History class focuses on drugs, alcohol in US

“Drugs and Alcohol in US History” shows to be an interesting course among undergrads, graduate students and Mad Men fans alike.

Doctoral student Joe Faykosh said he took Drugs and Alcohol in US History as a graduate class and that his professor, the department chair of the history department, Scott Martin, set the class apart from the rest.

“He gives students the floor, he really wanted the students to be the ones discussing the class,” Faykosh said. “What he does well is that he doesn’t take one side over another.”

The class was exclusive to graduate students in the past, but is currently being offered to undergraduates. Martin said he taught the class years ago in a different form.

“We basically go chronologically and start with a broad discussion of how drugs and alcohol have shaped the modern world,” Martin said.

Martin’s class covers everything from the colonial era to the modern war on drugs.

Junior Mary Bogart said she enjoys the class and being able to look at the history of drug and alcohol in America from a different perspective.

“It’s nice to think of all these events in history in a different light,” Bogart said. “It’s not traditional history.”

Zoe Dietsch is also taking the course this semester and said it focuses on underground movements in US history that most students wouldn’t think about being a part of the criteria.

“It’s not just drugs and alcohol, it’s also about tea, coffee and chocolate, things you wouldn’t normally think about,” Dietsch said. “It’s a twist, a twist on history.”

As far as teaching style goes, some students like the way Martin teaches the class as well. Faykosh said Martin made the classes interesting by showing clips of TV shows such as Mad Men as an example of how prevalent drugs and alcohol were at the time.

“He has a great way of letting everyone know their opinion is valued,” Faykosh said.

Dietsch said Martin is more engaging than most teachers she has had.

Bogart agreed and said Martin is a relaxed professor and would recommend the class to all students, even if their not history majors.

“His whole attitude is a relaxed approach,” Bogart said. “I’m really enjoying it.”

Drugs and Alcohol in US History (HIST 3910) is still open for those interested in taking the class and is Tuesday and Thursday’s from 2:30 p.m. to 3:45 p.m.