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Freedom Inside? Yoga and Meditation in the Carceral State

Online Program
Dates: Oct 31, 2023 - Nov 21, 2023

Instructor(s): Farah Godrej

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Course Description:

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.


An interest in and commitment to learning about and dismantling oppressive systems such as the incarceration system.

Online Schedule:
This program is hosted on Zoom and closed captions are available. You can check the time of the group sessions in your timezone here: https://www.worldtimebuddy.com. The schedule of Zoom meetings for this program (shown in US Eastern Time) is as follows:

Meeting Time: Tuesdays 4:30-6:30 pm ET

Meeting Dates: Oct 31 & Nov 7, 14, 21

Please note that sessions will be recorded and will be available within 48 hours of each session for courses and 48 hours of the final session for retreats and events. These recordings are not downloadable. Retreat recordings will be available for 2 weeks and event recordings will be available indefinitely.

Cancellation Policy:
Registration fees for online programs are nonrefundable after the program start date. Cancellations prior to the program start date will incur a $25 cancellation fee. For intensive, application-based programs, the cancellation fee is $50.

As we work to become a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive community, we invite feedback/suggestions you may have regarding ways that we can make participation in the program more accessible and welcoming. Please email us at contact@buddhistinquiry.org.
    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.