In spring 2014, I finished my PhD in Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania. For 2014-2016, I am a Mellon Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of English and Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University. For 2016-2017, I was a Fulbright Early Career Scholar in Brazil, where I spent time both at the Federal University of Bahia at the University of Sao Paulo. As of fall 2017, I am a Lecturer in the Writing Program at Princeton University. I have recently completed my first book manuscript, Unbearable Identities: The Global Origins of the Modern Self, from Montaigne to Suzuki. I was previously in the Critical Studies section of the Whitney Museum’s Independent Study Program, and a Sauve Scholar at McGill University. My published academic articles can be viewed here.
My academic and creative work engages interdisciplinary research to challenge the conceptual frames through which we understand global culture. This has meant, for example, bringing the insights of global history to bear on critical theory in my first book, and an in-depth reading of Buddhist studies to challenge lingering prejudices about Buddhism in my second one. In my essays and criticism, I write across disciplines including anthropology, art history, literature, political science, philosophy, and religious studies. I also take insights from these studies for my fictional writing – an in-development series of novels, experimental fictions, and screenplays. Finally, with Danny Snelson and Mashinka Firunts as the collective Research Service, I work to combine academic scholarship with creative writing and performance.
My writings focus primarily on what it means to be at once a private individual and a global subject, and how this dual demand has shaped modernity. This work is imbued with what I’ve been calling radical and critical pluralism, which is to a say, a pluralism dedicated to exploring and protecting the multiplicities inherent within individuals and cultures, but that refuses to embrace just any existing reality and thus remains critical.
I am increasingly concerned with the loss of institutional outlets that can provide both intellectual and material sustenance for thinkers and cultural producers, especially after the shrinking of the public university. I have initiated several small-scale public intellectual initiatives, and am working to develop sustainable models to support critical work beyond traditional enclaves.
My current projects are a book about Buddhism and modern literature, culture and theory: Fragments and Ruins: Buddhism in the World of Literature; and a trade book arguing that we should not seek the good life of the individual, but rather The Good Enough Life for all of the world.