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Samuel K. Roberts | “Radical Recovery: Making Urban Political Subjects and Drug Policy in the Era of Criminalization”

Event Type
Medical Humanities Research Cluster and the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities
IPRH Lecture Hall, Levis Faculty Center, Fourth Floor (919 West Illinois Street, Urbana) 
Apr 11, 2019   4:00 pm  
Free and open to the public.
Originating Calendar
Humanities Research Institute (HRI)

In this talk, Dr. Roberts discusses local political protest movements for addiction treatment in the 1960s and 1970s. Radical Recovery movements framed the social problem of drug use within a (geo)political and economic critique of capital and therefore presented an early challenge to the biomedicalization of addiction. Unfortunately, in their privileging of abstinence, these movements also set the stage for popular ethnic-based resistance to harm reduction policies such as specific uses of methadone and syringe exchange.

Samuel K. Roberts is Associate Professor of History (School of Arts & Sciences) and Associate Professor of Sociomedical Sciences (Mailman School of Public Health) at Columbia University, and is a former Director of Columbia University’s Institute for Research in African American Studies (IRAAS). He writes, teaches, and lectures widely on African-American history, medical and public health history, urban history, issues of policing and criminal justice, and the history of social movements. He is the author of Infectious Fear: Politics, Disease, and the Health Effects of Segregation (University of North Carolina Press, 2009). Dr. Roberts received his M.A. and Ph.D. in History at Princeton University.

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