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Erica Brindley

Erica Brindley

Professor of Asian Studies, History, and Philosophy

201B Old Botany Building
Office Phone: (814) 867-3261

Curriculum Vitae

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


Erica Brindley is an intellectual and cultural historian of early China (500 BC to 200 CE) and the author of three monographs and on ancient Chinese thought and intellectual history, including Individualism in Early China: Human Agency and the Self in Thought and Politics (University of Hawaii Press, 2010); Music, Cosmology, and the Politics of Harmony in Early China (State University of New York Press, 2012); and Ancient China and the Yue: Perceptions and Identities on the Southern Frontier, c.400 BCE - 50 CE (Cambridge University Press, 2015). In addition, she is the co-author of two edited volumes and has written many articles on a wide variety of themes, including music, the self, identity and ethnicity, creativity, moral psychology, and cross-cultural interactions and impacts. Her interests include the philosophical and religious texts, cultural norms, and political cultures that were born and flourished in pre-modern China and all of Asia. She is 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/Southeast Asian coast. Most recently, she has been researching Hua-xia and Yue (Viet) identities and interactions in the early history of China's southern frontier. She serves on the Board of Early China and is a member of the Editorial Collective for the journal, Verge.

Recent Publications:

Ancient China and the Yue: Perceptions and Identities on the Southern Frontier, c.400 BCE - 50 CE. Cambridge University Press, September  2015.

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.

Co-editor, Maritime Frontiers in Asia: Sino-Viet Relations in the 2nd Millennium CE. Special volume and “Introduction” in Asia Major 27.2 (November, 2014). Based on the proceedings of the conference, “Maritime Frontiers in Asia: Indigenous Communities and State Control in South China and Southeast Asia, 2000 BCE – 1800 CE, Penn State University, April 12-13, 2013.” (Organized by Erica Brindley and Kathlene Baldanza).

Co-editor, Heng Xian and Early Chinese Philosophy. Special volume and “Introduction” in Dao 12.2 (June 2013). Based on the proceedings of the workshop, “Reading and Understanding the Heng xian,” Penn State University, November 12-14, 2010. (Organized by Erica Brindley).

“Authoring Non-Action in Early China,” Journal of Chinese Philosophy, special volume by Tim Connolly, ed., Action Theory in Chinese Philosophy, December 2014, forthcoming, late 2015.

“Spontaneous Arising: Creative Change in the Hengxian,” Journal of Daoist Religions 9 (2016): 1-17.

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