“History of Philosophies, East and West” MA Program

I am pleased to announce that a new joint Master of Arts Program by the Asian & Asian American Studies Department and Philosophy Department at Stony Brook University has just been approved: “History of Philosophies, East and West.”

To see the program’s brochure, with basic information about themes, course offerings and teaching faculty, click here:

Please feel free to share this information with your recent graduates and with others who may be interested. The program has been very recently approved by the SUNY administration and we are hoping to bring the first entering class of MA students to Stony Brook in the fall 2015 semester.

Note that the Stony Brook University graduate tuition for New York state residents is at this time $5,900 for a 12 credit semester load; for non-residents, it is $10,810.50 for a 12 credit semester load.

I will gladly answer any questions about the program, including giving more detailed information about applying. You may contact me at andrew.nicholson@stonybrook.edu.

About Andrew Nicholson

I am an Associate Professor at the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the author of two books, Unifying Hinduism: Philosophy and Identity in Intellectual History and Lord Śiva's Song: The Īśvara Gītā.

9 Replies to ““History of Philosophies, East and West” MA Program”

  1. That looks like a great program! Did you have much difficulty settling on curriculum? How about getting it approved by SUNY?
    How do you see the aim of the program? (Are you thinking that most students would aim at applying to a PhD program?)

    Congratulations on getting the program started!

  2. great idea, also insofar as it joins two different departments, congratulations! Please update us about its first students and the various problems and opportunities you and they might encounter.

  3. Thanks for the enthusiasm, everyone.

    The program is absolutely brand new, which is why it is not currently listed on the websites of either Philosophy or Asian and Asian American Studies at Stony Brook. We’re under some time pressure to receive and review applications for MA students, so please do let people know that than can apply (for 2015 we will have rolling admissions, then probably a Feb. 15 admissions deadline for the 2016 applicants).

    This program was only made possible by a collaboration with some remarkably open-minded and far-sighted colleagues in Stony Brook’s philosophy department, who understand how problematic it is that most philosophy departments only teach European and North American philosophers. (Can you imagine if history or literature graduate programs only taught those two continents?) Right now it’s just an MA program, but based on how things go, we may expand to a Ph.D. program in the future. I also hope that we will eventually be able to incorporate the history of African and South American philosophies into the program.

    We expect that students who complete MA program will afterwards have a strong foundation to move to Ph.D. programs in three areas: Philosophy, Asian Studies, or Religion. There may also be students who do the program without the intention to continue to the Ph.D. (for instance, a high school social studies teacher who is already certified to teach, but would like an MA as another credential, and who thinks she might improve her ability to teach German and Chinese history by knowing more about Hegel and Chuang-tzu).

    • Thank you, Andrew, for your answer. May I ask you further which translations do you plan to use? If you have already a clear idea, would you mind discussing it in a separate post? I think that this is a problem we all have to face and it might be interesting to exchange ideas about what can be used and how.

      • Elisa and Nic, I’m sorry that I only just saw this question.

        I can’t speak for other faculty teaching in the program (William Chittick, I’d imagine, will be using many of his own published translations of Arabic and Persian texts), but for a class called “Buddhism and Early Vedanta” next semester, I’ll be using the following:

        Jay Garfield, “The Fundamental Wisdom of the Middle Way” (trans. of Nāgārjuna’s Mūlamadhyamakakārikā)

        Stefan Anacker, “Seven Works of Vasubandhu” (we will read his translations of the Triṃśikā and Viṃśatikā)

        Richard King “Early Advaita Vedanta and Buddhism” (appendix contains a translation of the Gauḍapādakārikā)

        Sengaku Mayeda, “A Thousand Teachings” (translation of Śaṅkara’s Upadeśasāhasrī)

        K.A. Subramania Iyer, “The Vākyapadīya of Bhartṛhari, with the Vṛtti, Chapter I” (students will read selected parts of ch. 1)

        Of these, the only translation I am not happy with is Anacker’s. Anyone know of any better translations of Vasubandhu’s Yogācāra works?

  4. I haven’t yet read the new translation of the MMK by Siderits and Katsura, but it’s something to keep in mind (not for Vasubandhu of course, but in relation to the general discussion).

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