The New School for Social Research


  • Nicolas Langlitz

    Associate Professor of Anthropology

    Director of Undergraduate Studies, Anthropology

    Office Location:

    Albert and Vera List Academic Center


    Nicolas Langlitz is an anthropologist and historian of science studying epistemic cultures of mind and life sciences, especially neuroscience, psychopharmacology, and primatology. He received doctoral degrees both in medical anthropology (Berkeley) and history of medicine (Berlin). He was trained as a physician before conducting ethnographic fieldwork in two neuropsychopharmacology laboratories in Switzerland and California on the revival of psychedelic research since the 1990s. At the intersection of the anthropology of science and religion, the book Neuropsychedelia (University of California Press, 2012) is about the struggle to find a place for the mystical under conditions of late-modern materialism. Langlitz also published a book titled Die Zeit der Psychoanalyse (Suhrkamp, 2005) on the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan’s clinical practice of variable-length sessions. He is currently working on two new projects, one on the interdisciplinary exchange between neuroscientists and philosophers over the dreaming brain and the other about the primatological controversy over chimpanzee cultures. More generally, he is interested in the role of science in different forms of life and in how experiments and fieldwork have been and could be used to approach philosophical questions. For more information, please visit


    Degrees Held:

    Ph.D. in Medical Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley (2007)

    Ph.D. in History of Medicine, Humboldt Universität / Freie Universität Berlin  (2004)

    M.D., Medicine, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin  (2004)

    M.A., Philosophy, Freie Universität Berlin (2004)

    Professional Affiliations:

    Reviews editor of BioSocieties (since 2010)

    Recent Publications:



    • Neuropsychedelia: The Revival of Hallucinogen Research since the Decade of the Brain, Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012. [Introduction]
    • Die Zeit der Psychoanalyse. Lacan und das Problem der Sitzungsdauer, Suhrkamp: Frankfurt/M., 2005. [Introduction]

    Journal Articles and Book Chapters

    Newspaper Articles



    Performances and Appearances:


    Media Appearances



    The Brain Doping Debate

    • SWR2 Impuls, "Von wegen Hirn-Doping! Vom Sinn und Unsinn der Debatte über Neuro-Enhancer," 13 January 2010.
    • Kulturzeit (3sat), "Doping für das Gehirn. Ist es legitim, geistige Leistung chemisch zu tunen?," 16 December 2009.
    • Aspekte (ZDF), “Segen oder Teufelszeug? Doping für das Gehirn,“ 27 November 2009. 
    • SWR2 Wissen, "Pillen für den Geist? Hirndoping in der Diskussion," 18 September 2008.
    • Panorama (ARD), “Schlauer, schneller, schöner – die gedopte Gesellschaft,“ 17 April 2008
    • Wissenschaft DRS2, “Der Neuro-Boom – das Gehirn liegt im Trend,“ 28 February 2009.
    • Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, “Prothesen. ‘Neuro‘ als Marke,“ 25 February 2009.



    Research Interests:

    Anthropology and history of science, neuroscience, psychopharmacology, primatology, comparative psychology, mind sciences, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, drug cultures