Main Areas of Research and Interest:
- Remix Theory
- Philosophy and Religion in Popular Culture
- Buddhist Philosophy
- Ironic Activism
- Pirate Politics
- Religious Dimensions of Alcohol Production/Consumption
- Apocalyptic Zombie Narratives
- Absurdist/Existential Fiction
- Zen Practice
- Animal and Environmental Ethics
- Urban Foraging
- Open Source/Access and Digital Privacy
My doctoral work revolved around the development of a model for studying how religious traditions (and by extension, cultural traditions in general) change and evolve over time: what I termed, Remix+/-. This work was predicated upon an application of remix theory and conceptual metaphor theory, and focused on the challenges it presents for concepts like authority, authenticity, and originality. Most of my examples and case studies centered on Buddhist thought and culture. Recent publications, presentations, and blog posts engage with this research as it continues to develop, and I’m in the process of remixing the main theoretical portion of my dissertation into something more article-friendly and accessible.
I’m currently working on an application of remix theory – and more specifically, an application of the metaphorical correspondences and framework I developed in my dissertation – to the study of anicca (impermanence) and paṭiccasamuppāda (interdependence/dependent origination) in Buddhist philosophy. I’m also working on an examination of the intersection between bricolage and the Buddhist concept upāya (skillful means/skill in means).
I recently contributed a chapter to the volume Punk and Philosophy: God Save the Queen (of the Sciences), edited by Josh Heter and Richard Greene, titled, “Close Your Eyes, Breathe, and Stick it to the Man.” It should be published August 2022. Here’s the initial abstract:
Buddhist thought and punk subcultures probably don’t come across at first glance as complementary models for attaining a similar sort of well-being and life without suffering. But, in many ways, they both embody and advocate principles that equally demand the raising of one’s fists in an attempt to put an end to an unsatisfying, oppressive, and cyclic existence. Punk-rocking monks like Brad Warner have been writing about it since the early 2000s (starting with his popular Hardcore Zen in 2003), Noah Levine fleshed out the Buddha’s anti-authoritarian inner punk in Dharma Punx (2004) and inaugurated an entire movement predicated on it for addiction recovery, and Buddhist scholar Glenn Wallis and his dharma-influenced punk rock band Ruin were taking Philadelphia clubs through revved-up enlightening waves of decibels as early as the 1980s. Examples like these demonstrate that some of those aggressive, violent, and solely individualistic sensibilities often associated with punk ideology are often poorly-channeled manifestations of the pointed call for social reform, a shakedown of hierarchical and unjust structures, and collective revolt in pursuit of change that characterizes punk’s underpinnings. They also demonstrate the relevancy such principles and impassioned combinatory movements continue to have in cultural spaces today that aim to resolve personal and global turmoil. Drawing on those individuals listed above, along with the Buddha’s teachings and mid-twentieth-century movements (such as the Situationist International) that influenced punk’s formative period, this chapter demonstrates the congruence principles and concerns related to direct action, anti-establishment, anti-authoritarianism, the creation of radical social situations, DIY ethics, straight edge, egalitarianism, humanitarianism, non-human animal rights, and so on have between these two contexts.