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Taming Cannabis: Drugs and Empire in Nineteenth-Century France - Intoxicating Histories (Paperback)
  • Taming Cannabis: Drugs and Empire in Nineteenth-Century France - Intoxicating Histories (Paperback)
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Taming Cannabis: Drugs and Empire in Nineteenth-Century France - Intoxicating Histories (Paperback)

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£27.50
Paperback 384 Pages
Published: 23/09/2020
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Despite having the highest rates of cannabis use in the continent, France enforces the most repressive laws against the drug in all of Europe. Perhaps surprisingly, France was once the epicentre of a global movement to medicalize cannabis, specifically hashish, in the treatment of disease. In Taming Cannabis David Guba examines how nineteenth-century French authorities routinely blamed hashish consumption, especially among Muslim North Africans, for behaviour 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. Initially heralded as a wonder drug capable of curing insanity, cholera, and the plague, hashish was deemed ineffective against these diseases and fell out of repute by the middle 1850s. The association between hashish and Muslim violence, however, remained and became codified in French colonial medicine and law by the 1860s: authorities framed hashish as a significant cause of mental illness, violence, and anti-state resistance among indigenous Algerians. As the French government looks to reform the nation's drug laws to address the rise in drug-related incarceration and the growing popular demand for cannabis legalization, Taming Cannabis provides a timely and fascinating exploration of the largely untold and living history of cannabis in colonial France.

Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
ISBN: 9780228001201
Number of pages: 384
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Taming Cannabis provides an interesting analysis of the national and transnational exchange of knowledge and the ways in which such knowledge, in the case of intoxicants, can be based on the endless repetition of false and irrational information. David Guba establishes the complicated relationship between the drug, the assimilative policies and politics of the French Empire, and the tensions that could result between the indigenous peoples and the French settler communities." Patricia Barton, University of Strathclyde


"Taming Cannabis compellingly tells the story of how French discussions of cannabis took shape through consistent references to the Arab and Muslim worlds. As David Guba maps out, this history has much to tell us about current French understandings of drugs, illegality, and danger, speaking to multiple and pressing historiographical discussions." Todd Shepard, Johns Hopkins University and author of Sex, France, and Arab Men, 1962-1979


"Guba's study is a landmark publication as it tackles for the first time the history of cannabis in France. It is all the more convincing for being thoroughly-researched, and is as readable as it is significant. He carefully demonstrates that the first French encounters with cannabis products during the period when the nation was seeking to build a North African empire ensured that ideas about those substances were little more than Orientalist myths created by colonial fantasists. His conclusion, that these myths still shape racist ideas about cannabis products and their consumers in policy and police circles to this day, is compelling and controversial." James H. Mills, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, and the author of Cannabis Nation: Control and Consumption in Britain, 1928-2008


"[Taming Cannabis] expands our knowledge of the history of cannabis in France, and the imperial legacy on policy around cannabis and drugs generally. The book is academically rigorous as well as an entertaining read. It would be of interest to historians of public health, drugs and policy, but also to policymakers or anyone interested in France, cannabis and colonial legacies." Addiction


"Given that we are now beginning to disentangle cannabis from other 'illiegal drugs' with decriminilization and legalization, understanding how cannabis' fits into the larger picture of drug history will become increasingly important. Based on his excellent work in Taming Cannabis, one hopes Guba is among the scholars who takes the lead in helping historians answer these questions in the future." Social History of Medicine

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