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The Mindfulness Revolution: Zombie Apocalypse or Productive Peace in a Frantic World?


Admission requirements

This course is an Honours Class and therefore in principle only available to students of the Honours College. There are a few places available for regular students.


Interest in meditation, mindfulness, and contemplation has grown exponentially in recent years. Rather than being seen as mystical practices from ancient Buddhism or esoteric philosophy, they are increasingly seen as technologies rooted in evidence from psychology and neuroscience. Mindfulness has become the basis for numerous therapeutic interventions, both as a treatment in healthcare and as a means of enhancing well-being and happiness. For millions around the world, mindfulness has become a life-style choice, enhancing and enriching everyday experience. Mindfulness is big business.

But, what actually is mindfulness? Is it really good for you? Can anyone learn it? How can you recognize charlatans? Would you want to live in a mindful society, and would it smell like sandalwood? What does it feel like to be mindful? Are you mindful already, and how would you know?

Building on the MOOC 'De-Mystifying Mindfulness' that was created after earlier successful renditions of this Honours Class, this innovative course combines conventional scholarly inquiry from multiple disciplines (ranging from psychology, through philosophy, to politics) with experiential learning (including specially designed ‘meditation labs,’ in which you’ll get chance to practice and analyze mindfulness on yourself). In the end, the course aims to provide a responsible, comprehensive, and inclusive education about (and in) mindfulness as a contemporary phenomenon.

Course objectives


Intensive one-week summer course, meetings will be held daily from 3 July until 7 July from 10 till 17h.


De Oude Sterrewacht / Old Observatory, Sterrenwachtlaan 11, Leiden


  1. Introduction to Mindfulness
  2. Psychology of/& Mindfulness
  3. Philosophy of/& Mindfulness
  4. Politics of/& Mindfulness
  5. Mindfulness into the Future

The one-week programme is imagined as an intensive ‘retreat.’
The morning sessions will include meditation-labs, for class practice.
The afternoon sessions will include more conventional academic seminars, covering the interrogation of mindfulness from the standpoint of various different scholarly disciplines, including psychology, philosophy, politics, history and religious studies.

Course Load

This course is worth 5 EC, which means the total course load equals 140 hours.

  • Lectures and seminars: 5 sessions of 7 hours

  • Literature reading: 4 hours p/session

  • Daily exercises, practices, presentation, essay: 85 hours

Assessment method

Daily written exercises (reflection), daily practices, presentation, final essay

Blackboard and uSis

Blackboard will not be used in this course.

Please note: students are not required to register through uSis for the Honours Classes. Your registration will be done centrally.

Reading list

Relevant literature will be made available closer to the start of the course.


Enrolling in this course is possible from Monday November 7th until Sunday November 20th through the Honours Academy, via this link


Prof.dr. Chris Goto-Jones