2018 Summer Session: Frequently Asked Questions

14th Annual Summer Session on
Contemplative Learning in Higher Education

Sunday, August 5 – Friday, August 10, 2018
Smith College
Northampton, MA


Frequently Asked Questions

We will add to this list as the event approaches.

When is the application deadline? Our original application deadline was March 16th, but additional spaces have become available and we are able to accept additional participants: apply here.

Is financial aid available? Not at this time; all of our available financial aid for this event has been awarded. We are currently raising funds to build our access grant fund.

What should I wear? Whatever will be comfortable for you to move around in. Casual clothes are fine. Breakout sessions and plenary sessions will be inside of the Campus Center, which is air-conditioned. Dorms are also air-conditioned, but depending on your preferences you may want to bring layers. There will be two receptions, so if you like to dress up, feel free!

What should I bring? For the workshops and sessions, bring whatever you need to work comfortably: your writing utensils, notebooks, laptops, tablets, etc. If you plan to participate in yoga, you should bring your own mat; we will have some available, but not enough for everyone. The weather is unpredictable, so bringing a water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the week is suggested. Coffee and tea is widely offered, so you could also bring a travel mug or thermos. You will be using a shared dorm-style bathroom, so flip flops, a robe, and a shower caddy may come in handy as you move between your room and the bathroom.

Are the beds comfortable? There are mixed reviews on this–they are standard dorm rooms, and on the modest side. If you have back issues, or need extra cushioning, bring egg crates or other additional support. If you are a light sleeper, bring ear plugs or other sleeping aids you are comfortable using. There will be a limited amount of fans and extra blankets available.

Is there a reading list? Yes; here is a list of recommended items for your reading and viewing, from the 2018 Summer Session leaders. Note that this is not required material; the session leaders will not assume that you are familiar with everything listed here.


Alberto López Pulido:

Sentipensante Pedagogy by Laura Rendón

Canícula by Norma Elia Cantú

Engraving Emotions: Memory and Identity in the Quest for Emotive Scholarship (PDF) by Alberto López Pulido

The Living Color of Students’ Lives: Bringing Cajitas into the Classroom (PDF) by Alberto López Pulido


Vaishali Mamgain:

Video: https://youtu.be/Ed44p94_B0k

Hanson, Rick. Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. Harmony Books.


Kerr Mesner:

Here are a few recommendations–they are all interrelated.
Leggo, C.  S. Walsh, and B. Bickel, eds. Arts-based and Contemplative Practices in Research and Teaching.  Routledge.
This book offers a wonderful array of approaches to contemplative approaches to arts based learning, research, and teaching.

I have a chapter in that book that might be of interest:
Mesner, K. (2014). Wrestling with the angels of ambiguity: Queer paths in contemplative activism. pp. 90-110. In Leggo, C.  S. Walsh, and B. Bickel, eds. Arts-based and Contemplative Practices in Research and Teaching.  Routledge.

As well as this co-written chapter:
Mesner, K., B. Bickel, and S. Walsh. (2014). Lectio Divina. pp. 20-22. In Leggo, C.  S. Walsh, and B. Bickel, eds. Arts-based and Contemplative Practices in Research and Teaching.  Routledge.

And to accompany both of the above, this website offers performative excerpts by each author in the book, that really brings their work to life:


Monika Son:

For White People Who Teach in the Hood and the Rest of Y’all Too (Introduction and Chapter 1), Christopher Emdin (PDF)

We Are Woke: A Collaborative Critical Autoethnography of Three “Womxn” of Color Graduate Students in Higher Education. ASHLEE, Aeriel A; ZAMORA, Bianca; KARIKARI, Shamika N. International Journal of Multicultural Education, [S.l.], v. 19, n. 1, p. 89-104, feb. 2017. ISSN 1934-5267. Available at: <http://www.ijme-journal.org/index.php/ijme/article/view/1259/1172> (also have PDF version downloaded).

Privilege and Diversity in the Academy (book section), Frances Maher and Mary Kay Thompson Tetrault (PDF)

Rewriting Race and Gender High School Lessons: Second Generation Dominicans in New York City, Nancy Lopez, Teachers College Record, 2002 (PDF)

White Privilege, Peggy McIntosh (PDF)

Glossary for Diversity and Inclusion (PDF) Compiled from existing resources provided by the National Conference for Community and Justice, Oregon State University, Arizona State University – Intergroup Relations Center, and The National Center for Transgender Equality.

Highly Recommended Books:

Radical Dharma – Rev. angel Kyodo williams

Emergent Strategy – adrienne maree brown

Pedagogy of the Oppressed – Paolo Freire

A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn


Kamilah Majied:

Alice Walker and Pema Chodron in Conversation on the meaning of suffering and the mystery of joy.  I am sending two possible versions, the first of which is a free article with highlights from their talk which was published in Lion’s Roar magazine, and below that is the link for the actual audiobook (which you have to buy) where you can hear them speaking in their own voices.

https://www.lionsroar.com/good-medicine-for-this-world/ (free version)

https://www.soundstrue.com/store/pema-ch-dr-n-and-alice-walker-in-conversation-3437.html (for purchase)

A short article on Adultism which certainly plays out in school contexts as it shapes identity.
“Understanding Adultism,” National Youth Rights Association, https://www.youthrights.org/blog/understanding-adultism/