Psychedelic Entanglements: An interdisciplinary exploration of psychedelics, science & drug-use

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Event Details

Date: 22 Jun 2018 – 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Venue: Monash University, Monash Club, 32 Exhibition Walk, Clayton Campus


School of Social Sciences

Conference & Symposium

Psychedelic Entanglements: An interdisciplinary exploration of psychedelics, science & drug-use

Psychedelics – usually associated with 1960s countercultures – are making a comeback. The possibility that psychedelics may offer new, much needed treatments for mood disorders and addiction has prompted a surge in scientific research and clinical trials. This symposium explores the historical, philosophical and social dimensions of this renewed interest in psychedelic drugs. The event will explore histories of research into psychedelics, and insights into consciousness that are emerging in contemporary research. Speakers will also explore the philosophical issues raised by mystical experiences in psychedelic therapies, and the perspectives of contemporary recreational drug consumers.



Chaired by Professor Lenore Manderson Brown University & University of the Witwatersrand


Psychedelic Birth: Bodies, Boundaries, and Consciousness in the 1970s

Professor Wendy Kline, is the Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine in the Department of History at Purdue University. She is the author of Bodies of Knowledge: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Women’s Health in the Second Wave (U. of Chicago Press) and Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom (U. of California Press, 2001).  Her third book, a history of the alternative birth movement in the U.S., is forthcoming with Oxford University Press.  Her current project, “Psychedelic Birth: R.D. Laing and the Transformation of Psychiatry,” is being funded by a six month research fellowship from the British Academy.

Psychedelics and the pharmacology of consciousness

Associate Professor Olivia Carter is an ARC Future Fellow in the Melbourne School of Psychological Sciences. Olivia currently heads the Perception and Pharmacology lab at the University of Melbourne where the bulk of her research interests relate to the impact of neurotransmitter systems on cognitive and perceptual function in healthy individuals. Clinically, her research focuses on altered cognitive and perceptual function in psychiatric populations. She also has a strong interest in neuroethics, particularly in relationship to cognitive enhancing agents and technologies.  From 2008-2014 she was the Executive Director of the international Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness and is the current president of the Australasian Cognitive Neuroscience Society.

Philosophy of psychedelic therapy: existential medicine or comforting delusion?

Dr Chris Letheby is a philosopher working on issues related to the therapeutic and transformative potential of classic psychedelic drugs. His doctoral research, conducted at the University of Adelaide, presented the first systematic analysis of psychedelic experience within the framework of 21st century philosophy of cognitive science.  In his thesis Letheby argues that an ‘entheogenic conception’ of psychedelics as agents of epistemic and spiritual benefit is both consistent with philosophical naturalism and plausible in light of current scientific knowledge.  Having been awarded his PhD in early 2017, he is currently teaching logic and critical thinking in Adelaide, while continuing to conduct research on philosophical issues relating to psychedelics.

Young men encountering drug education: Towards an immanent ethics.

Dr Adrian Farrugia is a Research Associate at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University. Adrian’s current research is on opioid overdose and the uptake of take-home naloxone in Australia. His presentation for the Neurosocieties symposium is drawn from his PhD research on Australian drug education and young men’s party drug consumption practices.




Friday 22 June


10:00am – 04:00pm


Monash University
Monash Club,
32 Exhibition Walk,
Clayton Campus

For further information, please contact John Gardner on


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