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Piera Talin

Piera Talin is realizing her PhD in anthropology via a Joint PhD Program between the EHESS (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales) and the Amsterdam Institute for Social Sciences Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam. She is a full-time member of the Healing Encounters project.

In the subproject Healing in the City she studies reformulations of ayahuasca ritual practices in urban contexts in Brazil and Europe. She looks at the role ayahuasca practices come to play in addressing urban mental health and the transformations of pharmacological management of mental and existential health, which involve psychedelics and psycho-pharmaceuticals. Her research traces the circulations of neotraditional ayahuasca uses between the forest and the city, translations of knowledges concerning mental health and practices of care for ayahuasca between indigenous, biomedical and ritual ontologies, and emergent hybrid forms between art, healing and ritual practices.

She trained in Italy with a Master Degree in Cultural Anthropology, Ethnology and Ethnolinguistic at Cà Foscari University in Venice in collaboration with the Federal University of Santa Catarina, Florianópolis, Brazil, with dissertation on ayahuasca religious communities and Bachelor degree in Theories and Practices of Anthropology at La Sapienza University of Rome with dissertation on ethno-psychiatry.

As part of the team of ERC Advanced Grant Program "Chemical Youth: What chemicals do for youths in their everyday lives" (University of Amsterdam), Piera realized ethnographies in the Amazon and Italy, which lead to the publication of the article Ayahuasca’s entwined efficacy: An ethnographic study of ritual healing from ‘addiction’ (with E. Sanabria).

Piera’s research focuses on anthropology of health, care and the body, with particular interest for mental health and ritual healing, especially involving plants and non-humans. She is interested in history of medicine, cultural psychiatry and ethno-psychiatry and more recently Piera has started to look into the weavings between art, ritual healing, medicine and drugs. Piera is a trained counsellor and has worked principally with children, young adults and families dealing with end-stage cancer.

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