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Erica Brindley

Erica Brindley

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Asian Studies

209 Weaver Building
University Park , PA 16802
Office Phone: (814) 865-3968

Curriculum Vitae

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  1. PhD, Princeton University, 2002
  2. BA, Princeton University, 1993


I am an intellectual and cultural historian of early China (500 BC to 200 AD). My interests include the philosophical and religious texts, cultural norms, and political cultures that were born and flourished during this time. I am also interested in the history of identity and cross-cultural interactions between the sinitic cultures of the North and their southern neighbors along the East Asian coast. Most recently, I have been studying Yue (Viet) ethnicity in the early history of China's southern frontier. This latter project has gotten me involved in the early history of Vietnam as well as the regions of Canton and Fujian in modern-day southern China. Such a topic has necessitated that I make use of the archaeological record as well as the textual record with which I usually work. As a teacher I enjoy introducing students to the wide world of Asian history and philosophy, and I especially like leading class discussions on Chinese identity and frontier history, ideas of ethnicity and gender, and the nature of science, religion, and the body as reflected in pre-modern Chinese writings.

Recent Publications:

“The Cosmos as Creative Mind: Spontaneous Arising, Generating, and Creating in the Heng xian,” Dao, special volume on Heng xian and Early Chinese Philosophy, forthcoming, 2013.

Music, Cosmology, and the Politics of Harmony in Early China. State University of New York Press, August, 2012.

Individualism in Early China: Human Agency and the Self in Thought and Politics. University of Hawaii Press, 2010.

“Moral Autonomy and Particularistic Sources of Authority in the Analects,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy 38.2 (June, 2011): 257-273.

Awards and Service:

ACLS Comparative Perspectives on Chinese Culture and Society Conference Grant (2013)
Editorial Board Member: Early China (2010 - 2013)
Steering Committee Member, American Academy of Religion, Confucian Study Group (2008 - 2012)
Charles A. Ryskamp Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies (2011 - 2012)
Grant, American Council of Learned Societies/Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation (2010)

Recent Courses:

ASIA197A - Introduction to the Religions of the East
ASIA197B - Introduction to Buddhism
HIST483 - Chinese Society and Culture to 1800
HIST484 - History of Chinese Thought

Research Interests:

Ethnicity, cross-cultural interactions, frontier history; empire-building and colonial interventions; concepts of the self and body; concepts of creativity, moral psychology, and autonomy

Research Interests:

East Asia:
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