ASST 269
Mindsight: Mindfulness and Medicine Spring 2019 Division II; Writing-Intensive; Difference, Power, and Equity; Cross-listed as REL269 / ASST269 / ANTH269

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This course offers a social analysis and historical genealogy of mindfulness meditations from its roots as a Buddhist practice through its modern applications in a variety of social settings including hospitals, clinics, schools, communities, and even prisons to improve health and other social outcomes. We explore the scientific evidence including clinical research and other qualitative studies that have shown how mindfulness can alter human experience, behavior, and well-being. We begin by considering how mindfulness and meditation practices were first taught the Buddha two millennia ago in monastic and lay settings before turning to the modern studies and applications of mindfulness training. How has research on mindfulness exploded since 2000 and how does this relate to better models of the human brain and behavior? We critically examine the models developed by clinical psychiatry, neuroscience, and biomedicine, including brain imaging technologies like the fMRI, that have improved our understanding of the relationship between the brain, behavior, and emotions. We consider research on mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) within clinical medicine, the rise of the `kindness curriculum’ in schools, and other areas of applied research on mindfulness that have generated a `science of personal transformation’. Last but not least, we ask how mindfulness has been used to improve the interpersonal skills and training of doctors, teachers, and social workers to help improve social and learning outcomes as well as enhance patient/provider encounters. Students will be expected to engage in a mindfulness practice during the semester.
The Class: Type: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3861
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly papers, 4- to 8-pages
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: students majoring or concentrating in; ANTH, SOC, REL, ASST, PH, COGS, and NSCI
Distributions: Division II; Writing-Intensive; Difference, Power, and Equity;
Distribution Notes: DPE: This class fulfills the DPE requirement because it will explore the ways that stress related to poverty, social inequality, and structural violence can and have been alleviated by mindfulness-based practices. Further it critiques the continuing misperception that mindfulness practices are elite, non-inclusive practices that cannot benefit populations suffering from pervasive NCDs (non-communicable diseases) like obesity and high blood pressure that are related to broader social inequities. WI: This course is a tutorial and there will be weekly writing assignments.
Attributes: GBST South + Southeast Asia Studies Electives; PHLH Social Determinants of Health;

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