Kai River Blevins

Kai River Blevins
2114 G St NW (Basement)
[email protected]


Program: PhD Anthropology

Year of Entry: Fall 2020

Advisors: Alex Dent, Joel Kuipers, Joel Reynolds (Georgetown, Philosophy), and Libby Anker (GW, American Studies)

Current Research

In March 2021, Initiative 81 became law in Washington, D.C., classifying certain psychedelics as the lowest law enforcement priority for the Metropolitan Police Department and leading many recreational cannabis dispensaries to add psychedelics to their product menus. In light of this situation, my research aims to understand the structural conditions and the social and linguistic practices that make possible and shape the circulation of psychedelics in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area despite their continued and differential criminalization across various scales and spaces of legal jurisdiction.

Focusing on the process of circulation, I ask how various modes of engagement with psychedelics are ideologically mediated, and what are the effects on intersubjectivity? My work engages with scholars across various disciplines–especially anthropology, American Studies, and philosophy–and contributes to ongoing conversations in critical phenomenology, linguistic anthropology, political and legal anthropology, cultural studies, and psychedelic studies.


Research Experience:

Researcher, GWU Anthropology Department, "Consciousness Politics: Exploring Federal Efforts to Change the Legal Status of Psychedelics," Summer 2022

Researcher, GWU Anthropology Department, "What Now? Experimenting with Psychedelics/Decriminalization," Summer 2021

Graduate Research Assistant, GWU Anthropology Department, "Funerary Practices, Pandemic Confinement, and the Implications for COVID-19 Transmissions," Summer 2020

Legal & Policy Research Associate, OutServe-SLDN Legal Department, Various legal cases and policy projects, 2017-2018

Legal Researcher, Willamette University Child and Family Advocacy Law Clinic with ACLU of Oregon, Funk v. North Bend School District, 2017


Master of Legal Studies, Willamette University College of Law, 2018

B.A. (Sociology and Political Science), University of Colorado-Denver, 2016

Professional Certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace, University of South Florida Muma College of Business, 2021

Professional Certificate in Trauma-Informed Systems & Care, University at Buffalo School of Social Work, 2020


Blevins, Kai River. [in preparation]. "Psychedelics, Embodiment, and Intersubjectivity." Journal of Psychedelic Studies, (Special Issue) The Future of Psychedelic Studies: Perspectives from Psychedemia.

Chavez, Margeaux Alana, Kai River Blevins, Christopher Brown, Angela J. Giles, Monica M. Matthieu, Marete Wester, Jacquelyn Heuer, Bridget Hahm, Jason Lind, Christine Melillo, Christina Dillahunt-Aspillaga, Lisa Ottomanelli Slone, Karen Besterman-Dahan. 2022. "The Future of Veteran Community Engagement: Perspectives on Engaging Veterans and Other Stakeholders in Research Agenda Setting." Journal of Veterans Studies, 8(2):21–35.

Blevins, Kai River and Andy Blevins. 2021. “Advocating for Minority Veterans in the United States: Principles for Equitable Public Policy.” Journal of Military, Veteran and Family Health 7(s1):136-142.

Blevins, Kai River. 2018. “I’m on the Wrong Track Baby, I Was Made This Way: How Cisnormativity and Gender Essentialism Discipline the Transition Processes of Transgender Individuals.” Social Justice and Equity Law Journal 1(1):148–181.


The President's Volunteer Service Lifetime Achievement Award, Office of the President of the United States and Americorps, July 2021