Prof. Marlene Dobkin de Rios interview – “Ayahuasca, Panacea or Epidemic?” – #027

I had emailed with Prof. de Rios a few months ago and she had informed me of her cancer and ongoing chemotherapy. Today I've been informed by Prof. John Hoopes that she has succumbed to her cancer. Originally released April 19, 2009. RIP, Marlene. Her last email to me read:

Sent: Monday, June 25, 2012 10:35 AM
To: Jan Irvin
Subject: Re: hello again from Marlene

Dear Jan: Many thanks for your good wishes and information. I'm in the midst of a fierce chemo and very week so I've slowed down on social events. I'll get inn touch when I'm feeling stronger. Good luck with your project. Best, Marlene de Rios

Today’s guest is Prof. Em. Marlene Dobkin de Rios author of (amongst many books and articles) A Hallucinogenic Tea, Laced in Controversy, Ayahuasca in the Amazon and the United States. We discuss ayahuasca tourism, neo-shamanism, and the future of entheogenic studies.

What impact do the tourists to South America in seek of ayahausca have on the cultures there? Are "drug tourists" hurting themselves and the indigenous cultures? What dangers do ayahuasca tourists place themselves in?

Dr. Marlene Dobkin de Rios is a medical anthropologist and licensed psychotherapist. She has a B.A. in Psychology from Queens College of the City Universe of New York, a M. A. in Anthropology from New York University and a Ph.D. in medical anthropology from the University of California Riverside. She is Professor Emeritus of the Anthropology department at Cal State Fullerton. Her area of specialization as a researcher has been hallucinogens and culture. She is the author of several hundred scholarly articles and book chapters, including two recent works: "A Hallucinogenic Tea Laced with Controversy" (Praeger 2008) and a forthcoming autobiography, "The Hallucinogenic Journey of Dr. Marlene Dobkin de Rios. 45 Years with Shamans, Ayahuasqueros and Ethnobotanists," Inner Traditions (to be published October 2009).

Dr. de Rios conducted fieldwork in the Peruvian Amazon and Coast and with the Uniao do Vegetal church in Brazil. She has worked with ayahuasca healers in urban Peru and intensively with one healer, don Hilde who lived in Pucallpa, Peru. Her recent work has been focused on what we can learn from shamanic healing and she has applied that knowledge to work with Latino clients in psychotherapy.

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