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NEH Summer Institute: Participants



Dennis Arjo is a Professor of Philosophy at Johnson County Community College and Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religion. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he worked in the areas of Philosophy of Mind and Language. Through his involvement in the Asian Studies Development Program he developed an interest in Chinese Philosophy, and Classical Confucianism in particular. His current interests are in Philosophy of Mind, Comparative Philosophy, and Philosophy of Education. He is the author of Paradoxes of Liberalism and Parental Authority (Lexington, 2012)


Eyal Aviv is an assistant professor at the George Washington University, in Washington D.C. His primary focus is Buddhist philosophy and intellectual history. He is interested in the Abhidharma and the Yogācāra philosophies and the way they converse with contemporary philosophy of mind and cognitive sciences. His intellectual history research focuses on religion in the modern period, especially the Buddhist renaissance in 20th century China. He recently completed a book manuscript about the revival of the Yogācāra school in modern China. He currently studies the debates about Buddhist Logic in contemporary China and the way that the concept of saṃsāra evolved in Buddhist thought


Amit Chaturvedi is a Ph.D. candidate in philosophy at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, specializing in the philosophy of perception and consciousness. His current research examines the roles of concepts, attention, and memory in structuring the contents of conscious perceptual experience. He is particularly interested in how these roles were understood by rival Nyāya and Buddhist philosophers, and how their respective theories of perception can contribute to contemporary debates over the existence of non-conceptual perception and reflexive self-awareness. Starting in the fall of 2018, he will be an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hong Kong.


Julianne Chung is presently assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Louisville and affiliated faculty for the linguistics and Asian studies programs there. Her primary areas of research are epistemology, the philosophy of language, aesthetics, and metaphysics (which she engage in a cross-cultural manner, specifically drawing from contemporary Anglo-analytic and classical to contemporary Chinese and Japanese philosophy). She is also associate editor of Oxford Studies in Epistemology and a member of the American Philosophical Association's committee on Asian and Asian-American Philosophers and Philosophies.


David Cummiskey is Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Bates College in Maine. He received an MA in Political Science and a PhD in Philosophy from the University of Michigan. Cummiskey’s research and publications focus on contemporary moral theory, political philosophy, intercultural ethics, and cross-cultural bioethics. His recent publications include discussions of Buddhist and Kantian ethics, Buddhist environmental ethics, and Buddhist political philosophy. He is the author of Kantian Consequentialism (Oxford) and is currently working on a manuscript on Buddhist Perfectionism, Liberalism, and Justice. In addition to philosophy, David enjoys skiing in the winter, sailing in the summer, and traveling.


Stephen Harris is Assistant Professor (Universitair Docent) at Leiden University, where he teaches in the Institute for Philosophy and the International B.A. program.  He has also taught philosophy at the University of New Mexico and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.  He specializes in Cross-Cultural and Indian philosophy, with a particular interest in Buddhist ethical texts.  He has published articles in several academic journals, including Sophia, Philosophy East and West, the Journal of Buddhist Ethics and the Journal of Indian Philosophy.



Natasha Heller is Associate Professor of Chinese Religions at the University of Virginia.  She studies Chinese Buddhism in the context of cultural and intellectual history, and is the author of Illusory Abiding: The Cultural Construction of the Chan Monk Zhongfeng Mingben (Harvard University Asia Center in 2014), a study of an eminent monk of the Yuan dynasty. She has published articles on rhinoceroses in Tang poetry, contemporary religious technology, and post-mortem retribution. Heller’s current book project concerns picture books published by Buddhist organizations in Taiwan.


Stephen Jenkins, Professor of Religion at Humboldt State University, received his doctorate from Harvard. He researches Buddhist concepts of compassion, their philosophical grounding, and ethical implications. His recent publications include: “Debate, Magic, and Massacre: The High Stakes and Ethical Dynamics of Battling Slanderers of the Dharma in Indian Narrative and Ethical Theory,” Journal of Religion and Violence, 2016; “Once the Buddha Was a Warrior,” in The Nature of Peace and the Morality of Armed Conflict, ed. Florian Demont-Biaggi, Palgrave, 2017, and "Buddhist Stairways to Heaven,” in Oxford Handbook of Buddhist Practice, Ed. Paula Arai, London: Oxford University, forthcoming 2018. 


Yaroslav Komarovski (Ph.D. University of Virginia, 2007) is Associate Professor of Classics and Religious Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His research focuses on Tibetan interpretations of Madhyamaka and Yogācāra approaches to reality and related epistemological, philosophical, and contemplative issues. In particular, he focuses on the writings of a seminal Tibetan Buddhist thinker Shakya Chokden (1428–1507) who articulated a startlingly new reconsideration of the core areas of Buddhist thought and practice. Among his books are Tibetan Buddhism and Mystical Experience (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015), and Visions of Unity: The Golden Paṇḍita Shakya Chokden’s New Interpretation of Yogācāra and Madhyamaka (Albany, New York: State University of New York Press, 2011).


Patricia M. Locke is a Tutor at St. John’s College, Annapolis MD, where she teaches across the curriculum. On SJC's Santa Fe campus, she teaches in the Eastern Classics MA program, which focuses on primary texts from India, China, and Japan. Dr. Locke is interested in phenomenology applied to biology, visual arts, and the experience of self. Her recent work includes  Merleau-Ponty: Space, Place, Architecture, ed. with Rachel McCann (Ohio UP, 2016), and an article challenging our notions of self, “Intimate Intertwining: A Merleau-Pontian Account of my Microbiata and Me” (Chiasmi International, January 2018). Her current manuscript in progress is The Nighttime World of Marcel Proust. Patricia Locke is also a painter.


Ana Laura Funes Maderey is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Connecticut State University. Her research interests involve topics related to bodily self-awareness in various contexts (theoretical: introspection and proprioception; and practical: yoga, health, gender), French phenomenology, somaesthetics, the influence of emotions in perception, embodied theories of mind, and the relation body-mind-consciousness as understood in Indian philosophies such as Yoga, Sāmkhya, Advaita Vedānta, and Kashmir Shaivism.



Heidi Maibom (Ph.D. University College London) is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati. She works on empathy, interpersonal understanding, responsibility, and moral emotions. She has just finished a manuscript on perspective taking, and is working on an introductory book on philosophy of empathy. She has edited several book collections, including Empathy and Morality (OUP, 2014), the Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of Empathy (2017)and (with Robyn Bluhm and Anne Jacobson), Neurofeminism: Issues at the Intersection of Feminist Theory and Cognitive Science (Palgrave Macmillan).


Minh Nguyen is Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies, Director of the Asian Studies Program, Associate Director of the Honors Program, and Coordinator of National and International Scholarships and Fellowships at Eastern Kentucky University. Minh began his teaching career as a part-time lecturer in philosophy in 1993 at Columbia University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, a master’s degree in philosophy, and a doctoral degree in philosophy, completing his dissertation on self-knowledge under the supervision of Dr. Akeel Bilgrami. His latest publication is an interdisciplinary edited collection New Essays in Japanese Aesthetics (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2018).


Antonia Peacocke works on issues in self-knowledge. She’s particularly interested in self-attribution of propositional attitudes and practical knowledge of mental actions. She also works in philosophy of literature, most recently focusing on phenomenal concept learning in poetry. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Next year she will join the Philosophy Department at NYU as a Bersoff Faculty Fellow. From there she will join the Philosophy Department at Stanford as an Assistant Professor.


Blakely Phillips has a PhD in philosophy from Indiana University, an MA from Tufts, and BA from St. John’s College.  She works on mental states and how we know and refer to them. This includes work on Fregean theories of demonstrative reference, bodily sensations, awareness of mental states, the transparency of experience, and the contents of desires.


Catherine Prueitt is an Assistant Professor of Buddhist Philosophy at George Mason University. Her research engages premodern South Asian understandings of how humans construct and experience their worlds. She focuses on a theory of concept formation drawn from the Sanskrit works of the 7th century CE Buddhist Dharmakīrti, as well as on how two later 10th-11th century Hindu philosophers, Utpaladeva and Abhinavagupta, adapt and expand this theory. She finds that these traditions provide innovative perspectives for understanding embodiment in the everyday world. Her teaching interests lie in premodern South Asian religions, religion in contemporary popular discourse, and cross-cultural philosophy.


Michael Roche earned his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and is currently a lecturer at Mississippi State University. He works in the philosophy of mind, with an emphasis on self-knowledge/introspection. His work on self-knowledge has appeared in ErkenntnisAmerican Philosophical QuarterlyPhilosophy of SciencePhilosophical Quarterly, and Review of Philosophy and Psychology. He just completed a paper critically evaluating Fred Dretske’s later work on authority and privileged access, and is currently working on papers concerning awareness of one's desires and perceptual experiences. Outside of philosophy, he enjoys music, sports, and the outdoors.


Katia Samoilova (Ph.D. in Philosophy from Brown University) is Assistant Professor in philosophy at California State University, Chico. Her areas of specialization are philosophy of mind and epistemology, while her research interests include philosophy of psychology and cognitive science, metaphysics, and philosophy of action. She is particularly interested in the nature of the various cognitive capacities, such as perception, introspection, and reasoning, and how they contribute to our rationality. Her publications thus far have been dedicated to the nature of introspection and self-knowledge. Currently she is working on the influence of cognition on perception, and the nature of reasoning as a mental action. In her spare time, she enjoys hiking, movies, playing the piano, and other people's cats (for the lack of her own).


Karl Schmid is a graduate student at Emory University. His research interests lie in cross-cultural philosophy, with a focus on Indian Buddhism in relation to contemporary philosophy of mind. In particular, he work on philosophy of meditation, and on the topics of know-how, epistemology of perception, and ethical development. He is currently writing a dissertation on Kamalaśīla’s theory of vipaśyanā, insight meditation, and how it changes the way a practitioner observes and responds to the world. 


Matt Shockey (Ph.D. Chicago, 2004) is Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Indiana University South Bend. Most of his published essays, as well as a nearly completed book manuscript, develop a reading of Heidegger’s project of fundamental ontology in the 1920s, which sees it as revising and extending the subject-centered a priorism that defines the work of Descartes and Kant. He has plans for a second book on the nature and place of metaphysical self-knowledge in the work of Malebranche, Locke, and Leibniz, as well as growing interests in philosophical issues surrounding food and work.


John Schwenkler (Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley) is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Florida State University. His research is in the philosophy of mind, action, and cognitive science. His work has appeared in several academic journals, including Analysis, Cognitive Science, Noûs, Philosophy Compass, Philosophical Explorations, and Philosophical Studies. Schwenkler is the editor of the Brains Blog. For the past several years he has taught an undergraduate course on self-knowledge that focuses on portrayals of the self in great works of fiction. 


Davey Tomlinson is completing his dissertation in Philosophy of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School. He is interested in the relation between practice, religious commitment, and philosophy of mind in Indian and Tibetan Buddhist thought. His work is focused on a debate about self-awareness and the status of mental content in two eleventh-century Indian Buddhists, Ratnākaraśānti and Jñānaśrīmitra, and devotes special attention to the practical and buddhological context of their ideas.


Hannah Trees is a fourth year philosophy graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. Her primary research interests include self-knowledge, introspection, and feminist epistemology. She is currently working on a paper that uses feminist and queer epistemology to critique popular analytic approaches to theorizing about self-knowledge. 


Anand Jayprakash Vaidya is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Comparative Philosophy at San Jose State University. He works on the nature of mind, knowledge, reality, and social justice from a cross-cultural and multi-disciplinary perspective. Vaidya work has appeared in several academic journals, including Comparative Philosophy, ErkenntnisJournal of Consciousness StudiesMetaphilosophyPhilosophical PsychologyPhilosophy East and West, and Sophia.



Tadeusz Wieslaw Zawidzki is Associate Professor and Chair of Philosophy at George Washington University. He received his BA in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa, Canada, his MA in Philosophy of Cognitive Science from the University of Sussex, UK, and his PhD from the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program at Washington University in St. Louis. Zawidzki is the author or co-author of twenty-six articles and book chapters on the philosophy of cognitive science, and author of two monographs: Dennett (2007, Oneworld), and Mindshaping (2013, MIT Press). He is founding member and co-director of George Washington University’s Mind-Brain Institute, administering its Mind/Brain Studies Minor.