This course offers a social analysis and condensed genealogy of mindfulness from its roots as a Buddhist meditation practice through its modern application as a tool to improve our awareness of the related processes of mind, behavior, and emotions. We consider how mindfulness relates to Buddhist discourses and practices, and to the rapid rise of fields like contemplative neuroscience, affective neuroscience, and integrative neurobiology. How and why has the research on mindfulness and other applied meditative practices exploded since 2000? How has this research helped us understand and explain the intersection of mind, emotion, behavior, and human development? We critically examine the models of the mind developed by clinical and evolutionary psychologists and researchers in fields such as affective neuroscience to better understand the applications of mindfulness in the US today. Specifically, we consider how mindfulness and other forms of meditation are being used to improve the training of health care providers and educators, while augmenting and deepening the quality of their engagement with patients, students, and others they serve. We examine and train in a variety of meditation practices including mindfulness and forest bathing, while unpacking the subjective experience of our minds and emotions first-hand. Students will be asked to engage in mindfulness practices the entire semester.
Format: tutorial; Offered in a hybrid format, but students are encouraged to attend in person if they can. Studies will be grouped in pairs or threesomes, that will meet in-person or remotely. Please email me ([email protected]) to indicate whether you intend to take this class in -person or remotely.
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
weekly tutorial papers and discussion
A prior class or some experience with meditation is recommended
ANTH, SOC, REL, ASST majors; PHLH, STS concentrators; seniors and juniors
Writing Skills Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This class will involve weekly tutorial essays of 1200 or 600 words, written feedback on every essay, and a mid-semester 'writing chat' with the instructor.
This class fulfills the Difference, Power, and Equity requirement because it will explore the ways that mindfulness can alleviate pervasive and population-wide health issues in the US including rising rates of anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues that are exacerbated by stress related to social inequality and structural violence. It also explores the ways that mindfulness has been marketed as an elite and non-inclusive practice within the US.
GBST South + Southeast Asia Studies Electives
PHLH Social Determinants of Health