Drugs, Crime and Rock 'n Roll
Shewanee Howard-Baptiste, Assistant Professor
This course is an introductory interdisciplinary course exploring the relationship between drugs, crime, and popular music. Students will read the popular novel, Ten Thousand Saints by Eleanor Henderson, as well as additional readings to better understand the role drugs play in popular culture and how society views legal and illegal recreational drugs.
This course promotes critical thinking about many implications of the use of mind-altering drugs within our society. An interdisciplinary approach is used to study aspects of social, cultural, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health as it relates to drugs, crime, and music. The course will assess what role popular culture has in how drugs are regulated, used, abused, and criminalized.
Specifically, we will examine multiple generations and genres of music from the Grateful Dead and The Beatles to Snoop Dogg and Rick Ross.
Topics and objectives include:
- The history of drug laws in the United States
- Understand how drugs effect the body and brain
- Assess how different types of crime impact the drug culture
- Examine how media portrays drugs in popular culture
- Understand the relationship between music and drug use
- Understand the societal impact of psychoactive drugs including alcohol, tobacco and other psychoactive drugs
- Recognize differences in drugs of use and abuse based on sex, age, socioeconomic status and race
- Critically evaluate the cost and benefits of drug enforcement, treatment and incarceration
- Understand the biological, psychological and social impacts of psychoactive drugs
- Understand addiction as an illness that impacts the entire
- Recognize new drugs in American culture
Students will engage in a number of learning tools including lecture, small group discussion, media analysis, and ultimately listening to music while evaluating how drugs are characterized. Students will leave the course with a critical understanding of how to analyze visual, audio, and written texts.