Mindful Activism : Autoethnographies of Social Justice Communication for Campus and Community Transformation book cover
1st Edition

Mindful Activism
Autoethnographies of Social Justice Communication for Campus and Community Transformation

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after April 21, 2022
ISBN 9781032100487
April 21, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
200 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This collection immerses scholars of communication and related disciplines in narratives of and conversations about social-justice-focused activism.

Through autoethnographic essays, Mindful Activism chronicles the authors’ experiences as activist academics challenging and seeking to remedy injustices on campus and in local and global communities. Those experiences range from engaging in a single activist act to collaborating over many years with oppressed communities and social change groups. Building upon Communication Activism Research and following a liberation-based Transformative Learning Model, the book shows both activism in action and deep reflection on that activism. The authors re-experience activist experiences, draw out lessons, and invite readers to apply those to their own social justice endeavors. Mindful Activism also demonstrates how mindfulness supports activists in deepening their awareness and understanding of themselves, others, and social systems. This orientation increases the likelihood that activists will remain grounded enough to respond to injustice mindfully/effectively.

The book will enrich courses on activism, social justice, dialogue, narrative inquiry, qualitative methods, autoethnography, and general graduate studies and will resonate with scholars committed to building a more equitable and just world. 

Table of Contents


Introduction: Birthing the Book—Kathryn Norsworthy, Lisa M. Tillmann, & Steven Schoen

Chapter 1: Sitting Out "The Star-Spangled Banner"—Lisa M. Tillmann, Kathryn Norsworthy, & Steven Schoen

Chapter 2: Of All Days: Critical Pedagogy Outside the Classroom—Lisa M. Tillmann, Kathryn Norsworthy, & Steven Schoen

Chapter 3: Queer Border Crossings—Kathryn Norsworthy, Lisa M. Tillmann, & Steven Schoen

Chapter 4: Wind and Winding Roads: Friendship Amid Indefinite Confinement—Lisa M. Tillmann, Jeffery Holmgren, Kathryn Norsworthy, & Steven Schoen

Chapter 5: "Say It Ain’t So": Protecting a Nondiscrimination Policy from Appropriated Diversity—Steven Schoen, Lisa M. Tillmann, & Kathryn Norsworthy

Conclusion: Mindful Activists Debrief Mindful Activism—Lisa M. Tillmann, Steven Schoen, & Kathryn Norsworthy




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Lisa M. Tillmann, activist scholar and documentary filmmaker, holds the Kenan Chair of Critical Media and Cultural Studies (CMC) at Rollins College. She has authored two books, Between Gay and Straight: Understanding Friendship across Sexual Orientation and In Solidarity: Friendship, Family, and Activism Beyond Gay and Straight. Lisa’s documentaries, available on her YouTube channel, examine justice for LGBTQ+ persons and communities, body oppression and liberation, cultural narratives of "obesity," higher education’s neoliberalization, and struggles college students face, including eating disorders and depression. Her relationship-centered activism has focused on issues such as LGBTQ+ civil rights and criminal justice reform.

Kathryn Norsworthy is a queer activist, counseling psychologist, and Cornell Chair of Graduate Studies in Counseling and of CMC at Rollins College. Her U.S. activism has centered on LGBTQ+ civil rights, gender justice, and immigrant rights. Kathryn began studying mindfulness meditation in Thailand and India in the 1980s. Since 1997, she has been working in solidarity with and accompanying colleagues in Southeast and South Asia; together they conduct mindfulness-based, trauma informed, feminist-liberation projects on such issues as violence against women, healing-centered peacebuilding in areas of ethno-political conflict, HIV-AIDS, women’s leadership, LGBTQ+ civil rights, and transnational activism and social change.

Steven Schoen, Associate Professor of CMC at Rollins College, is a media scholar focused on documentary. He came to higher education from work as a video producer/director specializing in production for nonprofit organizations. Increasingly he also studies activism and social justice education. Steve’s activism has focused on issues ranging from gun violence to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. 


"This is an important book for communicating both a vision of hands-on activist pedagogy and for understanding what it feels like to try to live up to the demands of collaborative activism both within and outside the university."

-Arthur P. Bochner, National Communication Association Distinguished Scholar and Past President