University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology
Past Special Exhibition at the Penn Museum

In Righteous Dopefiend: Homelessness, Addiction and Poverty in Urban America, anthropologist Philippe Bourgois and photographer-ethnographer Jeff Schonberg document the daily lives of homeless drug users, drawing upon more than a decade of fieldwork they conducted among a community of heroin injectors and crack smokers who survive on the streets of San Francisco’s former industrial neighborhoods. Numerous black and white photographs are interwoven with edited transcriptions of tape recorded conversations, fieldwork notes, and critical analysis to explore the intimate experience of homelessness and addiction. Revealing the social survival mechanisms and perspectives of this marginalized “community of addicted bodies,” the exhibition also sheds light on the often unintended consequences of public policies that can exacerbate the suffering faced by street-based drug users in America.

More Than Just An Exhibit

This exhibition extends beyond gallery walls and encourages conversation and introspection of oft-ignored topics:

  • Mark Auslander and his team at Central Washington University used Righteous Dopefiend as a lens to examine how homelessness effects the local community in their project "Between Night and Day."
  • The Fix – one of the web's premier resources on addiction and recovery – says of the exhibition, "The results force us to confront those people, the ones in the street that we walk past every day."

Hosting Institutions

January 7, 2015 - March 21, 2015

Museum of Culture and Environment, Central Washington University


Currently available

Gallery Space

Minimum 225 running feet

Venue Period

12 weeks. Every effort will be made to accommodate special requests from borrowers.


71 cleat-hung panels featuring commentary and imagery.

Labels, section captions, and introductory wall scrolls accompany the exhibit. These materials are also provided in disc form. 

Public relations material will be provided prior to the opening of the exhibit. A hard cover book is also available. 

Speaker is available on request.


To be arranged by the Penn Museum. Venue is responsible for outbound shipping costs.


Covered by the Penn Museum.


No courier necessary. Qualified staff at borrowing institution will install and deinstall the exhibition.


Facility report must be submitted for review before approval of loan.

Borrowing institutions must complete incoming and outgoing condition reports.


Traveling Exhibits Coordinator
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