Academics at Prescott College
Sebastienne Grant, Ph.D.
Faculty / Director, MA in Critical Psychology
Sebastienne is personally and professionally concerned with understanding and supporting the conditions of individual, societal, and global wellbeing. Her psychological orientation is grounded in critical, humanistic, existential, Buddhist, and transpersonal perspectives. She is particularly interested in social tensions (including discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance), compassion and altruism, values and morals, self and subjectivity, death attitudes, and bio/techno-ethics.
As an educator, Sebastienne strives to facilitate collaborative and transformative learning through connecting course material to fundamental questions of human existence, raising (critical) consciousness around social, historical, and structural forces, and inviting students to engage in critical reflexivity. She views the classroom as a valuable space for practicing skills such as critical and creative thinking, respectful and productive dialogue, tolerance, compassion, humor, and the understanding/appreciation of diversity.
She is grateful to share her life with her amazing wife and daughter and small pack of sweet (and rambunctious) dogs.
B.A. Psychology, Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC, 2006
M.A. Humanistic Psychology (counseling track), University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, 2011
Ph.D. Psychology: Consciousness and Society, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, 2018
I believe that the knowledge and wisdom produced from within academia should be used to address real-world challenges and serve individual and societal wellbeing. My research seeks to identify underlying existential struggles contributing to social tensions and to investigate factors and approaches which effectively reduce these existential tensions while facilitating prosocial (rather than antisocial) behaviors. These aims emerged from a desire to understand the roots of social strife and intolerance and the challenges we face within ourselves in building more peaceful and inclusive societies.
My theoretical projects have included explorations into the psychology of progress, consumerism, desire, and transhuman technologies. My empirical work falls largely under the social psychological sub-field of experimental existential psychology and incorporates Buddhist and transpersonal perspectives on existential and social struggles. Previous projects have examined the relationships between self-construal, death anxiety, and social issues (including prejudice and discrimination and moral disengagement, as well as techno-ethics and attitudes towards transhuman/posthuman technologies).
Future research will likely include investigations into the potential benefits of compassion practices in reducing existential anxieties and facilitating prosocial behaviors. Additionally, I am interested in conducting a series of discourse analysis studies examining critical and existential themes in current science/speculative fiction film and literature.
I would be excited to involve students in my work and to support students in their own research endeavors.
Critical, existential, Buddhist, humanistic, transpersonal, and social psychologies; death studies; mindfulness and compassion
Peer-Reviewed Book Chapter
Grant, A. S. (2017). “What exactly are we trying to accomplish? The role of desire in transhuman visions.” In C. Mercer & T. J. Trothen (Eds.), Religion and Human Enhancement: Death, Values, and Morality (pp. 121–138). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
Manuscripts Submitted to Peer-Reviewed Journals
Grant, A. S. (2017) Engineering Immortality: Exploring the Effects of Mortality Salience on Transhuman Attitudes. Under revision.
Grant, A. S. (2017). The onward march: An existentially grounded psychological exploration of progress. Submitted for review.
Grant, A. S. (2016). Will human potential carry us beyond human? A humanistic inquiry into transhumanism. Submitted for review.
Engineering Immortality: Exploring the Effects of Mortality Salience on Transhuman Attitudes (Paper), APA Division 24 Midwinter Conference, 2018.
The Onward March: An Existentially Grounded Psychological Exploration of Progress (Poster), Psychology and the Other Conference, 2017.
The Role of Psychology in the Emerging Transhuman Subject (Paper), APA Division 24 Midwinter Conference, 2017.
Desire Be Our Guide: A Buddhist Critique of Desire and Aversion in the Transhuman Movement (Paper), APA Division 36 Midyear Conference, 2017.
Using Qualtrics in Experimental Research (Guest Lecture), University of West Georgia, 2017.
On Progress: A Psychological Inquiry into the Making of the Future (Poster), APA Annual Convention, Division 24, 2016.
Spiritual, Religious, and Psychological Implications of Transhuman Technologies (Directed Discussion), APA Annual Convention: Division 36 Hospitality Suite, 2016.
Will Human Potential Carry Us Beyond Being Human? A Humanistic Inquiry into Transhuman Pursuits (Paper), Duquesne/University of West Georgia Human Science Symposium, 2016.
Self as Worldview: A Buddhist Perspective on the Problem of Terror Management (Poster), APA Division 36 Midyear Conference, 2016.
Trying Not to Die – An Existential Exploration of Radical Life Extension Technologies (Paper), University of West Georgia Student Psychology Annual Research Conference, 2015,
The Science of Consumption: Modern Implications of an Ancient Reward System (Paper), University of West Georgia Student Psychology Annual Research Conference, 2011.
Relationships Between Cognitive Flexibility, Mindfulness, And Meditation (Paper), Carolinas Undergraduate Psychology Conference, 2006.
Humanistic Psychology Award, 2011, University of West Georgia