Curie Virag

Humanities Initiative Fellow
University of Toronto, Canada
Project Title: 
Emotions in Medieval China
Project Abstract: 

My main project is to write up my book manuscript, "Emotions in Medieval China." In this book I examine the evolving history of conceptions of emotions from 3rd – 12th centuries CE, focusing on the triangular relationship among the discourse of emotions, values, and conceptions of the self. I trace the intense debates within which discussions of emotions are enmeshed, and the process by which the "mainstream" ethical ideal in traditional China – namely, that emotions are patterned, intelligent expressions of the "moral nature" and could thus serve as the grounds of individual moral agency – came to be formulated in the 11th and 12th centuries. My concern is to explain how, why, and with what implications, such a norm came to be established, and to work out how the trajectory of development in China can illuminate our understanding of how the "self" comes to be configured more generally.

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