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Investigating Consciousness: Buddhist and Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives

Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Investigating Consciousness: Buddhist and Contemporary Philosophical Perspectives” is a two-week college and university faculty institute for twenty participants, exploring the similarities and the differences between the ways in which phenomenology, analytic philosophy, and Buddhist philosophy understand consciousness. As the application notes, “Like their Western counterparts, Buddhist philosophers have . . . engaged central topics in the study of consciousness, and have produced impressive results, proposing a range of theoretical models—some akin to those developed in the West, and others that have no discernible parallels in Western philosophy—in a fecund and progressive program of the study of consciousness.” The institute examines the convergences and divergences of these rival philosophical traditions, focusing on core issues that include the relation between consciousness and intentionality; the nature of the contents of consciousness; the interplay between the biological, psychological, social, and linguistic dimensions of conscious experience; and the methodology of cross-cultural investigation into subjects like consciousness. The institute has three co-directors:  Christian Coseru of the College of Charleston, Jay Garfield of Smith College, and Evan Thompson of the University of Toronto. All three co-directors have worked extensively on the interface between Western philosophy of mind and cognitive science (on the one hand) and Buddhist philosophy of mind (on the other). Assisting them are twelve other scholars, who teach in institutions in Australia, Denmark, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. 


Dates: May 21-June 2 (2 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: College of Charleston
Location: Charleston, SC

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for College and University Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in Summer Seminars and Institutes. Each NEH Summer Seminar includes sixteen participants working in collaboration with one or two leading scholars. Participants have access to a major research collection, with time reserved to pursue individual projects.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes are designed primarily for teachers of American undergraduate students. Qualified independent scholars and those employed by museums, libraries, historical societies, and other organizations may be eligible to compete provided they can effectively advance the teaching and research goals of the project.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one.

Please note:

Adjunct faculty, community college faculty and first-time participants are encouraged to apply.

Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are reserved for current full-time graduate students in the humanities.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.