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• Contemplative Studies contributions to Wellness and Well-being in Human Flourishing, including how digital technology could support, rather than detract from, human flourishing, including mental health. Contact person, Michael Sheehy, ms4qm@virginia.edu

• Epistemologies of Sensory Experiences in Contemplative Practice, especially ways visual and/or auditory experiences have enhanced contemplative experiences, and how. Contact person, Judith Simmer-Brown, jsb@naropa.edu.

• Contemplative Practice Response to Global Crisis (like the pandemic)—the creative benefits of isolation, duress, challenge, including historical examples. Contact people, Loriliai Biernacki, Loriliai.Biernacki@colorado.edu and Paula Arai, healingzen@gmail.com


Mission Statement:

This program unit aims to strengthen and develop contemplative studies as an academic field of inquiry, especially in the context of religious studies and the AAR. Our Unit provides a forum for:


• The investigation of contemplative practice and experience, considered inclusively and comprehensively
• Critical discussions on the field itself, including theoretical and interpretive issues
• The application of contemplative practice to academic life and university culture, including the possible contribution of “contemplative pedagogy” to teaching and learning’


The Unit thus aims to gather together currently diffused groups as well as dislocated, marginalized, and underrepresented individuals in the academy. To this end, we encourage research that is topical, tradition-specific, comparative, and cross-cultural. We also invite scholars to investigate contemplative practice and experience in ways that traverse and transcend the boundaries of traditions, disciplines, and research methodologies.

Method of Submission:




Harold D. Roth, harold_roth@brown.edu

Judith Simmer-Brown, jsimmerbrown@gmail.com


Steering Committee:

Paula K. R. Arai, healingzen@gmail.com

Loriliai Biernacki, loriliai.biernacki@colorado.edu

Niki Clements, niki.clements@rice.edu

Anne C. Klein, ack@rice.edu

Michael Sheehy, ms4qm@virginia.edu

Jacob Sherman, jacobsherman@mac.com


Session Allotment: Tier 2 – Two 2-hour sessions

Next Review: 2021