I am an intellectual historian of premodern China, focusing on the history of ethics, moral psychology, and epistemology in the Warring States (4th-3rd centuries BCE) and Tang-Song (7th-12th centuries CE) periods. My questions are broadly philosophical but in terms of my source material and methodology, I am at the crossroads of a number of disciplines, including cultural history, religion, political thought, literature and the visual arts.
My two current book projects cover the evolution of thinking about emotions in premodern China from roughly 400 BCE to 1200 CE. The Emotions in Early Chinese Philosophy, which deals with the early phase of this history, will be completed at the end of 2015. The sequel to this study, covering the period of early empire to 1200, is in preparation.
In my work on emotions, and in more recent investigations – which focus on conceptions of the self and the human, models of cognition, and the theory and practice of landscapes – I have been exploring how past ways of thinking about human attributes, faculties, and capacities are interwoven with ideas about the workings of the physical world. This interest has led me in recent years to explore intersections between my research topics and the history and philosophy of science.
- Ph.D. Harvard University
- M.A. Harvard University
- B.A. University of California, Berkeley
Selected Recent Publications:
- “The Intelligence of Emotions? Debates over the Structure of Moral Life in Early China.” L’Atelier du Centre de Recherches Historiques (Forthcoming 2015).
- “Bridging the Divide: Literature, Dao and the Case for Subjective Access in the Thought of Su Shi.” Humanities Journal 3.4 (2014), pp. 567-584.
- “Self-cultivation as Praxis in Song Neo-Confucianism.” John Lagerwey ed., Modern Chinese Religion. Value Systems in Transformation. Brill (2014), pp. 1187-1232.
- “Early Confucian Perspectives on Emotions.” Vincent Shen and Kwong-loi Shun eds., Dao Companion to Classical Chinese Philosophy. Springer (2014), pp. 203-226.
- “Emotions and Human Agency in the Thought of Zhu Xi.” Journal of Song Yuan Studies 37(2007), pp. 49-88.
Recent Courses Taught:
- Vision in Chinese Art and Philosophy
- The Art of Memory in China and the West
- Medieval Chinese Civilization
- Thinking about Emotions in Traditional China