L.W.B. (Lisanne) Walma MA
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Since 2013 I do my PhD at the Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities / Freudenthal Institute. I study Dutch drug debates in the twentieth century as part of the Translantis project. In this project researchers use digitized newspapers to analyze the role of the United States in Dutch public debates.


I am committed to multidisciplinary and blended learning in university teaching, for example in my work as coordinator of the faculty-wide course 'Addiction and addictive drugs'

Faculty Council

Since September 1, 2015 I am a member of the Science Faculty Council as part of the Math department. I participate in the committees OOS (Research, Teaching and Student Affairs) and PR (Public Relations)

Involved in the following study programme(s)
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All publications
  2015 - Scholarly publications
Walma, L.W.B. (07.12.2015). Filtering the “News” - Uncovering Morphine's Multiple Meanings on Delpher’s Dutch Newspapers and the Need to Distinguish More Article Types. TS: Tijdschrift voor Tijdschriftstudies (38), (pp. 61-78) (18 p.).
  2015 - Other output
Walma, L.W.B. (03.01.2015). America: Land of Narcotics? The United States in Dutch Discourse on Narcotics in the First Half of the Twentieth Century.
Walma, L.W.B. (2015). Dynamic Dystopia. References to U.S. Narcotic Problems in 1920’s Dutch Public Discourse.
Walma, L.W.B. (2015). References to American Narcotic Abuse in Dutch Public Discourse in the 1920s and the Value of Digitized Newspapers.
  2014 - Other output
Walma, L.W.B. (2014). Blaming Alcohol and Doctors: America as a Reference Culture for Morphinism in the Dutch News Discourse at the Turn of the Twentieth Century.
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Between Morpheus and Mary: The Construction of Morphine in Dutch Digitized Newspapers 1880 - 1940.

In my project I pose two main questions. First, how did morphine balance its medical identity among public associations to overdose, addiction and trafficking which emerged in the early twentieth century? Second, what are the advantages and challenges of using digitized newspapers when conducting a historical discourse analysis?

Morphine currently holds a firm position in pain management and is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines as an analgesic and sedative. Despite medical practice support of the drug's painkilling properties, the prescription and distribution of the narcotic is not without its obstacles. Morphine in the Netherlands balances a complicated number of identities by being on the one hand an important medical drug in pain treatment, but at the same time subject to concerns from both public and practitioners about its addictive and poisonous properties. The balance between morphine's painkilling status and non-medical associations that still features in Dutch public discourse today emerged at the turn of the twentieth century. At the onset of international drug control, Dutch public discourse constructed morphine alongside heroin and cocaine as an addictive, poisonous and trafficked substance. All three substances started out as medicines, but during this period an association to addiction and trafficking emerged for cocaine and heroin that to this day undermine their potential medical use. However, whereas heroin and cocaine in the first half of the twentieth century became and remained ‘demon drugs’, morphine to this day has balanced its addictive and poisonous properties with its importance as a painkiller.

Research into this early period will help explain how morphine balances its medical identities with its non-medical associations today. In my dissertation I therefore compare Dutch debates on overdose, addiction and trafficking of morphine, heroin and cocaine between 1880 - 1940 in Dutch digitized newspapers to examine how morphine balanced its medical status in the Netherlands during this formative period of the international narcotics debate. 

This research is part of the project Digital Humanities Approaches to Reference Cultures: The Emergence of the United States in Public Discourse in the Netherlands, 1890-1990.

More information about this project can be found on www.translantis.nl

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Additional functions and activities

Board Member Stichting Farmaceutisch Erfgoed (2015 - current)


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Full name
L.W.B. Walma MA Contact details
Buys Ballotgebouw

Princetonplein 5
Room 4.69
The Netherlands

Phone number (direct) +31 30 253 5670
Gegenereerd op 2017-08-21 21:36:06
Last updated 25.06.2017