Contemplative Studies Initiative and Concentration



At Brown there are a number of professors who teach from a contemplative perspective or whose research includes a significant contemplative element; it is from this group that we would form the core faculty for the concentration. Some of them teach courses in which contemplative experience is studied primarily from a third-person approach; others primarily from a critical first-person approach; others blend both approaches. But all share a common vision that human contemplative experience is a valid and important subject for research and teaching.

  • Michelle Bach-Coulibaly

    Theatre Arts and Performance Studies

    Michelle is a performance artist and educator who, since coming to Brown in 1987, has created over 40 original pieces of contemporary movement theatre for the concert stage that investigate socio-political canvases, cross-cultural narratives, and embodied texts. At Brown University she directs New Works/World Traditions, a research-to-performance troupe of actors, musicians, dancers and imagists who develop new theatre for national and international festivals, educational venues, and for the concert stage.

  • Judson Brewer

    Contemplative Studies, School of Public Health - Mindfulness Center at Brown, Psychiatry – Warren Alpert Medical School

    Judson is an internationally known thought leader in the field of habit change and the “science of self-mastery,” having combined over 25 years of experience with mindfulness training with his scientific research therein. He is the Director of Research and Innovation at Brown University’s Mindfulness Center and professor in Behavioral and Social Sciences in the School of Public Health. Dr. Brewer has developed novel mindfulness programs for behavior change, including both in-person and app-based treatments for smoking, emotional eating, and anxiety. His current research interests include the intersection between mindfulness, emotion regulation and behavior change. implementation of digital therapeutics in real-world settings. 

  • Willoughby Britton

    Psychiatry - Alpert Medical School, Mindfulness Center at Brown

    Willoughby is the Director of Brown’s Clinical and Affective Neuroscience Laboratory which investigates the psychophysiological (EEG, EMG, EKG) and neurocognitive effects of meditation and mindfulness-based interventions for mood and anxiety disorders. Her research investigates mechanisms of action, moderators of treatment outcome, practice-specific effects, and adverse effects of meditation.

  • Larson DiFiori

    Associate DUS Contemplative Studies, Religious Studies

    Larson received a Masters in Chinese Studies from the University of Oxford and a Doctorate in Religious Studies from Brown University. His current research focuses on the early intertextual uses of the Laozi, and what they tell us about the role the Laozi played in its surrounding intellectual and cultural environment. At Brown he has taught courses on Chinese Philosophy, the theory and history of Qigong and Taijiquan, and the Contemplative Foundations of Classical Daoism.

  • Ellen Flynn

    Psychiatry - Alpert Medical School, Women’s Health Collaborative, Mindfulness Center at Brown

    Ellen is a psychiatrist at the Women’s Medicine Collaborative, and a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University. She received her medical degree from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Massachusetts and completed residency training there as well. She completed a Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry Fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She also received a Master of Theological Studies degree from Harvard Divinity School. Dr. Flynn is board certified in Psychiatry and Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry. Her clinical interests include perinatal psychiatry, consultation-liaison psychiatry, and mindfulness-based interventions in health care.

  • Finnian M. M. Gerety

    Religious Studies, Contemplative Studies, Saxena Center for Contemporary South Asia

    Finnian works on texts, rituals, and the senses in South Asian religions, with a focus on Hindu traditions of India. He is especially interested in Sanskrit mantras: how they are performed, textualized, and passed on; how they are embodied and sensed; how they are reflected upon and interpreted; how they are transformed in the digital age; and how they influence identity, community, and heritage within religious traditions.

  • Christopher Hill


    Christopher is the Faunce Professor of Philosophy. He has been at Brown since 2002, and has also taught at The University of Pittsburgh, Case Western Reserve University, the University of Arkansas, the University of Michigan, and MIT. He mainly teaches courses in philosophy of mind but occasionally strays into other areas, including epistemology, logic, philosophy of cognitive science, and philosophy of language. His most recent book is Perceptual Experience (Oxford University Press, 2022).

  • Stephanie R. Jones


    Neuroscience integrates human brain imaging and computational neuroscience methods to study brain dynamics in health and disease. She works closely with animal neurophysiologist and clinicians to develop data constrained neural models that are functionally and translationally relevant. A main theme of her lab's research is to develop biophysically principled models of neural circuits that bridge the critical gap between human brain imaging signals (MEG/EEG) and their underlying cellular and network level generators. Current projects apply such interdisciplinary techniques to study the mechanisms and functions of neural dynamics, including brain rhythms, in healthy functions such as perception, attention and decision making, and in neural pathologies such as Parkinson's disease and Essential Tremor. They also study the impact of brain stimulation (DBS, tACS, TMS), and mind-body practices, on brain dynamics with an ultimate goal of improving treatments for neuropatholgy.

  • Michael Kennedy

    Sociology, International and Public Affairs

    Michael concentrates in global and international affairs, with a particular attention to Central and Eastern Europe, alongside a knowledge of cultural sociology focused on how kinds of questions, styles of reasoning and forms of evidence structure our claims to superior understandings. In that light, he has engaged in the last several years contemplative studies along three particular lines of inquiry: a) how power relations inflect contemplative practices along the lines of class, race and gender, but as well through expressions of nationalism, professionalism, and commodification; b) how traditions of contemplative expression associated with various martial arts, tai chi, and yoga address violence; and c) how solidarity, love, and inter-being come to be embraced and expressed in public cultures associated with contemplative practices.

  • Sara Lazar

    Contemplative Studies, Harvard-Mass General

    Sara Lazar is an Associate Professor in the Psychiatry Department at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. The focus of her research is to elucidate the neural mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of yoga and meditation, both in clinical settings and in healthy individuals. She has been practicing yoga and mindfulness meditation since 1994. Her research has been covered by numerous news outlets including The New York Times, USA Today, CNN, and WebMD.

  • Jared Lindahl

    Contemplative Studies, Religious Studies

    Jared is Director of the Varieties of Contemplative Experience research project, the largest study to date on the topic of meditation-related challenges. His research and teaching investigate contemplative practices in a range of contexts—from Greece, India, and Tibet to Buddhist modernism and the mindfulness movement in the United States. Through collaboration across disciplines, his publications often integrate historical and textual studies of contemplative traditions with phenomenological and neurobiological approaches in order to consider the relationship between contemplative practices, resultant experiences, and culturally situated appraisals of meaning and value.

  • Eric Loucks

    School of Public Health, Mindfulness Center at Brown

    Eric is a professor in the study of mindfulness and health. As director of the Mindfulness Center at Brown University, Loucks teaches mindfulness-based programs and leads high-quality, methodologically rigorous research to investigate the science behind mindfulness and its impact on health and well-being. An expert in aging-related research, he optimizes mindfulness programs to specific age groups. He is the lead developer of Mindfulness-Based College (MBC) and Mindfulness-Based Blood Pressure Reduction (MB-BP), and has received numerous research grants from the National Institutes of Health to evaluate the effectiveness of mindfulness-based interventions, including MBC, MB-BP, and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). Dr. Loucks’ book entitled The Mindful College Student (New Harbinger Publications) was released in April 2022.

  • Christopher Moore

    Neuroscience, Carney Institute for Brain Science

    Christopher studies neocortical dynamics, changes in activity that occur on millisecond to second time scales. His lab seeks to understand the meaning of these dynamics for perception, and the mechanisms that generate them. They are currently testing hypotheses as to the computational value and origins of neocortical oscillations, and the role that non-neuronal systems (e.g., the vasculature) may play in information processing. To address these questions, they integrate behavior, optogenetics, electrophysiology and imaging.

  • Jeffrey Proulx

    Psychiatry - Alpert Medical School, Mindfulness Center at Brown, Contemplative Studies, Native American and Indigenous

    Jeffrey is a developmental health psychologist who integrates diverse cultural healing practices with mainstream mindfulness and contemplative practices, aiming to create stress reduction programs that are culturally pertinent to underserved communities. His research bridges Native American and African-American traditional contemplative and healing practices and mainstream mindfulness practices and how mindfulness affects resilience and well-being across a person's developmental trajectory. He teaches courses at Brown in measurements of mindfulness and mindfulness epidemiology.

  • Srinivas Reddy

    Contemplative Studies, Religious Studies, Saxena Center for Contemporary South Asia

    Srinivas is a scholar, translator, and musician. He studied classical South Asian languages at Brown University and went on to receive his PhD in South and Southeast Asian Studies at UC Berkeley where he studied Sanskrit, Tamil, and Telugu literary traditions. He has published several articles and four books: Giver of the Worn Garland (2010), The Dancer and the King (2014), The Cloud Message (2017), and RAYA (2020). He is currently working on an Anthology of Classical Indian Literature for Bloomsbury Publishing. Srinivas is also a professional concert sitarist and has given numerous recitals in the US, India, and Europe. He trained in the traditional guru-shishya parampara with his guru Pandit Partha Chatterjee, a direct disciple of the late sitar maestro Pandit Nikhil Banerjee. Srinivas is Guest Professor of South and Southeast Asian Studies at IIT Gandhinagar and Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and Contemplative Studies at Brown University. He lives in Rhode Island and spends his time performing, teaching, and conducting research around the world.

  • Harold Roth

    Religious Studies, East Asian Studies, Director of Contemplative Studies

    Harold is founding director of the contemplative studies initiative at Brown University. He is a specialist in Chinese philosophy and textual analysis, the classical Daoist tradition, the comparative study of contemplative experiences, and a pioneer of the academic field of contemplative studies, in which he created the first Bachelor’s degree program at a major research university in North America. He has published seven books and more than 50 scholarly articles in these areas including Original Tao (Columbia, 1999), a translation and analysis of the oldest text on breath meditation in China, and “Against Cognitive Imperialism” (Religion East and West, 2008), a critique of conceptual bias in Cognitive Sciences and Religious Studies and, most recently, The Contemplative Foundations of Classical Daoism (SUNY, 2021). A long-time practitioner of Rinzai Zen meditation, Roth is also the editor of About Tathāgatha Zen (2014) and Manifesting Zen: Master Dharma Talks from Mt. Baldy (2022), the only authorized books by the late Kyōzan Jōshū Rōshi (Sasaki; 1907-2014).

Supporting Faculty

  • Carol DeBoer-Langworthy

    English (Nonfiction Writing)
  • Lynn Koerbel

    Mindfulness Center at Brown
  • Jin Li

  • John Bradley Marston

  • Rose McDermott

    Political Science

Current Concentrators

  • Carlos Delgado, 2025
  • DeAndre Jordan, 2025
  • Mason Scurry, 2025
  • Tej Tummala, 2025
  • Autumn Wong, 2025
  • Gabriel Toth, 2024.5
  • Giordana Fiorentino, 2024
  • Claire Hightower, 2024
  • Gnaneswari Karayi, 2024
  • Elisa Kim, 2024
  • James Leet, 2024
  • Maggie Preller, 2024
  • Peter Sage, 2024
  • Archer Zureich, 2024
  • Edward Shea, 2023.5
  • Kaitlyn Hall, 2023.5