Abstract: In Taming Cannabis, David Guba examines how nineteenth-century French authorities routinely blamed hashish consumption, especially among Muslim North Africans, for behavior deemed violent and threatening to the social order. This association of hashish with violence became the primary impetus for French pharmacists and physicians to tame the drug and deploy it in the homeopathic treatment of mental illness and epidemic disease during the 1830s and 1840s.

10:00–11:00 AM: Panel 11—Advertising Drugs and Pharmacy

Panel Chair: David Herzberg, University at Buffalo

  • Erika Dyck, University of Saskatchewan, and Mat Savelli, McMaster University: “Methodological Challenges in the History of Drug Advertising”
  • Jacques Guyot, Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai (NY): “‘This Formidable Foe Now Has a Conqueror’: Patent Medicine Advertising in British Guiana, 1880-1920”
  • Wouter Klein, Freudenthal Institute, Utrecht University: “Newspaper Advertising and the Start of A Global Market for Drugs in the 18th Century”
"Age of Drugs" cartoon from Puck in 1900. The Saloon Keeper says, "The kind of drunkard I make is going out of style. I can't begin to compete with this fellow."
“Age of Drugs” cartoon from Puck in 1900. The Saloon Keeper says, “The kind of drunkard I make is going out of style. I can’t begin to compete with this fellow.”

Day 1—Thursday, September 24, 2020

9:00–10:00 AM: Festival Opening—New Directions

Host: Lucas Richert, University of Wisconsin–Madison and editor Pharmacy in History

  • Axel Helmstädter, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main & President of International Society for the History of Pharmacy
  • Erika Dyck, University of Saskatchewan and editor Canadian Bulletin of Medical History
  • Nancy Campbell, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and editor Social History of Alcohol and Drugs
Know Your Remedies cover

10:30–11:00 AM: Invited Book Talk—Know Your Remedies: Pharmacy and Culture in Early Modern China (Princeton University Press, 2020)

Host: Rima Apple, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Author and Presenter: He Bian, Princeton University
Abstract: In Know Your Remedies, He Bian presents a panoramic inquiry into China’s early modern cultural transformation through the lens of pharmacy. In the history of science and civilization in China, pharmacy—as a commercial enterprise and as a branch of classical medicine—resists easy characterization. While China’s long tradition of documenting the natural world through state-commissioned pharmacopeias, known as bencao, dwindled after the sixteenth century, the ubiquitous presence of Chinese pharmacy shops around the world today testifies to the vitality of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 

12:00 noon–1:00 PM: Panel 1—Contested Drug Markets

Panel Chair: Axel Helmstädter, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

  • Richard Del Rio, Florida State University: “Since When is Being a Drug Dealer a Bad Thing?: Race and the Criminalization of a Title in Early Twentieth Century America”
  • Joseph Gabriel, Florida State University: “Dangerous Markets: Risk and the Origins of ‘Ethical’ Pharmacy”
  • Mariana Broglia de Moura, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales: “Pharmacy’s Controls and Resistances During Brazilian Dictatorship”

1:30–2:30 PM: Publishing Landscapes Roundtable Discussion

Host: Lucas Richert, University of Wisconsin–Madison and American Institute of the History of Pharmacy

  • Toni Gunnison, University of Wisconsin Press
  • Kyla Madden, McGill-Queen’s University Press
  • Arnab Chakraborty, Medical History and Social History of Alcohol and Drugs

3:00–4:00 PM: Panel 2—Drug Regulation, Knowledge, and Use

Panel Chair: John Parascandola, University of Maryland, College Park

  • Nidia A. Olvera Hernández, Mora Institute (Mexico City): “The Mexican Pharmacopeia: The Inclusion of Psychoactive Natural Drugs in the Official Medicine (1846–1930)”
  • Christopher Blakely, University of California, Los Angeles: “Mkaumwa, Calumba and Miami Columbo: Slavery and Expropriated Pharmacology from the Swahili Coast to the Ohio Valley”
  • Michael Lewis, Christopher Newport University: “From Bar Rooms to Drug Stores to Dispensaries: The Evolutionary Response to the Liquor Problem in Athens Georgia, 1891”
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