Sara Black - Directory - Christopher Newport University


Sara Black

Department of History

Sara Black

Assistant Professor

McMurran Hall 313
(757) 594-8621


  • Ph D in History, Rutgers University
  • BA in European Studies and Music, The College of William and Mary


History of Medicine
French History
Cultural History
European History
Global History


History of Medicine
Modern France
Cultural History
Intellectual History
History of the Body


Dr. Black is a historian of medicine in modern France researching the history of drugs at the intersection of medicine and culture. Her first book, Drugging France: Mind-Altering Medicine in the Long Nineteenth Century (McGill-Queen's University Press, 2022) traces the interconnected histories of six "psychotropic" drugs: opium, morphine, ether, chloroform, cocaine, and hashish. It explores how the use of mind-altering drugs in medical practice normalized the chemical enhancement of modern life and transformed the way individuals experienced their own minds and bodies.

Her next book project focuses on the history of transnational public health campaigns targeting tuberculosis during and after World War I.

Selected Accomplishments

  • Monograph
    (2022). Drugging France: Mind-Altering Medicine in the Long Nineteenth Century. McGill-Queen's University Press. Pages, 400.
  • Book, Chapter in Scholarly Book-New
    (2022). "French Drug Control from Poisons to Degeneration". Oxford University Press. Pages, 27.
  • Book Review
    (2021). Review of Larry Sommer McGrath, Making Spirit Matter: Neurology, Psychology, and Selfhood in Modern France. History: Reviews of New Books. Volume, 49. Issue, 4. Pages, 96-98.
  • Book Review
    (2020). Review of David Hardman's Marie-Antoinette. CHOICE.
  • Book Review
    (2020). Review of Ellen La Motte, The Backwash of War: An Extraordinary American Nurse in World War I. H-War, H-Net Reviews.
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    (2019). Morphine on Trial: Legal Medicine and Criminal Responsibility in the Fin de Siècle. French Historical Studies. Pages, 40.
  • Journal Article, Academic Journal
    (2017). Doctors on Drugs: Medical Professionals and the Proliferation of Morphine Addiction in Nineteenth-Century France. Social History of Medicine. Volume, 30. Issue, 1. Pages, 114-136.
  • Book Review
    (2016). Black on Bourke, 'The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers'. H-War Reviews.
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