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Contemplative Studies

American Academy of Religion

Welcome to the webpage of the Contemplative Studies Group (CSG) of the American Academy of Religion.

Established in 2010 and with its first meeting in 2011, the Contemplative Studies Group (CSG) aims to strengthen and develop Contemplative Studies as an academic field of inquiry, especially in the context of Religious Studies and the American Academy of Religion. Our program unit provides a forum for the investigation of contemplative practice and experience, considered inclusively and comprehensively; for critical discussions on the field itself, including theoretical and interpretive issues; as well as for the application of contemplative practice to academic life and university culture. The latter includes the possible contribution of "contemplative pedagogy" to teaching and learning. The Contemplative Studies Group thus aims to gather together currently-diffused groups as well as dislocated, marginalized and under-represented individuals in the academy. To this end, we encourage research that is topical, tradition-specific, as well as comparative and cross-cultural. We also invite scholars to investigate contemplative practice and experience in ways that traverse and transcend the boundaries of traditions, disciplines, and research methodologies.

As a pre-2012 group, a particular type of program unit, within the American Academy of Religion, the CSG has a three-year, renewable lifespan (2011-2013). We are allotted one independent panel and one co-sponsored panel at each annual AAR meeting. It is our hope to apply for and be approved as a more permanent program unit in 2013.

The leadership group of the Contemplative Studies Group consists of the following individuals (including terms).


  • Louis Komjathy (University of San Diego) (2011-2013)
  • Anne Klein (Rice University) (2011-2013)

Steering Committee

  • Thomas Coburn (Brown University) (2011-2013)
  • Fran Grace (University of Redlands) (2011-2013)
  • Harold Roth (Brown University) (2011-2013)
  • Judith Simmer-Brown (Naropa University) (2011-2013)
  • Ines Talamantez (University of California, Santa Barbara) (2012-2014)

We welcome the participation and suggestions of anyone interested in Contemplative Studies. Please direct all correspondence to Dr. Louis Komjathy.

View proposal for Contemplative Studies Group. (PDF)

Access AAR page of the Contemplative Studies Group.