‘Freedom Inside’ author gives talk on meditation in prisons

Farah Godrej

Many say yoga and meditation programs in prisons offer crucial respite and healing, but what political effects do they have? Author and educator Farah Godrej argues that while these practices could unwittingly exacerbate systemic inequity and injustice, they also serve as resources for challenging such injustice. She says activists such as M.K. Gandhi trace their ethical and political commitments to their grounding in yogic or meditative traditions. Drawing on interviews and collaborations with incarcerated practitioners (mainly women) and fieldwork inside prisons, Godrej examines both the promises and pitfalls of yoga and meditation when taught inside prisons.

Godrej will present a lecture on her book “Freedom Inside? Yoga Meditation in the Carceral State” at 3 p.m. Monday, March 6, on Zoom. Registration is free and open to the public. Godrej is an associate professor of political science at U.C. Riverside. Her areas of research and teaching include Indian political thought, Gandhi’s political thought and comparative political theory.

The event is presented by the Department of Philosophy, the M.K. Gandhi Center: Inner Peace and Sarvodaya and the Jain and Hindu Dharma Initiatives and supported by the Uberoi Foundation for Religious Studies. It is sponsored by the Cross Culture and Gender Center, Ethics Center, Department of Criminology, Asian American Studies Program and the Associated Students, Inc

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