Paja Faudree, "Postcards from the Land of Magic Plants: Psychedelic Tourism and Indigenous Commodities"

CSREA Conference Room, Hillel 303, 80 Brown Street

What I Am Thinking About Now: Professor Paja Faudree (Anthropology)

In this presentation, Prof. Faudree talks about her new work on global trade in Salvia divinorum, one of the world's newest "drugs."  This psychedelic plant plant has been used for centuries in religious rituals by indigenous people from southern Mexico  -- often alongside the region's better known "magic mushrooms," which have been the target of ethnic tourism since the 1960s.  However, salvia has recently become marketed worldwide as a legal alternative to marijuana, and it has also become the site of active pharmaceutical research. As a result, a wide array of people now compete to determine the plant's cultural and material value, ranging from biomedical researchers, politicians seeking to ban the plant, indigenous shamans and farmers, mestizo middlemen, online vendors, and users the in U.S., Mexico, and beyond.  Faudree will discuss the conflicting meanings people bring to their engagement with salvia, and suggest how the emergence of a global salvia trade might have implications for such issues as drug policy and race, the ethics of ethnic markets, and the politics of indigenous knowledge.

    What I Am Thinking About Now is an on-going informal workshop/seminar series to which faculty and graduate students are invited to present and discuss recently published work and work in progress.