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    I am a PhD student and Vanier Scholar in philosophy at the University of British Columbia, where I work with Evan Thompson, Cat Prueitt, and Dom Lopes. I primarily work on imagination, emotion, and Indian philosophy, especially rasa aesthetic theory. I draw on Classical Sanskrit and anglophone Indian source materials in my research. I am also a publishing poet, and hold an MFA in poetry from the University of Virginia. As a Poe-Faulkner Fellow there, I taught poetry workshops and and served as Editor-in-Chief for the literary magazine Meridian.

     

     

  • Research Projects

    Please reach out if you would like to see a draft.

    K. C. Bhattacharyya proposed a distinctively modern theory of rasa, or aesthetic emotion, according to which aesthetic emotions are feelings that have other feelings as their intentional objects. This paper articulates how Bhattacharyya's theory offers a novel solution to the "paradox of sorrow": a puzzle about how it is both possible and rational to enjoy the kind of negative emotions that are inspired by tragic and sorrowful tales. Bhattacharyya's solution is distinct from the conversion and compensation views that dominate the existing literature, and it derives its significance from how it ties aesthetic experience to self-awareness.

    Daydreaming as Spontaneous Immersive Imagination: A Phenomenological Analysis

    with Evan Thompson 
    Published: Philosophy and the Mind Sciences

    Research on the specific features of daydreaming compared with mind wandering and night-dreaming is a neglected topic in the philosophy of mind and the cognitive neuroscience of spontaneous thought. The extant research either conflates daydreaming with mind-wandering, treats daydreaming and mind-wandering as opposed, or characterizes daydreaming as any and all “imagined events.” These imprecise, dueling definitions pose an obstacle to future research in spontaneous thought. They also fail to illuminate the phenomenal core of daydreaming, namely, its dreamlike qualities. We argue that daydreaming is spontaneous immersive imagination in the waking state. Our investigation distinguishes daydreaming, conceptually and phenomenologically, from mind-wandering and night-dreaming. We also distinguish prototypical experiences of daydreaming from adjacent imaginative activity, including fleeting imagery and deliberate fantasy. We argue that precision about the phenomenal character of daydreaming can guide neurophenomenological investigations, including, for instance, assessing reports of so-called “maladaptive daydreaming.”

    Rasa and Ugliness at the End: Doing Deathbed Aesthetics with K. C. Bhattacharyya

     

    Dying can be ugly. This fact is relevant to the growing subfield of everyday aesthetics, and to all of us as mortal beings. Disgusting aesthetic experiences seem to impose a limit on the dying person’s aesthetic agency. If aversion is a warranted response to disgusting aesthetic properties in everyday contexts, we might think that the only coherent responses to it are warranted aversion or unwarranted enjoyment. I argue for a third option: “courageous love” is awarranted, positive aesthetic-emotional response to the disgusting. In his 1930 essay “The Concept of Rasa,” Krishnachandra Bhattacharyya (K. C. Bhattacharyya, KCB, 1875–1949) offers a distinctly modern interpretation of Classical Indian aesthetic theory. On his account, we can imaginatively evoke other perspectives that make positive aesthetic emotions possible in everyday settings, even when they include disgust. In this context, imagination re-acquaints us with the real. KCB’s discussion of “courageous love” suggests a long-term aesthetic practice we have reason to undertake as though our death depends on it. (in process)

    Savoring Rasa in Horror Fictions: An Abhinavaguptan Solution to the Paradox of Horror

    Since Noël Carroll introduced the “paradox of horror” in 1990, his account of art-horror’s seduction has remained dominant in anlytic aesthetics. His view is that when consuming horror fictions, we are frightened and disgusted by the thought that there are beings whose properties are propositionally disclosed by these fictions. On his compensatory solution to the paradox, we enjoy not this fright and disgust, but co-existent, intellectual fascination with plot. Rasa aesthetic theory, as understood by Abhinavagupta (Kashmir,c. 975-1025), can intervene with an alternate solution. Positing that we directly experience distinct aesthetic emotions (rasas) which are generalized, atemporalized, and non-subject-indexed not only dissolves the paradox of horror, but allows us to cash out art-horror’s pleasures in terms of altered states characterized by wonder, or bewilderment (camatkāra). (in process)

  • Selected Poetry (& Prose) Publications

     

    Lyric Essays:

    The Adroit Journal: Djanikian Scholar Award Portfolio

    Palette Poetry: "Sand Flats, UT" Winner of the 2022 Love & Eros Prize, selected by Kaveh Akbar, 2023 Pushcart Prize Nominee

    The Adroit Journal: "Passenger Car," "Dining Car," and "Viewing Car" , Issue 42, 2022

    Fugue: "Quiet Car," 2023 Pushcart Prize Nominee

    Sonoran Review: "Flaming Gorge, UT" (Print)

    The Indiana Review: "Coal Hollow Fire, UT" (Print) Winner of the 2019 1/2 K Prize

    About Place Journal: "Things We Found Out There"

     

    Lyric Poems:

    The Adroit Journal: "Exorcism" and "Past Tense" , Issue 43, 2022

    Witness Magazine: "Deinotherium Elegy" (Print): Winner of the 2022 Witness Award in Poetry

    Sixth Finch: "Primate Elegy"

    Frontier Poetry: "Migration Elegy"

    Muzzle Magazine: "Metaphysics is a Dead Field"

    Birdfeast Magazine: "Bedroom," "Living Room," and "Laundry Room"

    Poiesis: "Dining Room," "Storage Room," and "Garden Room"

    Waxwing Literary Magazine: "Map Room," "Play Room," and "Panic Room"

    Thrush Poetry Journal: "Darkroom" Orinson Prize Nominee; Verse Daily Web Weekly Feature

    DIAGRAM: "Between Stations"

    BOAAT: "Murmuration Elegy"

     

    Weird Short Fiction:

    BOOTH Magazine: "Hosting" - 2022 Pushcart Prize Nominee; 2022 Best of the Net Nominee

     

    Reviews:

    Meridian: "Review: The Popul Vuh, Translated from the K’iche’ by Michael Bazzett" ,

    Meridian: “Review: You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld.” (Print) Meridian.(41): 114-116.

     

    Interviews:

    Palette Poetry: "Interview with Emily Lawson" by A. T. Hincapie

    The Philosopher's Nest S1E9: "Emily Lawson on Indian Philosophy, Death, and Imagination" 

     

     

  • Selected Recent and Upcoming Talks

    May 20, 2023:

    "Rasa and Negative Emotion"

    Rasa 101 Workshop,University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

     

    November 18-21, 2023:

    Hindu Philosophy Roundtable on Poetic Meaning

    American Academy of Religion, San Antonio, TX


    March 10, 2023:

    "Doing Deathbed Aesthetics with K. C. Bhattacharyya," ASA Pacific Division Annual Meeting, Berkeley, CA

     

    March 2, 2023:

    “Daydreaming as Spontaneous Immersive Imagination”

    Uehiro Philosophy Conference at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI

     

    February 25, 2023:

    “Everyday Aesthetics and Deathbed Experiences"

    International Association of Japanese Philosophy. (IAJP) Topic: Yuriko Saito's Philosophy

    APA Central Division, Denver, CO

     

    November 23, 2022

    "Towards a Yogacāra-Informed Enactive Approach to Dreams," Author Meets Critics Session: Sonam Kachru, Other Lives: Mind and World in Indian Buddhism, American Academy of Religion, Denver, CO

     

     

    November 20, 2022

    “An Abhinavaguptan Solution to the Paradox of Horror,” Author Meets Critics Session: James Reich, To Savor the Meaning: The Theology of Literary Emotions in Medieval Kashmir, American Society for Aesthetics Conference, Portland, OR

     

    October 16, 2022

    “Courageous Love: K. C. Bhattacharyya and the Paradox of Painful Beauty,” Workshop on K. C. Bhattacharyya, Smith College, Northampton, MA

     

  • CONTACT

    Philosophy Department, Buchanan Hall, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC