Faculty Feature

FIU founding professor of anthropology to teach Hallucinogens and Culture online in Spring

Due to the psychedelic renaissance, the psychotherapeutic uses of psychedelics are widely known, especially for their clinically-proven ability to treat a variety of mental illnesses including addiction, depression, anxiety among terminally ill patients, and PTSD among war vets and first responders.

Because of this resurgence of interest in the medical and scientific applications of psychedelics, Guillermo Grenier, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Global and Sociocultural Studies (GSS) in the School of International & Public Affairs (SIPA), invited Jerry B. Brown, Ph.D., to return to FIU as an adjunct professor to teach ANT 4461, Hallucinogens and Culture ̶ a course Brown designed and taught from 1975 to 2014 when he retired from FIU.

Brown’s “Hallucinogens and Culture” course at FIU was the world’s first university course dedicated to exploring humanity’s interaction with synthetic psychedelic chemicals and psychoactive sacred plants used in shamanism since time immemorial.

In Spring Semester 2021, Brown will be offering an expanded updated version of this course online at FIU, with enrollment limited to 300 and open to college students worldwide. The course is divided into three sections covering Psychedelics: Past, Present and Future, as follows:

Section I. The First Religion: Psychedelics in Shamanism and World Religions

Soma in the Hindu Rigveda; Reindeer Herders of Siberia; Maria Sabina, Mazatec Shaman; Unravelling the Eleusinian Mysteries; Old Testament and Gnostic Gospels

Section II. The Psychedelic Renaissance: Breakthroughs in Clinical Research and Neuroscience

Hopkins Clinical Studies; Natural History of Magic Mushrooms; 1960s Psychedelic Movement; Psychedelic Underground; New Neuroscience of Psychedelics

III. Future of Psychedelics

Psychedelics-Assisted Psychotherapy; Creativity, Spirituality and Well-Being; Public Policy; Mind Apps and Multistate Theory; Career Opportunities

Brown, who holds a doctorate degree in anthropology from Cornell University, is coauthor of several books and articles on psychedelics and religion, including The Psychedelic Gospels: The Secret History of Hallucinogens in Christianity, Park Street Press, 2016 (www.psychedelicgospels.com); “Sacred Plants and the Gnostic Church, ”Journal of Ancient History, 2014; and “Mystical Experience and Psychedelic-Assisted Psychotherapy,” Psychedelics Today, 2020.

Brown, who received a FIU TIP award for outstanding teaching, has done numerous conference presentations, blogs and podcasts on psychedelics, religion and psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. He also serves as a fellow of the World Business Academy, a nonprofit business network and think tank.

Joshua Falcon, an FIU graduate student, who wrote his M.A. thesis on the ethical significance of psychedelics, believes there will be strong student interest in Brown’s “Hallucinogens and Culture” course. Falcon is the founder of the Psychedelic Research Group at FIU, an organization recognized by the Council for Student Organizations (CSO).

Click here for the Syllabus for ANT 4461, Hallucinogens and Culture, Global & Sociocultural Studies, SIPA, Spring 2021