Performance, Poetry, and Cultural Memory in Early China


ACLS Fellowship Program


East Asian Studies

Named Award

ACLS/NEH International and Area Studies Fellow named award


Confronting traditional with newly excavated texts, this project explores the origins, development, and function of poetry in the religious ritual and political representation of ancient China. Specifically, this study explores how poetic speech and song--as both written display and oral recitation--embodied early cultural memory and identity in performative contexts, and how it from there developed into the core of the classical canon. The analysis focuses on the hymns, inscriptions, and royal speeches in ancestral sacrifices and settings of political representation from the eleventh through the fourth centuries BCE; poetic speech in excavated manuscripts and received philosophical tets from the fourth through second centuries BCE; and early imperial poetics and rhetoric from the last two centuries BCE.