Intoxicating Spaces: Global and Comparative Perspectives

A free online conference organised by the HERA research project Intoxicating Spaces: The Impact of New Intoxicants on Urban Spaces in Europe, 1600–1850, to be held live via Zoom. Videos available below.

Monday 19–Wednesday 21 July 2021

Intoxicants are a prevailing and even defining feature of the modern world. Since the sixteenth century, cacao, caffeines, opiates, sugar, tobacco, and pharmaceuticals joined alcohols in transforming dietary and social habits, and becoming mainstays of modern global economies and nation states. The means by which these commodities have been produced, transported, and consumed, often within the exploitative contexts of colonialism and empire, is inherently and sometimes violently spatial: from the plantations and other agricultural settings where they were cultivated, to the international networks and systems through which they were trafficked, to the built, al fresco, and temporary environments ­in which they were retailed, exchanged, and enjoyed. This conference offers new perspectives on the relationship between intoxicants and spaces – social, material, and conceptual – since the sixteenth century, and on an international scale. It will explore the spatial dimensions and dynamics of production, traffic, and consumption; how transplantations and flows of intoxicants can help us understand the nature of the global; and how international comparisons can illuminate practices and experiences within local, regional, national, and continental contexts.

Monday 19 July

NB all timings BST (British Summer Time)

1:45–2pm BST: Welcome & Introduction

2–3:30pm BST: Parallel Sessions

Session 1: Opium
Chair: Stephen Snelders

Devyani Gupta (Jindal Global University)
Opium’s Empire: Circulatory Networks and Imperial Geography in the Nineteenth Century

Jonathan Jones (Virginia Military Institute)
Opium Slavery: US Civil War Veterans and the Problem of Addiction in Modernizing America

Shaul Marmari (Leibniz Institute for Jewish History and Culture)
Intoxicating Diasporas: Jewish Opium and Coffee Networks in the Indian Ocean 

Session 2: Objects & Architectures
Chair: Gabrielle Robilliard

Anna Fielding (Manchester Metropolitan University/The National Trust)
A Table in Cheshire: Sugar, Spice, and Tales from Far-Flung Seas

Magnus Copps (Museum of London Archaeology)
‘Importers of Foreign Spiritous Liquors’: Colonial Commodities in an Early Nineteenth-Century London Public House 

Lucas Richert (UW-Madison)
Pharmacies as ‘Pleasure Meccas’: Addiction, Architecture, and American Capitalism

3:30–4pm BST: Intoxicant Break

4–5:30pm BST: Parallel Sessions

Session 3: Intoxicants in Circulation
Chair: Leos Müller

Anistatia Miller (University of Bristol)
Revisiting Early Modern Gin

Tyler Rainford (University of Bristol)
‘The Best Liquor That End of the Town Could Afford Us’: Locating Punch in Eighteenth-Century London

Lauren Working (University of Oxford)
Bacchus’ New Muse: Wine, Tobacco, and the ‘Intoxicating Enchantments’ of Early Stuart Colonialism

Session 4: Discourse & Regulation
Chair: James Brown

Jamie Banks (University of Leicester) & Deborah Toner (University of Leicester)
Alcohol and Race at the International Anti-Alcohol Congresses, 1885–1939

Chelsea Davis (George Washington University)
The ‘Civilizing’ Discourse on Wine: Britain’s Imperial Project in the Cape of Good Hope and South Australia

Eva Ward (University of Strathclyde)
Cultures of Consumption, the Colonial State, and Prohibition in the American Philippines, 1913–1933

Tuesday 20 July

2–3:30pm BST: Parallel Sessions

Session 5: Intoxicating Geographies
Chair: Dagmar Freist

Natasha Bailey (University of Leicester)
Putting Maguey on the Map: The Cultural Geography of the Early Colonial Pulque Trade in Mexico

Gabriel Feltran (Federal University of São Carlos)
Following Stolen Cars and What’s Left of Them: On Inequalities and Violence in International Market Chains

Johan Mathew (Rutgers University)
Puff and Pull: Drug Use and Rickshaw Coolies in Indian Ocean Port Cities

Session 6: Datura, Ecstasy, Poppers
Chair: Toine Pieters

Peder Clark (University of Liverpool)
Everybody in the Place: Ecstasy, Raves, and Heterotopic Spaces

Ben Mechen (King’s College London)
Feel the Rush: Poppers, Policing, and Queer Futurity in Eighties London

Anil Paralkar (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)
Intoxicating Alterities: Travelling Narratives about Datura Consumption between India and Europe in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries

3:30–4pm BST: Intoxicant Break

4–5pm BST: Parallel Sessions

Session 7: Sugar
Chair: Gabrielle Robilliard

Michael Bennett (University of Sheffield)
Caribbean Plantation Economies as Colonial Models

Marissa Nicosia (Pennsylvania State University)
Locating Ice Cream in Seventeenth-Century London

Session 8: Cannabis
Chair: Stephen Snelders

Neil Carrier (University of Bristol) & Gernot Klantschnig (University of Bristol)
(Il)Legalising Spaces: Cannabis, Space, and the Law in African Cultures of Cannabis Consumption

Thembisa Waetjen (University of Johannesburg)
Cannabis Smoking in Colonial Geographies: C. J. G. Bourhill, J. A. Mitchell, and South Africa

7-8pm BST: A virtual tour of London’s early modern coffeehouses, with tastings of eighteenth-century style coffee, led by historian and broadcaster Dr Matthew Green (creator of Unreal City Audio, and author of London: A Travel Guide Through Time).

Wednesday 21 July

2–3:30pm BST: Parallel Sessions

3:30–4pm BST: Intoxicant Break

4–5:30pm BST: Parallel Sessions

Session 12: European Drinking Spaces
Chair: James Brown

Dorota Dias-Lewandowska (Polish Academy of Sciences) & Pam Lock (University of Bristol)
A Woman’s Place is in the Home? Seeking the Unheard Voices of Drinking Women in Polish and British Cultures

Alexandr Gorokhovskiy (Utrecht University)
‘Naley enim Infunde significat’: Sixteenth-Century Moscow’s Drinking Quarter and its German Dwellers

Jenni Lares (Tampere University)
House, Home, and Tavern: Places of Drinking in Seventeenth-Century Finland

5:30–5:45pm BST: Intoxicant Break

5:45–6pm BST: Wrap-Up and Farewell