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Psychotropic Drugs: The Future

Seminar Center for Global Humanities Lecture/Seminar Series

David Lenson

Professor of Comparative Literature. UMass Amherst

In the years since the publication of On Drugs, there has been a renaissance of studies on the subject in both the humanities and social sciences. This has coincided with the ongoing collapse of the marijuana prohibition, and increasing competition between pharmaceutical companies and underground manufacturers in the market for street drugs. If indeed psychotropic drugs are already technologies, there is speculation that the future of intoxication may involve not only a succession of newly minted “designer drugs,” but also fusions of nanotechnology, digital electronics, and neurotransmitters. To what brave new world are we headed?


David R. Lenson, author of On Drugs, is Professor of Comparative Literature at UMass Amherst, and a former editor of the Massachusetts Review. He was also co-host and producer of MR(Squared), the magazine’s radio program. By night a professional musician, he has played saxophone with Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, John Lee Hooker, and many other bands. He recently appeared in the 2009 PBS documentary The Botany of Desire, a tribute to the work of Michael Pollan.

Assigned Reading

David Lenson, On Drugs (University of Minnesota Press, 1999)


A reception will be held at 5pm at the UNE Art Gallery


Center for Global Humanities


(207) 221-4335

6:00 PM
WCHP Lecture Hall

Portland Campus

Free and open to the public