I am Professor of Chinese Philosophy and Fellow and Moral Tutor at Queen’s with responsibility for undergraduate and postgraduate students in Oriental Studies. My research and teaching interests lie in early Chinese philosophy.
For my undergraduate years, I read Classical Chinese Literature and Philology (zhongwen xi) at National Taiwan University. I subsequently moved to Heidelberg, Germany, to continue my studies in Sinology and Philosophy. I obtained my PhD at Leiden University, The Netherlands. I have been a visiting scholar at Princeton University; Renmin University, Beijing; National Taiwan University, Taipei. In the academic year 2014–2015, I was the Bernhard Karlgren Fellow of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study. I am Senior Research Fellow of Jao Tsung-I Academy (JAS), Hong Kong Baptist University; Senior Research Fellows of United International College (UIC), Zhuhai; Adjunct Professor at Yuelu Academy, University of Hunan.
I am Founding Director of the Centre for Manuscript and Text Cultures at Oxford (CMTC), which examines material aspects of writing and text production, as well as transmission and the interface between the oral and the written, across pre-modern literate societies. Central to the Centre’s activities are once-termly workshops, twice-termly colloquia, and yearly conferences. The Centre also hosts a media channel (CMTC media) and a new journal, Manuscript and Text Cultures (MTC), for which I serve as Senior Editor together with Angus M. Bowie. The production editor is Yegor Grebnev, UIC. The double-blind peer-reviewed journal appears in themed issues, digitally and in print.
I am responsible for the faculty’s Chinese Philosophy teaching and text reading classes at both undergraduate and graduate levels. I give lectures, tutorials, and classes on influential Chinese philosophers including Mengzi, Xunzi, Zhuangzi. In addition to this I teach special subjects (classes, lectures, and tutorials) such as Text and Manuscript Cultures in Early China; The Myth of the Confucian Classics in the Warring States Period; Interrelation of pre-codified Shu (Documents); Argumentation in Early Chinese Philosophy; Early Chinese Textuality. I normally supervise up to eight PhD students.
My research is problem-based and studies the form of an argument in philosophical discourse. By exploring the strategies of thought production in ancient China and the interplay of material conditions and ideas, I’m developing a philological philosophy that foregrounds the socio-material basis of systematic thinking. My books range from discussions of the strategies of meaning production in the Shangshu (Venerated Documents), the Shijing (The Classic of Songs), to excavated manuscripts from the Warring States period. (Recent books include: Philosophy on Bamboo: Text and the Production of Meaning in Early China, Brill 2012; Literary Forms of Argument in Early China, co-edited with Joachim Gentz, Brill 2015; Origins of Chinese Political Philosophy: Studies in the Composition and Thought of the Shangshu (Classic of Documents), co-edited with Martin Kern, Brill 2017; 竹上之思:早期中國的文本與意義生成 (a translation of Philosophy on Bamboo), Zhonghua 2021; Documentation and Argument in Early China: The Shangshu (Venerated Documents) and the Shu Traditions, De Gruyter 2022; Songs of the Royal Zhōu and the Royal Shào: Shī of the Ānhuī University Manuscripts, co-authored with Adam Schwartz, Brill 2022.).
For a list of publications, please see my faculty website.