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Dobkin de Rios, Marlene



  • Existence: April 12, 1939 - November 2012

Biographical Information

Marlene Dobkin de Rios (1939-2012) was a cultural anthropologist, medical anthropologist, and psychotherapist.

She was a professor of anthropology at California State University, Fullerton, teaching cultural anthropology, from 1969 until her retirement in 2000. In 1989, after earning an MA in clinical psychology, she was an associate clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the University of California, Irvine, where she taught transcultural psychiatry. There, she also worked with burn patients and victims of childhood sexual abuse in a clinical capacity. These clients were primarily immigrants from Latin America, and she employed techniques learned from indigenous healers in her work with them.

An expert in ayahuasca, traditional healing, and new religions, Dobkin de Rios conducted fieldwork in the Peruvian and Brazilian Amazon for nearly three decades. She was one of the first anthropologists to report on the use of the ayahuasca and the San Pedro cactus in South America. She was president of the Southwestern Anthropological Association in the early 1980s and on the executive board of the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness. She also served on the editorial boards of numerous journals, including the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Anthropology of Consciousness and the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs. Marlene Dobkin de Rios was born on April 12, 1939 in New York to Bernard and Anne Dobkin. She received her BA in experimental psychology from Queens College in 1959, her MA in Anthropology from New York University in 1963, and her PhD from the University of California, Riverside in 1972. In the 1980s she also earned an MA in Clincial Psychology from University of California, Irvine.

She is the author of eight books and nearly two hundred professional articles. Among her most recent publications are Brief Psychotherapy with the Latino Immigrant Client (2000), LSD Spirituality and the Creative Process with Oscar Janiger (2003), A Hallucinogenic Tea, Laced with Controversy (2008), and The Psychedelic Journey of Marlene Dobkin de Rios: 45 Years with Shamans, Ayahuasqueros and Ethnobotanists (2011). She passed away in November of 2012.


Source: Baker, John. "In Memoriam: Marlene Dobkin de Rios," Anthropology News, Volume 4, Number 3, March 2010.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Ralph Metzner collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSP 56
Scope and Contents The Ralph Metzner collection of articles documents the progression of psychoactive substance research, legality issues, and the religious or spiritual aspects of its use. These articles were not solely written by Ralph Metzner, but they instead represent the type of work that influenced Metzner during his career. These article files do not contain the personal papers of Ralph Metzner. Instead, they provide insight into the diverse sources that Metzner sampled while conducting his research....
Dates: 1958 - 2008; Majority of material found within 1960 - 1990