Working with Ike Sharpless on a session on science fiction and the environment, I was introduced to the dark science fiction series Black Mirror. One episode of this series, "Fifteen Million Merits," particularly affected my appreciation of how science fiction can propose new ways of thinking about the environment, something that has been my concern for a while now.
I often get asked what I am doing, and as any academic I have had to learn how to present my research in an accessible manner. Below, I have (with permission) posted a letter to the Friends of the International Center, who kindly sponsored my research this past summer. In it, I present my research…Read more My dissertation in plain language
Recently, Suzanne Cahill and I finished our collaborative translation of the Record of Linji, something that has been a weekly project for a year now. I look back on this experience with great satisfaction. Following are some random observations on the process of translating a Chinese Zen text: Zen masters are like Nietzsche: they maintain…Read more Some thoughts on Linji
Peter Haskel's study of the Zen monk Takuan Sōhō (CE 1573–1645) provides a nuanced, in-depth analysis of a topic that is all-too often dominated by nonsense. As a professor of medieval Chinese history told me recently, despite the enthusiasm of undergraduate and graduate students to investigate the connection between Zen and the martial arts, until…Read more Thoughts on Peter Haskel’s “Sword of Zen: Master Takuan and His Writings on Immovable Wisdom and the Sword Taie”