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Emily FitzGerald

Lecturer of Philosophy

Emily is a PhD candidate at Columbia University in Philosophy of Religion. After graduating from Purchase in 2010, she taught English in Japan for two years and backpacked through parts of Asia and Central America for one year before returning to New York to pursue her Masters and MPhil. She has worked as a technical specialist at Apple, an SEO producer and editor for several websites, and an occasional martial arts instructor. She has been a Teaching Assistant for several courses at Columbia, including “Philosophy of Religion,” “Chinese Religious Traditions,” “East Asian Buddhism,” “Religion and the History of Hip Hop,” “Epidemics and Religion,” “Advanced Conflict Resolution,” and “Religion in America.”


More About Me

Recent Positions and Projects:

  • Senior Lead Teaching Fellow for the Columbia Center for Teaching and Learning
  • VP and Social Chair of the Columbia Religion Graduate Student Association
  • “Embodying Learning: Praxis as Theory” — Teaching artifact for an open education resource organized by fellow graduate students at Columbia, to be published this fall.
  • “The Mother, the Daughter, and the Wholly Monster: Personhood in Monstress” — article forthcoming in 2022 in Religion and Horror Comics from Claremont Press, CA.
  • Paper forthcoming in 2022 on virtual embodiment in martial arts for European Academy for Biopsychosocial Health (EAG) - Hückeswagen, Germany
  • “Holistic Embodiment: Eastern and Western Perspectives” — Purchase Philosophy Society talk, May 2021
  • “Beggars in Spain: The Meaning of Life without Work” — Columbia Graduate Student Conference in Religion

Research Interests

Emily is primarily interested in embodied ontology: what it means to exist in, with, and as our bodies. In that vein, she finds phenomenology, deconstruction, ritual theory, and certain strands of East Asian philosophy and religion to be most helpful in her work. Her dissertation, which she hopes to complete by summer 2023, is tentatively called Empty Hands: Becoming Virtually Embodied. In it, she uses her experience with and interest in martial arts, karate kata in particular, to explore the notion that embodiment itself is a kind of ritual technology that is sometimes virtual or imagined but always already given.

Representative Courses

  • Intro to Human Nature
  • Intro to Asian Thought
  • Classical Buddhist Philosophy