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, critical pyschology, religious studies, and sociology—The Mindful Cranks welcomes new conversations that challenge the priviledging of scientific materialism, methodological individualism, reductionism, and neoliberalism. Our guests are leading edge scholars, authors, teachers, practitioners and activists that share a mutual interest in civic mindfulness and socially engaged contemplative methods. A wide range of diverse perspectives–including critical theory, critical pedagogy, ethnography, Foucauldian governmentality, feminism, hermeneutics, critical race theory, critical management studies, socially engaged Buddhism, political economy–provide the “cranky” intellectual tools for socially engaged contemplative change.
Gregory Kramer: A Whole-Life Path
In this episode, I was fortunate to speak to Gregory Kramer, founding teacher of the Insight Dialogue Community and author of a new book: A Whole-Life Path: A Lay Buddhist’s Guide to Crafting a Dharma-Infused Life. I explore with Gregory how he came to a pragmatic understanding and creative application of the Eight Fold Noble Path into his daily life.
Daniel Simpson: The Truth of Yoga
I spoke with Daniel Simpson about his new book, The Truth of Yoga: A Comprehensive Guide to Yoga’s History, Texts, Philosophy, and Practices, North Point Press. We dive deep into the complex and patchy history of Yoga, from early, classical and hatha yoga – to observations on modern yoga, including whether Silent Disco Yoga is a thing!
Daniel Simpson teaches yoga philosophy at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies. He earned his Master's degree from SOAS and his undergraduate degree from Cambridge.
Andrea Jain: Yoga and the Politics of Global Spirituality
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 political dissent, something she calls gestural subversion.
Michal Pagis: The Sociology of Vipassana and Mindfulness
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 studied Western Vipassana practitioners of SN Goenka 10-day SILENT meditation retreats.
Adrian Daub: Questioning Silicon Valley
In this episode I spoke with Adrian Daub about his new book, What Tech Calls Thinking, published by FSG Originals. His book is an engaging critique of an industry that is blinded by its own elitism and privilege while exploiting and distorting intellectual ideas in ways that function to erase cultural memory and blunt our analysis or skepticism.
Paula Haddock - Mindfulness for Social Change
Paula Haddock is a long-time social activist and spent many years working in non-profit fundraising and with NGOs – and she is a seasoned training manager – working worldwide in supporting civil society in capacity building.. She is the co-founder of the Mindfulness and Social Change Network which explore the potential for secular mindfulness training and practice to contribute to more sustainable, caring and socially just societies.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I’m a licensed family therapist, systemic thinker, and have been learning about mindfulness meditation for years. This podcast has opened my mind to so many aspects of mindfulness and modern culture. It has made me a better therapist by helping me expand my understanding of systemic issues and the need to allow ourselves to be relational beings concerned with the needs of others.
Buy a microphone and widen your lens
These are really smart guys tackling some of the most important issues in western Buddhism. Sadly their podcast is recorded through a tin can and string and nearly every episode is about how Buddhists need to be more socially engaged, which is important but it’s the same conversation over and over again. The guests also leave something to be desired—hard to say what, it seems like they’re all obscure insiders in the subculture of Whole Foods Buddhists. Great potential here, will check back in a few months and resubscribe if they try a little harder.