Here are some of my explorations of Dharma, history, theology, performance, and social justice discourse. Scroll down for academic work, including dissertation abstract and unpublished essays.
Working between Religious, Cultural, and Performance Studies methodologies, I research states of consciousness, contemplative practice, and the social justice turn in Western contemplative and artistic communities through a Buddhist phenomenological lens. My field work is with two primary cohorts: Theravāda Buddhist meditators and dance-based performance artists.
Combining work with meditators and dancers reveals similarities and differences in both View and praxis. The arts at their best teach us how to feel, and how to stay open to mystery, dissonance, and not-knowing. Meditation at its best does the same, but with different methods and aims. Live art is a culture’s visible growing edge, while dedicated contemplatives, often in seclusion, push that edge perhaps further, before returning to share their insights.
Current writing is focusing on issues of privilege, trauma, and systemic oppression in relation to Buddhist doctrines of renunciation, karma, and Dependent Origination.
Dissertation & Published Work
PhD Dissertation (2016): “This Very Body is the Bodhi Tree: The Performance of Contemplative States in the Western Jhāna Revival & Contemporary Movement Theater” (abstract)
“Commit, Amplify, Inquire: Dark Work and Remix as Contemplative Rehearsal Practices” in Blum, ed., Dancing with Dharma: Essays on Movement and Dance in Western Buddhism (McFarland, 2016)
“Her Heart Can Lift Mountains by Beating: Form and Formlessness in Performance Process” in Hunter, Krimmer, Lichtenfels, eds., Sentient Performativities of Embodiment: Thinking alongside the Human (Lexington, 2016)
(Please do not use or cite without permission. Thank you.)
The One Who Listens: Meaning, Time, and Momentary Subjectivity in Music (2013) (presented at Performance Studies International 19, Stanford 2013.)
You Are the Music While the Music Lasts: Improvisation, silence, practice, research
(presented at IGPS Symposium, UC Davis, 2011)
Reason Exhausted, Concerns Forgotten: notes on a life in art and Dharma (2011)