Psychedelics in Society and Culture

Psychedelics in Society and Culture

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Psychedelics in Society and Culture is a collaborative initiative between the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University that will expand psychedelic research across the arts, humanities and social sciences. Led by the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics (BCSP), the Center for Interdisciplinary Critical Inquiry (CICI), and Harvard’s Mahindra Humanities Center (MHC) and funded by Flourish Trust.

At UC Berkeley, the Principal Investigators are Debarati Sanyal, Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Critical Inquiry, and Imran Khan, Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics.

Psychedelics in Society and Culture is a joint effort between the nation’s foremost public and private universities. This effort will foster new ways of thinking and partnering to answer some of the most pressing and intriguing questions surrounding psychedelics and society. While much research to date has centered on the important potential of therapeutic applications of psychedelics, this groundbreaking collaboration is one of the first comprehensive programs dedicated to exploring the cultural, humanistic and societal significance of psychedelics.

Through generous philanthropy, the initiative aims to advance interdisciplinary research in these under-explored domains, providing students and faculty researchers grants of up to $100,000 for creative and innovative projects both within and between the two universities. This collaborative venture, funded by different donors at each institution, is a testament to the current momentum propelling the expansion of psychedelic research within the nascent field. The Flourish Trust(link is external) — an organization committed to catalyzing the healing and regeneration of humanity and the planet — has generously donated $1 million to fund the UC Berkeley grants over three years.

Led by the UC Berkeley Center for the Science of Psychedelics(link is external) (BCSP), the Center for Interdisciplinary Critical Inquiry (CICI), and Harvard’s Mahindra Humanities Center(link is external) (MHC), this collaborative effort promises to produce invaluable contributions to both institutions’ burgeoning psychedelics programs. The Psychedelics in Society and Culture program encourages research into the multifaceted role of psychedelics across diverse histories, cultures and geographies. Potential research topics could range from Indigenous communities’ contemporary use of psychedelics to ethical considerations surrounding patenting to the interplay of psychedelics with philosophical questions around the nature of reality, consciousness, religion and the human experience.