Charles Sanft F'17
ACLS Fellowship Program 2017
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Literate Community in Early Imperial China
“Literate Community in Early Imperial China” demonstrates that soldiers in the northwest border region during the Han dynasty constituted a literate community of commoners linked to the broader textual culture of the empire. This project uses a novel interpretive framework, incorporates new excavated documents, and reconsiders previously known materials to challenge common assumptions and received understandings about textual culture in early China. While scholars have often viewed text as the exclusive province of elites, “Literate Community in Early Imperial China” argues that its capabilities, in fact, functioned throughout society.