This program will explore the promises, pitfalls, and complexities entailed in offering yogic or meditative practices inside prisons, and to system-impacted communities and individuals. It seeks to take the simple assumption that yoga and meditation are always beneficial, and complicate it to demonstrate that these practices are neither innocuous nor apolitical: they have definite political impacts, depending on how they are taught. Through program readings and seminar-style collective discussion, we will explore the ways in which these teachings may (inadvertently) end up reinforcing or colluding with unjust regimes, and possibilities for offering these teachings in an emancipatory or liberatory way, as tools for resisting injustice and oppression. The key text for the program is the instructor's new book, Freedom Inside? Yoga and Meditation in the Carceral State (Oxford University Press, 2022), a runner-up for the American Association of Publishers PROSE award for scholarly excellence.
Freedom Inside? Yoga and Meditation in the Carceral State
Dates: Oct 31, 2023 - Nov 21, 2023
Instructor(s): Farah Godrej
An interest in and commitment to learning about and dismantling oppressive systems such as the incarceration system.
Meeting Time: Tuesdays 4:30-6:30 pm ET
Meeting Dates: Oct 31 & Nov 7, 14, 21
About the Instructor(s):
Farah Godrej is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Riverside. Her areas of research and teaching include Indian political thought, Gandhi’s political thought, cosmopolitanism, globalization, and comparative political theory. She also studies contemporary issues such as environmental justice, food politics, and mass incarceration, with an emphasis on the intersection of scholarship and activism. Her research appears in leading academic journals such as American Political Science Review, Political Theory, and Political Research Quarterly, among many others. She is the author of Cosmopolitan Political Thought: Method, Practice, Discipline (Oxford University Press, 2011) and her latest book, Freedom Inside? Yoga and Meditation in the Carceral State (Oxford University Press, 2022) was named a runner-up for the Association of American Publishers PROSE award for scholarly excellence.