Virág, Curie

Curie profile photo EASCurie Virág (Ph.D., Harvard University)

Assistant Professor
Department of East Asian Studies, RL14118A
E-mail: curie[dot]virag[at]utoronto[dot]ca

I work in the fields of premodern Chinese philosophy and intellectual history (Warring States to 12th century), working primarily on the philosophy of emotions, cognition and subjectivity. I am particularly interested in how our ways of understanding the self and the human being are intertwined with our ideas about the workings of the natural world. I am also interested in how this nexus of convergences shapes our values and our conceptions of the moral life.

These some of the themes I deal with in my new book, The Emotions in Early Chinese Philosophy, which has been recently released by Oxford University Press.

During winter terms 2017 and 2018, I will be teaching at Central European University (CEU) with a grant from the CEU Humanities Initiative to conduct research and to teach courses in Chinese philosophy and intellectual culture in the departments of Philosophy and Medieval Studies. Under the auspices of this project I am also running a lecture series called The Human and the Sciences of Nature: Chinese and Comparative Perspectives. This series is supported by a European Region Lecture Series Grant from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation in Taiwan.

In summer 2016 I organized and co-directed a Summer University Course at CEU devoted to explorations of humanness across cultures, called What Makes Us Human? Philosophical and Religious Perspectives in China and the West.

Since Fall 2017 I have been splitting my time among Toronto, Budapest and Edinburgh, working as Senior Research Fellow and Co-Project Director (with Professor Niels Gaul, University of Edinburgh, as Principal Investigator) of a cross-cultural China-Byzantium research project funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant (2017-2022), called “Classicising Learning in Medieval Imperial Systems: Cross-cultural Approaches to Byzantine Paideia and Tang/Song Xue.” The press release for this project can be found here.

Academic Background:

  • Ph.D. Harvard University
  • M.A. Harvard University
  • B.A. University of California, Berkeley

Work in Progress:

  • “Penetrating Knowledge: Cognition and Cosmic Flow in Early and Medieval Chinese Philosophy” (article)
  • “The Emotions in Medieval China” (Book project)
  • “The Kinesthetics of Knowing: Mobility as a Cognitive Paradigm in Premodern China” (Book project)
  • “Achieving Intimate Familiarity: Reading as a Devotional Practice in Song Neo-Confucianism” (Article)
  • “Landscape and Longing: On the Perils of Gazing from a Height in Traditional China” (Article)

Selected Recent Articles:

  • “The Intelligence of Emotions? Debates over the Structure of Moral Life in Early China.” L’Atelier du Centre de Recherches Historiques (June 2016).
  • “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:

  • PHL 337H1F (Topics in Chinese Philosophy) Early Chinese Philosophy
  • TBB199H1F (First Year Seminar) Nature, Human Nature and the Good Life
  • EAS 214 Early Chinese Cultural History
  • EAS 215 History of Chinese Thought, Tang through Ming
  • HUM 199 Vision in Chinese Art and Philosophy
  • EAS 413 Medieval Chinese Civilization
  • EAS 344 Thinking about Emotions in Traditional China