a webinar with Rhonda Magee, Professor of Law, University of San Francisco
Originally broadcast on Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
How can we better develop the cognitive, personal and interpersonal skills necessary to identify and effectively dismantle structures of privilege and subordination in our midst? How can we better learn, work and thrive together in diverse communities as we seek to create a more just world?
Over the past thirteen years, Rhonda V. Magee has developed a pedagogical method for the study of race and legal history in diverse groups that promotes “change for good.” It rests on three distinct methods of inquiry and examination:
- Engaging in contemplative personal storytelling to honor and recognize the importance of our own experience, and to help locate relevant socio-historical legal history and its impact in our own lives;
- Developing, facilitating and supporting contemplative inquiry into the nature of core concepts in our disciplines--in law, concepts like equality, citizenship and race but also privilege -- to understand, unpack, deconstruct and reconstruct those terms;
- Learning, teaching, practicing and modeling mindful interpersonal dynamics.
Together, these methods comprise a skill set she calls “Contemplative Narrative Practices.” While she’s introduced these methods for legal education, the practices can be adapted for other academic fields.
Rhonda Magee is the author of the 2011 article, Educating Lawyers to Meditate?, 79 U.M.K.C. L. Rev. 535 (2011), examining the movement for contemplative practice in law and its promise as a response to long-standing and wide-ranging criticisms of contemporary legal education and law practice. For more than ten years, she has taught and written about law and legal education and race in America, with a focus in recent work on contemplative approaches to pedagogy and practice. She is Professor of Law and Dean Circle Research Scholar at the University of San Francisco, where she teaches or has taught Torts; Insurance Law and Policy; Immigration Law and Policy; Racism and Justice in American Legal History; and Contemporary Issues in Race and Law and Evolving Notions of (In)equality; and Contemplative Lawyering. She has been appointed Co-Director of the University of San Francisco’s Center for Teaching Excellence, beginning in August 2012.
Professor Magee is a long-time practitioner of a variety of contemplative practices, including centering prayer, mindfulness and insight meditation, contemplative writing and contemplative dialogue. She is associated with the Project for the Integration of Spirituality Law and Politics, and currently serves as President of the Board of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society. She works with the Bay Area Working Group for Lawyers, a group of mindful lawyers, law professors and others which has sat together for many years, and she has served on the executive board of the Humanizing Legal Education Section of the American Association of Law Schools. She is committed to the development of contemplative pedagogy, law practice and leadership. Building on the insight that contemplation is essential to experiencing love-in-action through our work and relationships in the world, she aspires toward reforms in legal education, law practice and law, guided by the compassionate heart of contemplative practice.