Thomas Mazanec

Thomas Mazanec
Ph.D., Princeton University

Associate Professor

Specialization: Medieval Chinese Poetry, Buddhism, Comparative Literature, Digital Humanities, Translation

Office: HSSB 2255

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 11:00am–12:00pm
Office Hours Time Period: Spring 2024

Curriculum Vitae: Download

Thomas Mazanec (余泰明) researches premodern Chinese literature and religion, as well as their encounters with other cultures. He is also interested in world literature, poetics, digital humanities, and translation studies. His publications cover a broad range of topics, from the evolution of a Sanskrit literary term in medieval China; to systems of monetary, religious, and literary debts; to the potential contributions of network analysis to literary history. He is especially fond of the art of literary translation, maintaining a collection of bizarre and obscure translations of classical Chinese poetry into English and co-editing an online bibliography of Chinese poetry in translation.

Prof. Mazanec’s first book, Poet-Monks: The Invention of Buddhist Poetry in Medieval China, was recently published by Cornell University Press. This book explores the formation of a tradition of “poet-monks” during the ninth and tenth centuries, and the ways in which these monks brought together poetic and religious practice in their verses. Other current research projects include studies of religious and literary infrastructure, of Buddhist poetry written by the architects of one of the largest persecutions of Buddhism, of the limits of “lyricism” as a lens through which to understand classical Chinese poetry, and multiple book-length translations of Tang poetry. He is also the East Asia section editor for the Journal of the American Oriental Society.

You can find him on social media at Mastadon and Bluesky.


Poet-Monks: The Invention of Buddhist Poetry in Late Medieval China. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2024. Website. Open access PDF. List of errata.

Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture

Special issue on “Digital Methods and Traditional Chinese Literary Studies,” edited by Thomas J. Mazanec, Jeffrey Tharsen, and Jing Chen.

Selected Articles

  • “On Translating Lyric as Shuqing in Chinese.” Comparative Literature Studies (forthcoming)
  • “Literary Debts in Tang China: On the Exchange of Money, Merit, and Meter.” Monumenta Serica 71.1 (2023): 21–41. PDF.
  • First author of “Buddhist Poetry of China.” Oxford Bibliographies in Chinese Studies. With Jason Protass. Last Modified: January 12, 2023.
  • “Of Admonition and Address: Right-Hand Inscriptions (Zuoyouming) from Cui Yuan to Guanxiu.” Tang Studies 38 (2020): 28–56. PDF.
  • “How Poetry Became Meditation in Late Ninth-Century China.” Asia Major 32.2 (2019): 113–151. PDF.
  • “Righting, Riting, and Rewriting the Book of Odes (Shijing): On ‘Filling out the Missing Odes’ by Shu Xi.” Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews 40 (2018): 5–32. PDF.
  • “Networks of Exchange Poetry in Late Medieval China: Notes toward a Dynamic History of Tang Literature.” Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 5.2 (2018): 322–359. PDF;
  • First author of “Introduction” (Special issue: Digital Methods and Traditional Chinese Literary Studies). Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 5.2 (2018): 179–184. With Jeffrey Tharsen and Jing Chen. PDF;
  • Second author of “Exploring Chinese Poetry with Digital Assistance: Examples from Linguistic, Literary, and Historical Viewpoints.” Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 5.2 (2018): 276–321. With Chao-lin Liu and Jeffrey Tharsen. PDF;
    • 中文版:劉昭麟, 余泰明 (Thomas J. Mazanec), 康森杰 (Jeffrey R. Tharsen), and 潘亦迎 (Yiying Pan). 用数字工具探索中国古典诗歌:语言学、文学及历史视角之例证, 数字人文, 2021(2), 72‒110.
  • “The Medieval Chinese Gāthā and Its Relationship to Poetry.” T’oung Pao 103.1–3 (2017): 94–154. PDF
  • “Guanxiu’s ‘Mountain-Dwelling Poems’: A Translation.” Tang Studies 4.1 (2016): 99–124. PDF
  • “Jiǎ Dǎo’s Rhythm, or, How to Translate the Tones of Classical Chinese.” Journal of Oriental Studies 49.1 (2016): 27–48. PDF

Courses Taught

  • East Asian Cultural Studies 4A: East Asian Traditions (Premodern)
  • Chinese 80: Masterpieces of Chinese Literature
  • Honors-INT 84CS: The World’s Worst Poetry
  • Chinese 101A/B: Introduction to Classical Chinese
  • Chinese / Comparative Literature 139: China in Translation: Theory, Art, History
  • Chinese 140: Tang Literary History
  • East Asian Cultural Studies / Comparative Literature 165: East Asian Buddhist Poetry
  • Comparative Literature 170 / 260: Literary Translation: Theory and Practice
  • Chinese 211: Bibliography and Research Methodology
  • Chinese 220: Topics in Tang Literature
    • Spring 2020: Dunhuang Poetry
    • Spring 2024: Dunhuang Poetry
  • Graduate independent studies on:
    • Poetry on the Lotus Sūtra
    • Comparative theories of religion and literature
    • Late Tang literary collections