Inaugural Conference december 15-17 2011 Multidisciplinary Approaches to Plants and Religion The Working Group on Plants and Religion has been established to ll a gap in the current academic discourse, a systematic and holistic study of the ways in which Cultures uses plants for sacred purposes. Our Cohort seeks to establish an academic framework in order to facilitate cooperative scholarship and research in the area of plants and religion. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives, The Working Group on Plants and Religion will present a holistic and progressive schema for innovative research. UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA The Working Group on Plants and Religion December 15!17 2011 www.plants! and religion.org support@plants! and religion.org Featured Sessions Healing Plants This session covers shamanism and the ritual uses of plants and healing, focusing on indigenous religious systems of the Amazon. Plants discussed will include Parika ( Virola spp ), Ayahuasca ( Banisteriopsis Caapi ), Chacruna ( Psychotria Viridis ), Tobacco ( Nicotiana spp ), and others. Traditions ranging from Amazonian healing systems to Traditional Chinese and Indian (Asian) Medicine will be considered. Movement & Destinations: Trajectories of Plants and Religion This session will look at the ritual uses of plants and movement, especially in terms of pilgrimage, tourism, and the cultural migration, appropriation, and transformation of symbols. Ayahuasca tourism, the Huichol Peyote Hunt, and New Age uses of these plants will feature prominently in this session. Plants, Cosmology, and Art This sessions begins with a discussion of Biophilia as a vehicle to understanding the long-term relationship of Humans and Flora. Plants will be discussed in terms of their cosmological positions as "world trees," forms of axis mundi, and sources of food and knowledge. In addition, This session will look at petroglyphs and other forms of shamanic art as they have been informed by the ritual use of plants. The Religious Nature of Plants:Plants in Agriculture, Medicine and Astrology This session will address the religious nature of plants in Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. Further, it will also include presentations on Religion and Agriculture in India and Plants as a link to explore the interactions of Systems of Knowledge (religion, medicine and astrology) in India. Environmentalism and Ethnobotany This session will attempt to bridge the gap between indigenous and mainstream discourses on plants espe cially in terms of ethnobotany and the discourse of plants in Environmentalism, Religion and Nature is a particularly rich and diverse topic, and the intersection of the religious use of plants with this discourse is central. Political and Legal Intersections of Plants and Religion This session will look at questions of legality, policy and procedure surrounding the ritual use of plants. Cannabis, ayahuasca, peyote, coca, and many other plants face strict prohibitionist legislative agendas and rhetorical strategies, much of which is placed unquestioningly in terms of addiction and harm prevention. This session will aim to treat the subject beyond these common patterns of discourse.