2017
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

Over the past few decades, neoliberalism has permeated America. At the same time, America has seen a rise in secular spirituality and forms of spirituality imported from the east. Mindfulness, which bridges western science and eastern mysticism, has become the ethos of working class and lower-income individuals, prominent Wall Street bankers, serial entrepreneurs like Oprah, and politicians inside the Beltway. It has been institutionalized in prisons, public schools, police departments, and corporations such as Nike, eBay, Target, and Ford Motor Company. Taking Karl Marx's observation that religion is both the "opium of the masses" and the "sigh of the oppressed creature," this panel will focus on the myriad ways that mindfulness is a conduit of the neoliberal agenda, as well as the many ways that it reflects the lived realities of systemic oppression. More importantly, this panel will focus on the utopian potential of mindfulness and how it has been used by workers, occupiers, and radical intellectuals — from bell hooks to Angela Davis — to cultivate attitudes that are antithetical to the capitalist mode of production.