Is taking ayahuasca the same in mainland China as in South America or downtown Manhattan? Join journalists Oshan Jarow and Shayla Love live in New York City in conversation with anthropologists Alex Gearin and Nicolas Langlitz on how culture influences psychedelic use and experience, and Alex’s ethnography of psychedelic use in China.
In the psychedelic world, people often talk about “set and setting,” or the environment and mindset someone has before taking a powerful, mind-altering substance. But this applies to more than if you’re tripping inside or outside. The larger setting we all exist in is our cultural container, which can influence how we interpret psychedelic experiences. Journalists Oshan Jarow and Shayla Love will talk with anthropologist Alex Gearin about his recent ethnographic sketches of psychedelic use in China—a rare look into an emerging phenomenon—and the ways Chinese people are using ayahuasca differently from those in the West. With anthropologist Nicolas Langlitz, we’ll discuss culture’s influence on psychedelics more broadly, and how cultural contexts can change awe, wonder, mysticism, meaning-making, and more.
This is the first in a series hosted by Oshan and Shayla on the psychedelic humanities, in friendly collaboration with The New School’s Psychedelic Humanities Lab, led by Nicolas. The psychedelic humanities incorporate fields like anthropology, sociology, literature, art, linguistics, archaeology, recognizing that we can only try our best to learn about psychedelic drugs and their effects on us in an interdisciplinary manner. The rest of the series will be announced soon!
This event will take place in New York, New York—precise location TBD.