My name is Christopher Kelley. I am a university lecturer and a self-proclaimed Buddhist “psychonaut,” or “mind explorer.” I hold a doctorate in Religion from Columbia University where I studied Indo-Tibetan Buddhism with the peerless Robert A. F. Thurman. I am currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the philosophy department at Brooklyn College as well as the religious studies program at Lang College, The New School University. I reside in Brooklyn with my wife and two daughters.
I try to adopt a pragmatic approach, in my teaching and research, that values the primacy of transformative inner experiences. I support the kind of discourse that the American pragmatist philosopher Richard Rorty describes as "abnormal"— the sort of discourse that has the potential to de-center one’s reified intellectual footing through its very “strangeness,” and thereby move the larger conversation in an otherwise unforeseen and novel direction (Philosophy & the Mirror Nature, 1979).
I align myself with the "Buddhist psychonauts," a perennial tradition of iconoclasts that Thurman extols in his writings and includes both Indo-Tibetan adepts as well as American individualists like Allen Ginsberg, who use "inner technologies" to investigate the mind in much the same way astronauts use "outer technologies" to explore space (Inner Revolution, 1998).
My interests span a variety of fields including: western literature/philosophy, ethics/human rights, psychedelic research/history, palliative care/dying, science/technology, mystical experience, dark comedy, and art. I am a passionate advocate of the liberal arts and have organized several groundbreaking and enduring projects that support interdisciplinary discourse.
I have presented papers at a host of academic conferences including: the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), The American Philosophical Association (APA), The International Symposia for Contemplative Studies, The Annual Meeting of Comparative & Continental Philosophy, The Annual Meeting of the Society for Asian & Comparative Philosophy, and more. I have also been invited to give academic lectures at institutions such as: The Rubin Museum of Art, The Asia Society in Houston, TX., The Wang Center at Stonybrook University, and other more.
I often give public lectures at popular venues like The STRAND Bookstore and The Alchemist's Kitchen. I am a member of the teaching staff at Thinkolio, a pop-up classroom for lifetime learners.
The details of my work can found in the pages of this website. Enjoy!
Peace, Love, and Chicken Grease,