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Call for Papers: uppers and DOWNERS: A JOINT Workshop, University of Warwick, 7-8 November 2024

JOINT is an early career drugs history network, formed in 2022 through the generous support of a networking grant from the Wellcome Trust and Society for the Social History of Medicine (SSHM). Created to provide a forum for early career scholars (broadly defined) to network and share their research, JOINT is delighted to announce the first of two workshops exploring the demarcation of drugs into the binary categories of ‘uppers’ and ‘downers.’

In this first workshop, hosted by the University of Warwick, we invite papers (from any discipline) which problematise and/or complicate any aspect of this demarcation with respect to ‘downers.’ Whilst conventionally associated with substances such as opiates, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines, this umbrella term has also included alcohol, cannabis, and its synthetic derivatives, as well as novel substances such as GHB. We also encourage participants to think about the double-meaning of the word ‘downers’, inviting an exploration of ideas about bad trips, negative drug experiences, and/or drug come-downs. In short, we encourage participants to think broadly and creatively about the historically and contextually contingent nature of the categories which have come to separate various substances, and their experiential effects.

Thanks to the generous support of Wellcome, SSHM, and Warwick’s Centre for the History of Medicine, the convenors are able provide accommodation and a conference dinner for all presenting participants on the night of the 15 February 2024, with scope to provide additional accommodation/support with travel expenses for those without access to internal or external funding.

To submit a paper for consideration, please send a 250-word abstract, and short bio, to by close of Monday 15 January 2024. Please also include an indication of whether you require further support with travel costs/ additional accommodation.

Selection will be based on relevancy to the themes of the workshop, with preference given to those earlier in their career (e.g., PhD students, ECRs, those on fixed-term contacts). Those who are not selected for participation in this workshop are encouraged to consider apply for the second workshop, to be held later this year.

Tue 12 Dec 2023, 13:50 | Tags: Announcement Call for Papers