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Honors Program
Course Description

Honors Program: A pathway to excellence.


American culture is awash in addiction. The legal system often turns, logically, to treatment of addiction rather than punishment of addicts-but illogically values only the twelve-step recovery model, despite its 90% failure rate. The vocabulary of addiction, with its focus on the disease metaphor, demands treatment while simultaneously decrying the existence of "cures." Modern memoir frequently revels in America's culture of Addiction Porn-tales of debauchery and disgrace, frequently charting an arc of descent from purity to degeneration…back to some semblance of sobriety. The same narrative pattern plays out daily on television programs such as Intervention and in film—from a drama like Leaving Las Vegas to a comedy like Old School. In this class, we will study America's culture of addiction, focusing particularly on alcohol but also including topics like the criminalization/decriminalization of marijuana, the fall of Big Tobacco, and the staggering cost of America's longest losing war…the War on Drugs.

During this class, students will develop multi-modal essays on alcohol-related topics: the history of the drinking age in America, an analysis of the fluctuations in the number of highway fatalities caused by DUI, a report on the ways in which alcoholism and drug abuse have been treated…and punished.

These multi-modal essays will be compiled into an edited collection and published electronically. It could then be made available via free download, to anyone via's Kindle publishing platform.

Substitutions: Course substitutions:
Given the focus on memoir and film, this course would logically substitute for LIT 169, a general education course. Additionally, it could count as a LIT 400 seminar in genre studies. The chair of HPSS is comfortable accepting this as SOC gen-ed credit or as HIST credit at the 300 or 400 level.


Time: Fall 2015, Block 3,

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