The Contemplative Studies Initiative is a group of Brown faculty with diverse academic specializations who are united around a common interest in studying the underlying philosophy, psychology, and phenomenology of contemplative experience, across time, cultures and traditions. Following the establishment of our Concentration, the Initiative continues to work to coordinate research and teaching across the diverse fields of Contemplaive Studies at Brown, including Arts and Sciences, Medicine and Public Health.
As of May 2014, Contemplative Studies is an official concentration at Brown! The concentration investigates the underlying philosophical, psychological, and scientific bases of human contemplative experience. Students pursue a "third-person" academic approach drawn from the humanities and sciences to analyze the cultural, historical, and scientific underpinnings of contemplative experiences in religion, art, music, and literature. This is developed in combination with a "critical first-person" approach based in practical experience of contemplative techniques and methods to provide an integrated understanding of the role of contemplative thought and experience in societies and on the individuals who constitute them. We also support independent and dual concentrations in the Contemplative Creative Arts.
The Contemplative Studies Initiative also pursues an active program of contemplative scientific research through the Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Lab, the Translational Neuroscience Lab, and the Laboratory for Clinical and Perceptual Learning. Student lab members present their research in a bi-annual research symposium, and publish scientific articles of their work.
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Please check out our new video showcasing the initiative below.