About this Research Topic
We take inspiration from recent scholarship, including Ido Hartogsohn who suggests, in American Trip (2020), that a ‘cultural setting’ is significant in theorizing the wider concepts involved in analysing ‘set and setting’ that spills beyond a laboratory setting and openly questions different states of consciousness that guide decisions to take psychedelics in the first place. Historically, American psychiatrist Betty Eisner developed a concept of ‘matrix’, which she argued placed greater emphasis on the integration of experience into a cultural setting. We draw on philosopher Peter Sloterdijk’s suggestion in ‘Rules for the Human Park’, just as the humanities in their more familiar form, inherited from the 19th c, involves the use of books as anthropotechnical devices to civilize humans, so in future psychedelics might perform a similar role, hence ‘the psychedelic humanities’. In this way, we invite authors to explore altered states of consciousness and to investigate how psychedelic experiences have contributed to this area of study.
In this Research Topic we invite scholars working in humanities and social sciences to contribute to an enriching discussion about developments in psychedelic studies from ethical, sociological, gendered, historical, anthropological, philosophical, and policy perspectives. While we welcome studies that explore intersections of medicine and culture, we especially encourage submissions from scholars examining psychedelics in non-medical settings, including ceremonial spaces, recreational settings, or spaces where consumers seek psychedelic experiences in order to expand notions of human flourishing and creativity as part of consciousness studies.
We seek to explore what psychedelics can teach us about humanity, including aspirational experiences alongside cautionary tales about the potential pitfalls of a psychedelic renaissance and what it might come to represent in this era of human history.
• How do psychedelic humanities contribute to consciousness studies?
• How can studies in the psychedelic humanities contribute to the resurgence of interest in psychedelics?
• How has and how does culture interact with psychedelic science to create evidence in this field?
• Can we learn from non-clinical encounters with psychedelics, and if so, how?
• How does qualitative evidence enhance or detract from our understanding of psychedelic studies?
Keywords: Psychedelic humanities, Set and settings, Anthropotechnics, Psychedelic cultures, Psychedelic experience, Psychonautics
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.