Helping Students Connect With Economic History Through B.C.'s Experience With Opiates.




Gaffney, Luca

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This research was motivated by perceived differences in British Columbia’s historical treatment of opium smokers and other opiate users, even in the 19th century, when recreational opium was legal. The initial aim of this investigation was to explore those differences, and find their origins and consequences. Our evidence was in the form of hundreds of primary sources, previously collected in three sourcebooks. These cases were summarized and tabulated for ease of use, but even after this was done, analysis proved challenging. These difficulties are not unique to our case, and are likely to become more important as students of history make use of the resources available to our data-rich society. With this in mind, we used the lessons learned to create a toolkit to allow undergraduate students and others to move beyond these hurdles and gain insights from large collections of narrative historical case studies.



opium, laudanum, morphine, paregoric, open educational resources, economic history, British Columbia