Open Space Café: Socio-psychedelic Imaginaries

On December 14 we will host our third Open Space Café together with Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg.



After decades of criminalization and research standstill, psychedelic substances such as psilocybin (the psychoactive ingredient in “magic mushrooms”) or LSD are experiencing their comeback in science and Western culture more broadly. While psychedelic plants and fungi have a long history of socially-beneficial use in Indigenous cultures, the Western prohibitionist reality instantiated in the early 1970s has stigmatized psychedelics as a threat to society. Yet studies are increasingly demonstrating their potential to treat widespread mental health conditions such as PTSD, depression, or anxiety in combination with psychotherapy. Psychedelics are hence both rediscovered and remade into innovative technologies. The United States is currently at the forefront of this scientific development, with major universities establishing centers to research these compounds, and of producing alternative, more-than-scientific visions of how to build legal psychedelic worlds.


December 14, 2021 | 18:00


Dr. Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg

Claudia Schwarz-Plaschg, born in Graz, is currently living and working in Vienna. Her academic background is in media and communication science (Mag.), English and American studies, sociology (Dr.), and science, technology, and society studies, all of which she studied at the University of Vienna. She has also received training in the social sciences more broadly, in activism, existential psychotherapy, spiritual counseling, and collective trauma healing. In addition to her experience as a researcher, she has worked as a science communicator for several years. She has been a visiting scholar at Harvard, MIT, Arizona State University, the Technical University Munich, and the Latin American Social Sciences Faculty in Quito, Ecuador. Claudia recently finished an EU-funded Marie-Skłodowska-Curie project in which she explored attempts towards medicalizing and decriminalizing psychedelic substances in the United States. Her research interests revolve around the sociopolitical dynamics of (re-)emerging scientific fields, the governance and regulation of new technologies, the roles of drugs/medicines in societies, professional ethics, democratization, social movements, feminism, the entanglement of science and spirituality, and alternative subjectivities.

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