News

CU Professor Authors Book

7/25/2013

Cumberland University Professor Dr. John Markert has release another book entitled Hooked in Film: Substance Abuse on the Big Screen.  In it he discusses the changes in social attitudes toward illegal drugs and their cinematic depiction from 1900 through 2010.

Drug use was so widespread that the nineteenth century has been called a dope fiend’s paradise, largely because the negative effects of drugs were not widely recognized.  The temperance movement that gained momentum at the outset of the twentieth century was set on making people aware of the harmful effects of drugs that were medically utilized.  Cinema was instrumental in helping “spread the word” about the consequences of drug use.  The images that coalesced around drug use during the 1920s and 1930s, both socially and cinematically, would not be challenged until the 1960s.

The Sixties were a period of social change: the feminist movement, the black power movement, and demonstration against the Vietnam War.  More permissive attitudes toward drugs also began to percolate in the mid-1960s and would sweep across the United States during the 1970s when drug use rose to an all-time high.  Cinema played a major role in the 1960s in teaching young people that the use of marijuana (and even LSD) did not lead to heroin addiction, and then, in more mainstream film during the 1970s, that marijuana was just part of everyday life with no serious consequences.  The anti-drug crusade that took place during Reagan’s presidency would see a decrease in films that depicted marijuana.  The absence of films depicting drugs in a positive manner is at least partly responsible for the sharp decrease in drug use that took place during the 1980s.  This would change after the 1990s when films picked up the medical marijuana “flag” and pressed this point home during the first decade of the twenty-first century, reinforcing the growing popular sentiment that fueled the legalization of marijuana by many states. 

John Market graduated with a doctorate in sociology from Vanderbilt University.  He is presently an associate professor of sociology at Cumberland University in Lebanon, TN.  He has written numerous articles and books analyzing aspects of the media, including The Social Impact of Sexual Harassment (Marquette Books, 2010) and Post-9/11 Cinema: Through a Lens Darkly that was published by Scarecrow Press in 2011. 

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Dr. John Markert via 615-292-7819 or john_markert@comcast.net.