show episodes
 
The Mindful Cranks broadly explores the cultural translation of Buddhism in the West, various facets of Buddhist modernism, and the mainstreaming of mindfulness in secular contexts. The podcast serves as a forum for voices that go beyond the dominant narratives which have been thus far uncritical of consumerism, medicalization, psychologization, corporatization and self-help approaches. Drawing from a wide range of disciplines — the humanities, philosophy, cultural studies, education, critic ...
 
Upstream is a radio documentary series that invites you to unlearn everything you thought you knew about economics. Blurring the line between economic analysis and storytelling, we look beyond the numbers to explore a wide variety of themes pertaining to our tumultuous 21st century economy.
 
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show series
 
Over the last few decades, mindfulness has gone viral. These days, the practice has found its way into corporations, prisons, schools, police departments, and even the U.S. military. There are many benefits to mindfulness of course, but in his book, “McMindfulness: How Mindfulness Became the New Capitalist Spirituality,” author Ron Purser explores …
 
In this episode, I spoke with Daniel Simpson about his wonderful new book, The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga’s History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices, just published by North Point Press. It’s an easy read because Daniel is a professional writer having left a burgeoning career in journalism after he became disillusioned with mains…
 
In this episode I spoke with Andrea R. Jain, Associate professor of religious studies at Indiana University, Indianapolis about her new book Peace Love Yoga: The Politics of Global Spirituality, published by Oxford University Press. Our conversation explores how modern, commodified yoga serves a neoliberal agenda by containing social activism and p…
 
What do you see when you peek behind the curtains of neoliberal capitalism? What happens when you lift the veil off? Well, you see a mythological character. An apparition that haunts our collective consciousness. A spectre that permeates our institutions and that has epistemologically imprisoned us. Homo economicus. The term Homo economicus, or eco…
 
In this episode I spoke with Michal Pagis who is an associate professor of sociology at Bar Ilan University, Israel about her new book Inward: Vipassana Meditation and the Embodiment of the Self published by the University of Chicago Press in 2019. Using micro-sociological analysis through participant observation and auto-enthnography, Michal studi…
 
In this episode, we’re bringing you a special solstice // New Year's conversation. Upstream host Della Duncan comes out from interviewer's chair to be in conversation with two other baddass womxn podcast hosts — Manda Scott (Accidental Gods) and Nathalie Nahai (The Hive) to debrief all that has been 2020 and to look ahead to what is possible and po…
 
In this episode I spoke with Adrian Daub about his new book, What Tech Calls Thinking, published by FSG Originals. I discovered Adrian’s fascinating book in a New York Times review which called it ‘scintillating.” Adrian examines the philosophical traditions tech leaders and their boosters draw on to make plausible and inevitable their industry’s r…
 
It won’t come as a surprise to most to hear that the Trump administration has completely dropped the ball on their response to the covid pandemic. The misinformation campaign, lack of empathy, and outright failure of this administration to address the dangers and impacts of covid are jaw-dropping. But it’s not just a matter of this particular admin…
 
I often get the question – “Well, who is doing innovative and leading-edge work on social and civic mindfulness – who is teaching mindfulness outside of the clinical, biomedical, and individualistic framework? I kept hearing Paula Haddock’s name pop up. Paula Haddock is a long-time social activist and spent many years working in non-profit fundrais…
 
This conversation explores an obscure historical figure, Dhammaloka, who was perhaps one of the first Westerners ordained as a Buddhist monk in 1901 in British occupied Burma. Laurence Cox is co-author of The Irish Buddhist: The Forgotten Monk who Faced Down the British Empire, published by Oxford University Press. Based on ten year of archival res…
 
In this Episode, I spoke with Daniel Nehring, who is an Associate Professor of Sociology at East China University of Science and Technology in Shanghai. Daniel is, in my opinion, an ascending and prolific scholar in the field of critical sociology, and an amazing networker who has brought together a diverse group of international collaborators from…
 
The idea of Silicon Valley means many things to many people. The most prominent associations with this region and culture probably have to do with the tech industry — but that’s not the whole story. Not even close. There’s a dark side to Silicon Valley that doesn’t always make it into mainstream conversations and popular assumptions. Beneath the im…
 
In this Episode, I spoke with Matthew Ingram, author of, Retreat: How the Counterculture Invented Wellness – recently published this summer by Repeater Books. Reading Matthew’s book was like taking a walk down memory lane for me, revisiting many of the key figures of the counterculture – and discovering many unknown connections between such figures…
 
What if you got your neighbors together and occupied the public spaces on your book, transforming them into whatever you would all want it to be? What would you include? ...A solar-paneled tea station? A little free library? A mural? This is the type of urban placemaking that the City Repair Project in Portland, Oregon inspires and facilitates. In …
 
Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is a journalist and researcher who uses systems thinking to support the just transition to a more equitable and sustainable future. We contacted him after we came across his article, "White Supremacism and the Earth System," connecting the worldview that underpins capitalism to the racism that the Black Lives Matter movement is wor…
 
Christopher Titmuss is perhaps the most senior teacher of Vipassana and Insight Meditation in the Western modern world. Titmuss was an ordained monk in Thailand, spending six years there from 1970 to 1976. During that time, he resided for three years in a monastery with Ajahn Dhammadharo, his Vipassana (Insight Meditation teacher) and Ajahn Buddhad…
 
Continuing our focus on the coronavirus pandemic and its intersection with capitalism, in this Conversation, we spoke with London-based economic anthropologist Jason Hickel. Jason in the author of The Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and Its Solutions, Jason’s new book, “Less is More,” is being published in August by Penguin. We spoke wit…
 
In this episode, I spoke with Dr. Miguel Farias from Coventry University in the UK on his seminal book, The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You? (2nd ed. Watkins Media, 2019) (co-authored with Catherine Wikholm). Miguel was one of the first academic researchers to expose the dark side of meditation. Our conversation touched on the history of Tra…
 
Continuing our focus on the coronavirus pandemic and its intersection with capitalism, in this conversation we speak with Doug Henwood, an economist and host of the radio show and podcast Behind the News. Doug is a regular guest on our show, and in this conversation he helped make sense of much of the economics surrounding the coronavirus, explaini…
 
How many times have you heard people claim that Buddhism isn’t really a religion, that it’s a philosophy, a way of life, that its spiritual but not religious, or even that it’s a “science of mind”? These familiar tropes are a legacy of Buddhist Modernism, what Evan Thompson aptly has coined “Buddhist exceptionalism.” In this episode we explore thes…
 
Continuing our focus on the coronavirus pandemic and its intersection with capitalism, in this conversation we speak with New York State Senator, Julia Salazar, who represents New York's 18th district in northern Brooklyn, which includes the neighborhoods of Bushwick, Cyprus Hills, Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and parts of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsvi…
 
It’s unfortunate that it’s taking a global pandemic to reveal it, but the unprecedented crisis catalyzed by the coronavirus has exposed our capitalist economy for what it is: an economic system that puts profit over people (and the planet).This pandemic is an unprecedented event, but it’s the sharpening of class divides, the gutting of our social s…
 
In this Episode, I spoke with Dr. Michael Ungar, who is a Professor of Social Work at Dalhousie University and Canada Research Chair in Child, Family and Community Resilience, as well as a family therapist – about his new book, Change Your World: The Science of Resilience and The Path to Success (Sutherland House Book, 2019). Michael dispels the my…
 
In Episode 21, I speak with Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of Revolutionary Love: A Political Manifesto to Heal and Transform the World and editor of Tikkun magazine. Lerner's social activism goes far back to when he was a leader of the Free Speech Movement at UC, Berkeley in 1964. Rabbi Lerner shares with us his vision for a Caring Society, and how …
 
In recent months, thousands of people from coast to coast have confronted politicians and asked them to take action on climate change. Few of these political leaders seem to be listening, however, and so, in the face of this inaction, and with a renewed sense of urgency, people of all ages and backgrounds have begun taking directly to the streets a…
 
In Episode 19, we speak with Candy Gunther Brown, Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University about her new book, Debating Mindfulness and Yoga in Public Schools: Reforming Secular Education or Reestablishing Religion? (University of North Carolina Press, 2019).By The Mindful Cranks
 
In this episode, we join David Forbes and special guest host Nomi Naeem to discuss David’s book, Mindfulness and Its Discontents: Education, Self and Social Transformation, published by Fernwood Press (2019). The first half of the interview was recorded at the Brooklyn Public Library, so the audio quality is not quite up to par, but it’s acceptable…
 
What do an indigenous ceremony in Canada, Burning Man, and an occupied salami factory in Rome have in common? They are all expressions of the gift economy featured in a new documentary by Robin McKenna, the guest of this Upstream conversation. Robin McKenna has worked in film for twenty years on several projects, including The Take with Naomi Klein…
 
It's often said that the economic system is rigged. The truth, however, is that the system is working exactly as it was designed to. Those in power, whether they hold public office or whether they sit in the boardroom of a multi-billion dollar international corporation, have taken great lengths to set up a system of rules that benefit them and main…
 
Is capitalism ruining our sex lives? Kristen Ghodsee unpacks the mountains of data about people's sex lives in and outside of socialist governments. More info on "Why Women Have Better Sex Under Socialism": http://bit.ly/2xaJUuD Alec on Twitter: bit.ly/2Dta2Er Host: Alec Opperman Logo Design: Shane Lessa Theme Song: Fender Bender by Bad Snacks…
 
Are antidepressants and other drugs being used to control prisoners? In nursing homes? We talk to Anthony Ryan Hatch about his book "Silent Cells," where he documents the use of psychotropic drugs in and outside of the American prison system. More info on "Silent Cells": http://bit.ly/2Ibf5fs Alec on Twitter: bit.ly/2Dta2Er Host: Alec Opperman Logo…
 
In this episode, we discuss David Loy’s latest book, ECODHARMA: Buddhist Teachings for the Ecological Crisis, available from Wisdom Publications. EcoDharma is a landmark work that is simultaneously a manifesto, a blueprint, a call to action, and a deep comfort for troubling times. David masterfully lays out the principles and perspectives of Ecodha…
 
We talk with Professor Alfie Bown about video games, technology and politics. Follow Alec on Twitter: http://bit.ly/2Dta2Er Alfie on the Guardian: https://bit.ly/2XBecl5 The PlayStation Dreamworld: http://bit.ly/2XDfxYV In the Event of Laughter: http://bit.ly/2vmtHBj Logo Design: Shane Lessa Theme Song: Fender Bender by Bad Snacks Host: Alec Opperm…
 
Dr. Steven Stanley is a critical psychologist in the School of Social Sciences at Cardiff University, Wales. He is interested in the history and philosophy of psychology and its intersection with Buddhism and is currently studying the therapeutic culture of late modernity with a particular focus on the mindfulness movement. Alongside his academic r…
 
Wakoh Shannon Hickey has been an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore. Her research interests include American religious history, particularly minority traditions and women leaders; Buddhism in East Asia and the West; religion and medicine; and inter-religious dialogue, with particular interests…
 
In this Episode, we interview Jaime Kucinskas, author of The Mindful Elite (Oxford University Press, 2019), as she draws on first-hand accounts of the elite mindfulness circuit and describes how white, affluent and privileged networks became co-opted and beholden to institutional and corporate interests. In their efforts to "scale" mindfulness and …
 
Glenn Wallis holds a Ph.D. in Buddhist studies from Harvard University's Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies. His training was mainly philological, concentrating on Sanskrit, Pali, and Tibetan Buddhist literature. Glenn has been concerned with how to make classical Buddhist literature, philosophy, and practice relevant to contemporary life. S…
 
The dark shadow of Silicon Valley is growing longer everyday, covering more and more of the globe and spreading not just technology, but a particular value set as well. By this time many know about the hyper-exploitative business models of companies like Uber or TaskRabbit. Or about how AirBnB has heavily reduced housing stocks in cities worldwide.…
 
Dr. Deborah Rozelle is a clinical psychologist who trains widely on psychological trauma and its rela­tion to contemplative practice. She is co-director of the Jewel Heart Buddhist Chaplaincy Program, co-editor of Mindfulness-Oriented Interventions for Trauma: Integrating Contemplative Practices, and was Senior Fellow for the Initiative for Transfo…
 
In the second episode of the series on worker cooperatives, we build on the conversation that we began in Episode one, which explored how cooperatives can serve as a force to widen the spheres of democracy in our society. This second episode shifts the focus outward, exploring how cooperatives confront global capitalism. "Islands within a Sea of Ca…
 
The 21st century has seen an explosion in Worker Cooperatives—particularly since capitalism's 2008 crisis. In Part 1 of this 2-part series, we'll explore how worker co-ops present a radically different kind of ownership and management structure—one that has the power to bring democracy into the workplace and into the economy as a whole. We'll take …
 
For the last 150,000 or so years of human evolution, not a whole lot changed. That is, until about 10,000 years ago, when in the blink of an eye we began organizing societies in very, very different ways. We went from small bands of hunter-gatherers to massive state societies; from having a relatively low ecological impact to devastating the natura…
 
In Episode 10, we interview Justin (Lama Karma) Wall, a mindfulness teacher trained in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. We explore his paper, "Sacred Groundlessness: Deepening the Ethics of Mindfulness in the Midst of the Global Crisis." Justin Wall (Lama Karma) has over seven years of teaching experience, both as a facilitator of Mindfulness traini…
 
In this episode Brian Victoria, author of Zen at War, discusses how Buddhism, and Japanese Zen in particular, have a long history of violence. From Japanese kamikaze pilots in World War II to Corporate Zen training of "industrial warriors," Brian Victoria expounds on the dangers and risks of religion serves the powers of nationalism and the state.…
 
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