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Engaging Cultural Difference and Human Diversity - Garrison, NY

Mind & Life Summer Research Institute

Elizabeth will join the faculty of the 2018 Mind & Life Summer Research Institute. This year's program extends the arc from the 2016 and 2017 programs that addressed themes of context, social connectivity, and intersubjectivity by engaging critical topics relevant to cultural difference and human diversity. The weeklong immersive program will examine social and psychological patterns, both implicit and explicit, to discuss how difference is constructed at personal, interpersonal, and socio-structural levels. Scientific, humanistic, and first-person contemplative perspectives will give attention to processes of othering and how we can overcome conflict by embracing difference.

Plenary faculty presentations from neuroscientists and psychologists will describe basic mechanisms of distinguishing self and other as well as cultural and developmental factors providing our sense of security and provoking our common fears. Discussions from the social sciences will explore cultural, historical, and structural factors that complexify conditions for disparity and inequity across social groups and communities, often contributing to conflict and dissonance. Philosophical presentations will discuss worldviews through which the other is interconnected to one’s self, how difference is a source of power, and the process of perspective-taking through dialogue. A training workshop and small group breakout sessions will explore practical applications for reflecting on biases and engaging difference. Through first-person practice, we will query contemplative traditions as a resource for compassion and redressing injustice.

Registration begins December 7th, 2017 and ends January 17th, 2018.