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Adam Rathge

ph.d. candidate

Adam Rathge


Faculty Advisor: Martin Summers

Curriculum Vitae


B.A., University of Dayton, magna cum laude, 2006
M.A., U.S. History, University of Cincinnati, 2009

  • Thesis: "Swill Milk in the 'Metropolis of Malt': Cincinnati Physicians and the Fight to End Distillery Dairies, 1850-1920"

Research Interests:

In general, I am interested in the late nineteenth- and twentieth-century history of the United States, with a specific focus on the social and cultural history of "drugs" - the opiates, cocaine, cannabis, etc. as both licit and illicit substances. Specifically, their paths to demonization and criminalization, their association with vice, bodily and moral decay, and especially the methods and practices used by governments, police, medicine, and society at-large to characterize, stigmatize, and control these substances over the past hundred and fifty years.

My dissertation offers a fresh approach to the historiography on marijuana prohibition in the United States by exploring the origins and transformations of the regulatory processes, medical discourse, and social concerns that controlled cannabis at the state and local level from the late nineteenth century until the federal government’s passage of the Marihuana Tax Act in 1937. I aim to demonstrate the long term development of these interrelated processes to answer a number of significant questions about how and why cities and states across the country regulated cannabis before the federal government, and what affect these varied regulations had on each other, the emergence and development of marijuana hysteria, and subsequent federal regulation.

Fellowships and Awards:

  • Ferenc Gyorgyey Research Travel Grant at Yale's Harvey Cushing/John Hay Whitney Medical Library (2012-2013)
  • Graduate Fellow, Clough Center For Constitutional Democracy
  • University Fellowship, Boston College

Papers Presented:

  • “Far from the Border: The Origins of Cannabis Prohibition in Massachusetts, 1906-1917,” Under Control?: Alcohol and Drug Regulation, Past and Present, at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, England, June 21-23, 2013
  • "'Not a ragamuffin among them': Anti-Opium Legislation and the Demise of Boston's 'Gilded Dens,'" Presented at The Pub, the Street, and the Medicine Cabinet: The 6th International Conference on the History of Alcohol and Drugs at the University at Buffalo (SUNY), June 24-26, 2011.
  • [Invited] “Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Alcohol and Drug Prohibition Movements,” Presented to Boston Public School's - Teaching American History (TAH) Grant Program on Liberty, Equality and E Pluribus Unum, at Boston University, February 24, 2010.
  • “Swill Milk in the ‘Metropolis of Malt’: Cincinnati Physicians and the Fight to End Distillery Dairies, 1850- 1920.” Presented at the Queen City Colloquium History Graduate Conference, University of Cincinnati, June 5, 2009.
  • “Jobs, Peace, Freedom: The ‘Ever-Normal’ Notions of Henry A. Wallace.” Paper Presented at the Queen City Colloquium History Graduate Conference, University of Cincinnati, June 6, 2008.