Anthropologists as pipers at the gates of dawn
Henry Cox (Cox Anthropology)
Gumnut (S204), R.N Robertson Building
Thursday 5 December, 14:15-16:00

Short abstract:

This lab will develop supporting strategies for anthropologists so that that they might have more significant roles to play in future cross-disciplinary psychedelic drug investigations. Discussion will focus on "value-adding" that can be contributed using anthropological tools and methodologies.

Long abstract:

Discussions of psychedelic drugs have made a recent resurgence both academically and amongst the masses. Several well-known psychedelics are currently being investigated by the medical fraternity in trials around the world, as potential treatments for various issues. Suddenly there's money to be found for academic research; (Adelaide University; St Vincent's hospital, Melbourne). Historically, anthropologists developed valuable materials and insights on psychedelic drug use in small scale societies (e.g. La Barre 1937, Harner 1968, Taussig 1991) and more recently, psychedelic tourist trades have become established,(see Labate 2009); western settings currently show research promise. Often, anthropological findings discuss the effects of these substances on whole-community relations, rather than just a single user/participant. Medicos (and the bureaucracies that regulate them around the world), have now conducted numerous successful human research trials (with more to come). Unfortunately their findings have little if any anthropological voice in the discussions, which is a pity, because there is a very substantial body of work from which to draw and contribute. This lab will discuss the sorts of issues involved in cross-disciplinary research and the benefits of collaboration. This lab will develop supporting strategies for early and mid-career anthropologists (and other social scientists interested in psychedelics) so that they will have a more significant role to play in 'yet-to-be-developed' enhanced cross-disciplinary investigations. These strategies will be based on discussion of "value-adding" contributions using specific anthropological perspectives and methodologies, in concert with more flexible and collegial cross-disciplinary research frameworks than those currently being employed.