About & Board

Publishing scholarship in Contemplative Studies


The mission of the journal is to provide an academic forum for specialists to publish rigorous, innovative, humanities-based scholarship in Contemplative Studies and to promote interconnections across disciplines, perspectives, and traditions. JCS and its associated preprint service are committed to supporting the growth of an academic field for a global community of scholars who study contemplative practices in all of their diversity. This includes scholarship that examines practices, first-person meditative experiences, and the historical and cultural contexts in which forms of contemplation are embedded and from which they derive. 


JCS is focused on publishing rigorous academic work on contemplation that is deeply grounded in the humanities in the most capacious sense. The journal publishes original research and scholarship on topics related to the world’s contemplative practice traditions—historical and contemporary, religious and secular. Articles are not restricted to a particular disciplinary or methodological approach and submissions could be, but are not limited to, scholarly methods that are comparative, text-critical, historical, theoretical, ethnographic, or phenomenological.


While the focus of the journal is humanistic studies on contemplation, we encourage interdisciplinary scholarly collaborations with a humanistic core. We invite interdisciplinary collaborative studies across the contemplative arts, humanities, anthropology, sciences, and technology, and we welcome submissions that reflect multi- and trans-disciplinary approaches. We do not accept journal article submissions that are single-method empirical studies, meta-analyses, and similar scientific reviews. JCS is not intended for articles that simply present or describe a contemplative intervention or a program for applied contemplative practices, as might be found in the context of contemplative pedagogy or clinical practice—for example, a summary of a new mindfulness-based intervention for use in schools or the workplace. In contrast, an article that examines mindfulness-based interventions through the lens of some scholarly perspective, such as cultural history, would be welcome. 

Publishing Model

JCS uses a rolling publishing model, which enables authors to submit articles at any time. A streamlined workflow of the peer-review and editorial processes allows articles to be published on a rolling basis that is not dictated by the publication timetable of a larger collated journal issue. Each article is treated on its own publication timeline to meet scholarly criteria of peer-review, incorporate author revisions, and finalize typesetting and editing for the digital publication. JCS also publishes special thematic issues. 

The Open Access (OA) movement has proven to be a catalyst for change in academic publishing, and JCS is committed to public dissemination of scholarship free of charge to both authors and readers. We publish on a proprietary digital platform, Mandala, which was developed at the University of Virginia and is hosted at the University Library. Articles may be read onscreen, downloaded as PDFs, or printed by the reader. Universal Resource Locators (URLs) and Digital Object Identifier (DOI) links will be created for each individual article to ensure reliable bibliographic citation.

Preprint Service: ContemplativeRxiv

To support a global community of scholars committed to the study of contemplative practice, JCS offers a free preprint service, ContemplativeRxiv. The preprint platform enables authors to submit an article at any stage of the authoring process: before an article is submitted for peer-review, after an article has been peer-reviewed, or if an article will not be submitted for publication. We welcome articles that are not intended to be published within JCS itself, though we encourage prospective submissions to JCS to consider preprint posting in ContemplativeRxiv. Submissions can be pre-publication, or post-publication.

An advantage of posting an article before it is submitted to JCS for peer-review includes the ability to receive and respond to critical and constructive feedback from the scholarly community.  An author is then able to improve their article before it undergoes formal peer-review, likely making it more publishable. An author may choose to keep an article up to elicit and receive feedback after the peer-review process. Once an article is published, the platform serves as an archive for articles published in JCS or other journals.

A pre-published article with its comments can be taken down by the author or left online—though our expectation for published articles is that the comments are part of a permanent record in the preprint archive. As we are focused on helping to build a scholarly community with deep expertise, we vet authors for the ability to submit articles for review as well as to make comments on other people’s work, which is optional. Participants can therefore assume all comments are serious and any articles available for review are rigorous. 

Encyclopedia of Contemplation (Coming 2023)

Associated with JCS is the Encyclopedia of Contemplation, a multimedia guide to the contemplative traditions of the world from all religions, times, cultures, and contemporary secular contexts. The Encyclopedia offers analysis of individual practices, synthetic essays, studies on key terms, translations of texts and passages from classical contemplative literature, recordings, photographs, and visualizations to provide unprecedented gateways into the theoretical and practical aspects of contemplative traditions. 

The underlying digital platform enables a wide variety of media and data to be mobilized and utilized for submissions including text, audio-video, images, visualizations, bibliographies, term studies, and more. The Encyclopedia is the platform for publishing outcomes of the Generative Contemplation Initiative with its goal of understanding contemplation as a generative capacity likened to literacy or fluency in a language. 

Executive Editors

David Germano

Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Contemplative Studies
University of Virginia

Michael Sheehy

Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, Contemplative Studies
University of Virginia

Executive Editors are ex-officio members of the Executive Board.

Executive Board

The Executive Board advises on the strategy, scope, and vision of the Journal of Contemplative Studies:

Niki Kasumi Clements

Christianity, Religious Ethics, Philosophy of Religion
Rice University

John Dunne

Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, Contemplative Sciences 
University of Wisconsin–Madison

Margarita Simon Guillory

Africana Mysticism, Digital Religion 
Boston University

Tanya Luhrmann

Medical and Psychological Anthropology 
Stanford University

Oludamini Ogunnaike

African and Afro-Atlantic Religions 
University of Virginia

Stuart Sarbacker 

Yoga, South Asian Religions
Oregon State University

Donata Schoeller

Phenomenology, Philosophy

Don Seeman

Judaism, Anthropology of Religion, Phenomenological Anthropology
Emory University

Editorial Board

The Editorial Board represents diverse subject experts who act as a team to monitor the rigor and quality of publications by providing editorial counsel on peer-review, special issues, and related editorial recommendations for the Journal of Contemplative Studies:

Loriliai Biernacki

Hindu Tantra, Science, Panentheism, Gender
University of Colorado-Boulder

Julia Cassaniti

Buddhism, South/East Asia, Anthropology
Washington State University

Yuria Celidwen

Indigenous Studies, Cultural Psychology, Self-Transcendence
University of California-Berkeley and United Nations

Chris Chapple

Indian Religions, Yoga, Jainism
Loyola Marymount University

Muhammad U. Faruque

Islamic Philosophy, Sufism, Subjectivity, Consciousness Studies
University of Cincinnati

Sonam Kachru

History of Indian / Buddhist Philosophy
Yale University

Michael Lifshitz

Anthropology, Neuroscience, Meditation, Imagination, Psychedelics
McGill University, Canada

Diana Lobel

Comparative Religions, Judaism, Sufism
Boston University

James Mallinson

Yoga, Indian Religions
SOAS University of London

Ariel Evan Mayse 

Jewish Mysticism, Contemplative Ecology
Stanford University

Ayodeji Ogunnaike

African Religions, Worship, Divination
Bowdoin College

Stephanie Paulsell

Religion, Literature, Christian Spirituality
Harvard Divinity School

Mohammed Rustom

Sufism, Islamic philosophy, Quranic exegesis
Carleton University

Mike Sandbothe

Mindfulness, Media, Pragmatism
University of Applied Sciences in Jena, Germany

Greg Walkerden

Reflective Practice, Consciousness Studies, Phenomenology
Macquarie University, Australia 

Jennifer Windt

Philosophy of Mind, Dreams
Monash University, Australia 

Funlayo E. Wood

Ifa, Orisa, African Spirituality, Plant Medicine
African and Diasporic Religious Studies Association (ADRSA)