PSSI - About Anne Vallely

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About Anne Vallely

I am an Associate Professor with the Department of Classics & Religious Studies , University of Ottawa. I am an Anthropologist of South Asian Religion (with a focus on the Jain tradition ). At the broadest level, I am interested in issues germane to the study of religion, and fundamental to the human condition, including suffering, death, healing, devotion, spirituality and end of life issues. In addition, I am interested in the ethical and spiritual interactions with animals/the nonhuman world .

I am one of the founding members of the University of Ottawa’s Academy for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies which stems from an interest in body-mind awareness disciplines, Philosophy of Mind, and in the use of mindfulness practices in teaching. I am involved in the creation of two new academic units at uOttawa: “Contemplative Studies” and in “Animal Studies” , both of which will be launched in 2019.

My current research interests focus on issues around death, loss and grief within the Jain tradition in India, as well as on the spirituality of dying in comparative framework. In the context of the latter, in December 2018 I organized an international workshop entitled “Transcendence: Psychedelics & Spiritual Healing at the End of Life” that included a public lecture by Dr Anthony Bossis (NYU Medical School) and a two day worksop with leading researchers of psychedelic therapies, exploring the significance of plant medicines for end of life care.

I am presently initiating a qualitative study to explore psychedelic / entheogenic facilitated mystical-type experiences and discern their similarities to (and differences from) naturally occurring mystical states.

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