PhD Student Mat Keel has two peer-reviewed articles in the Fall issue of Anthropology of Consciousness, a special issue on the current state of Sacred Plant Medicine

The first paper, “Neuro-plastic Shamanism? Towards a Political Ontology of Whiteness and the Psychedelic Zeitgeist” critically examines the current explosive entry of “magic plants” into financial markets and argues that restoring the originating link between so-called psychedelia and vegetal life, a product of European colonialism, affords a unique perspective on whiteness with potentially significant impacts for decolonial thought and its praxis.

The second paper, “Yes We Cannibal Panel Discussion: Reading, Unearthing, and Eating Anthropocentrism with Cesar & Lois” was co-authored with Mat’s wife and collaborator, Liz Lessner (LSU College of Art and Design). The paper grew out of a panel discussion which took place in June 2021 as part of the programming for their experimental art gallery Yes We Cannibal at 1600 Government St. in Baton Rouge.

The panel focused on a show by internationally recognized bio-artist collaborative Cesar & Lois who work with mycelial life and artificial intelligence. It featured a bevy of decorated academic guests including LSU faculty Dr. Chris Barrett (English) and Robyn Reed (Landscape Architecture, recently departed to Los Angeles) among others. 

Mat and Liz parse the discussants’ contributions to structure an argument that our collective peak experience of COVID engendered a widespread return to the experience of an original time that has been acquired, standardized and disciplined throughout modernity as borne of the European Enlightenment; its resurgence is closely connected to rethinking the space, nature and ethics of our alliance with vegetal and fungal life, as well as the imperative to be willing to imagine new ways to be human that are based on care and on love as an ontological method.