Contemplating the Effects of Oppression: Integrating Mindfulness into Diversity Classrooms

Beth Berila


This article argues that contemplative practices are particularly important additions to university courses that deal with issues of oppression and diversity. Mindfulness can help students learn how their identity locations shape their reactions to course content; as such, they help participants do the work of unlearning the effects of systems of oppression. Students can then learn to recognize, understand, and be accountable for their responses. The article also argues that faculty who integrate contemplative practices in the classroom (in any discipline) need to be prepared for a myriad of responses from students, including reactions that result from being a member of marginalized groups in society. Contemplative practices can unintentionally trigger disturbing responses for students, so the article concludes with useful principles rooted in feminist pedagogy to help faculty address those unexpected reactions.


feminist pedagogy; mindful education; diversity; self-reflection; yoga; diversity education; embodied learning; oppression; anti-oppression education; oppression-based trauma; mindfulness practices

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