Haggai Ram charts the (modern) history of Hashish in the Holy Land
After a century of prohibition, we are witnessing a dramatic shift in cannabis culture and policy around the world from a “killer weed” and a cause of racial degeneration to an accepted recreational drug and a “magic medicine.” In his lecture, Haggai Ram will examine this global shift of cannabis by focusing on the social history of the drug (i.e., hashish and marijuana) in Palestine-Israel from the late nineteenth century to the present. Ram will offer a vista into the political and cultural contexts within which cannabis became a “drug”; the underworlds of Jewish and Arab users and traffickers; the complex roles played by race, gender, and class in the construction of cannabis “addiction”; the place of the Zionist project in dispersing cannabis use and enforcing drug restrictions; and the normalization-cum-medicalization of this intoxicant in recent decades. In the process, he will demonstrate the extent to which the history of cannabis in Palestine-Israel offers a window through which one can explore broader political, economic, social, and cultural change.
Prof. Haggai Ram is a historian of the Middle East at Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. His areas of teaching and research are the social and cultural histories of Iran and the Levant. Among his publications are Myth and Mobilization in Revolutionary Iran (American University Press, 1994); Reading Iran in Israel (in Hebrew, 2006); Iranophobia: The Logic of an Israeli Obsession (Stanford University Press, 2009); and Intoxicating Zion: A Social History of Hashish in Mandatory Palestine and Israel (Stanford University Press, 2020).