Thomas Mazanec

Thomas Mazanec

Assistant Professor

Ph.D., Princeton University

Specialization: Medieval Chinese Literature and Religion, Comparative Literature, Digital Humanities

Office: HSSB 2223
Personal Website:

Thomas Mazanec (余泰明) researches the interactions between literature and religion in medieval China (third through tenth centuries), as well as their dialogue with other cultures. From multiple angles, his work undermines the uniqueness of mainstream Chinese literati culture, highlighting instead its porous boundaries and its productive interplay with other discursive traditions. He is also interested in world literature, poetics, digital humanities, and translation studies. He is especially fond of the art of literary translation and maintains a collection of bizarre and obscure translations of classical Chinese poetry into English.

He is currently revising the manuscript of his first book, tentatively titled The Invention of Chinese Buddhist Poetry, which explores the formation of a tradition of “poet-monks” during the waning years of the Tang dynasty, and the ways in which these monks sought to equate poetic and religious practice in their verses. His next project will be on the genres and practices which lie on the borderlines of “poetry” in early and medieval China.

Those interested in learning more about his work are invited to visit his website,


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

  • “Righting, Riting, and Rewriting the Book of Odes (Shijing): On ‘Filling out the Missing Odes’ by Shu Xi.” Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews (forthcoming).
  • “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;
  • Translator of Wang Zhaopeng and Qiao Junjun, “Geographic Distribution and Change in Tang Poetry: Data Analysis from the ‘Chronological Map of Tang-Song Literature’” (王兆鹏、乔俊军,「唐五代诗歌版图的静态分布与动态变化——基于《唐宋文学编年系地信息平台》的数据分析」). Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 5.2 (2018): 360–374. PDF;
  • “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

  • Chinese 80: Masterpieces of Chinese Literature
  • Chinese 101A/B: Introduction to Classical Chinese
  • Chinese / Comparative Literature 139: China in Translation: Theory, Art, History
  • EACS / Comparative Literature 165: East Asian Buddhist Poetry
  • Chinese 211: Bibliography and Research Methodology