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                            The University of San Francisco
USF Scholarship: a digital repository @ Gleeson Library | Geschke Center
	Winter 2017
Epistemology, Wisdom, and Social Transformation: Strategies at the Forefront of the Contemplative Movement in Higher Education
	Nicola Smith
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Microsoft Word - Nicola's Dissertation-Final with Defense Revisions.docx
                        
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The University of San Francisco
USF Scholarship: a digital repository @ Gleeson Library |
Geschke Center

Doctoral Dissertations Theses, Dissertations, Capstones and Projects

Winter 2017

Epistemology, Wisdom, and Social
Transformation: Strategies at the Forefront of the
Contemplative Movement in Higher Education
Nicola Smith
University of San Francisco, [email protected]

Follow this and additional works at: https://repository.usfca.edu/diss

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This Dissertation is brought to you for free and open access by the Theses, Dissertations, Capstones and Projects at USF Scholarship: a digital
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Smith, Nicola, "Epistemology, Wisdom, and Social Transformation: Strategies at the Forefront of the Contemplative Movement in
Higher Education" (2017). Doctoral Dissertations. 409.
https://repository.usfca.edu/diss/409

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The University of San Francisco









EPISTEMOLOGY, WISDOM, AND SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION: STRATEGIES

AT THE FOREFRONT OF THE CONTEMPLATIVE MOVEMENT IN HIGHER
EDUCATION








A Dissertation
Presented To

The Faculty of the School of Education
Department of Leadership Studies

Organization and Leadership Program






In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree

Doctor of Education












by
Nicola Smith
San Francisco

May 2017

Page 127

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duality of our lives, in terms of life and death, good and evil and light and dark . .

. . People can speak at a very personal level, unlike a written document . . . . I’ve

done collective boxes . . . with the collapse of the twin towers, 9-11, there was

very little press about the workers of the towers and a lot of them were

undocumented workers, a lot of them immigrants from other countries . . . . at the

time, we decided to do one collective box around those people . . . . it was

contemplative in the fact that we were remembering them and we were, you

know, thinking about them and honoring their presence.

Like with his Chicano Park curriculum, Pulido entreats student to imagine, interact with

and transform community. In the last instances, community extends to any of those in our

nation who lost their lives during the destruction of the twin towers as well as those who

died attempting to enter this country. Although not overtly conceived as such, these

renderings are also sacred in their willingness hold the paradoxes of the material and

spiritual realms of existence.

As a scholar, Pulido seeks to produce forms of knowledge that honor community

and family, however, selling these forms of knowledge to the larger university interest

groups has been challenging. He asks, “How do we redefine or reestablish what we

understand as knowledge in higher education?” and cites “home pedagogy and

community pedagogy recovery projects” as indirectly influential in his interest in

contemplative epistemology. Although he has received support through the Center for

Educational Excellence at USD, the work “hasn’t gotten much traction and it hasn’t

really flourished.” All the same, Pulido persists in making connections between Catholic

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social teaching and Ethnic Studies as a way to leverage educational praxis that will serve

historically underrepresented students:

Social justice is explicit in the Jesuit vision. We kind of talk about it. . . . I came

here with a very clear vision to build Ethnic Studies and that has not always been

met in a cordial way. And what I have done very strategically . . . I wrote an essay

when I first came here about the linkages between Catholic social teaching and

Ethnic Studies. Because Catholic social teaching’s foundation is human dignity

for all, regardless if I’m gay, straight, black, white, immigrant, non-immigrant,

you know. And that’s what I always promote, even when I’m teaching my

courses.

Sub-question 2

What word meaning and movement of meaning can one identify within the academics’

talk about epistemological shift and social change?

Pulido’s language demonstrates his conception of the epistemological shift in

higher education to be uncharted territory that is rooted in the personal. The self-reflexive

scholarship model embraced by Ethnic Studies is fundamentally in correspondence with

contemplative epistemology because of its mission to excavate “new stories,” “new

paradigms,” and “new ways of knowing.” In addition, the value placed upon first person,

subjective experience in the “self-reflexive” mode is common to both autoethnography

and a contemplative way of knowing that is legitimates reflection on the self. With regard

to the cajitas project, Pulido explains that the “boxes were sacred because they told

stories.” Storytelling, which is communicated visually through the cajitas project as well

as through the Chicano Park murals, represents yet another form of self- and community-

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7. Do you see a connection between engagement in contemplative practice and social

transformation?

Ending Questions

1. What do you think are the most helpful ways for people to support the contemplative

movement in higher education?

2. Would you share how any of your experiences have provided lessons about effective

ways to encourage contemplative practice within the academy?

3. What advice would you give someone who wants to integrate contemplative pedagogy

into their courses or wants to do research on contemplative practices/contemplative

interventions?

4. Is there anything that you would like me know that I haven’t asked about?

5. Is there anything you would like to ask me?

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APPENDIX B INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARD APPROVAL

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