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Cornell Classical Chinese Colloquium 古文品讀

The Cornell Classical Chinese Colloquium (CCCC) 古文品讀 is a reading group for scholars interested in premodern Sinographic text (古文). The group meets monthly during the semester to explore a variety of classical Chinese texts and styles. Other premodern texts linked to classical Chinese in Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese have been explored. Presentations include works from the earliest times to the 20th century. Workshop sessions are led by local, national, and international scholars.

photo of colloquium session people with slide of incense burner in the background
CCCC session with Professor Bruce Rusk.

Participants with any level of classical Chinese experience are welcome to attend.

A stone engraved in classical Chinese
  • At each session, a presenter guides the group in a reading of a classical Chinese text. Attendees discuss historical, literary, linguistic, and other aspects of the text, working together to resolve difficulties in comprehension and translation.

  • No preparation is required; all texts will be distributed at the meeting.

Contact for more information and
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Spring 2024

All text-reading sessions take place in Rockefeller Hall, Room 374 (Asian Studies Lounge) at 3:30-5:30 p.m. unless noted otherwise.

2/2 The Emergence of the Yuan non-Han Ancestry in Late Qing North China

      Tomoyasu Iiyama, Waseda University

3/8 Animating Forces: Late-Ming and Early-Qing Conceptions of “Plucking Life” (caisheng 採生)

      Andrew Schonebaum, Chinese Studies, University of Maryland

3/22 Epitaphs Made Widely Available in the Northern Song (960-1127)

      Man Xu, History, Tufts University

4/12 Su-Yeon Seo, Asian Studies, Cornell

Previous Text Readings

Fall 2023

9/22  Cosmic Correlations in Dali-Kingdom Buddhism 

Megan Bryson, Religious Studies, University of Tennessee

10/20  Old Ghosts in Tang Chang'an: Two Stories 

Xin Wen, East Asian Studies, Princeton University

11/10 Kang Youwei's Roman Diaries (1904) 

Haun Saussy, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago

Spring 2023

February 17 Content and Form: Dunhuang Anthologies of Tang Poetry by Casey Stevens Asian Studies, Cornell University

March 31 Michael Nylan History, UC Berkeley

April 14 Liyu Hua Asian Studies, Cornell University

April 21 Matthew Sommer History, Stanford University





Yuanyuan Duan, Ph.D. student, Cornell Writing and Printing for Praying: Colophons of Dali Buddhist Scriptures

Beverly Bossler, Brown University The Dao of soliciting a patron:  Zheng Xia 鄭 俠 (1041-1119)'s "Letter presented to [the] Transport Intendant"  上漕車書 (Anon, Guo chao er bai jia ming xian wen cui  國朝二百家名賢文粹)

Sophie Volpp, UC Berkley Qianlong Emperor’s Poem, “On the Mirror”

Leigh Jenco, London School of Economics and Political Science Phonology and Human Difference in the Late Ming: Chen Di's "Mao shi guyin kao zixu (Author's Preface to Investigation of the Ancient Pronunciations in the Mao Odes)" (1606)


Shuheng "Diana" Zhang, a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania Rhetorical and Receptional Politics of Cheng Xuanying’s (ca. 605-690) Commentary on Zhuangzi

Meir Shahar, Tel Aviv University Diary of a temple association from Shanxi and a ritual text that likely originated in Guizhou province. 

Lan Li, Rice University Bones, Brains, and Meridians: Animated Anatomy and Image-Text Analysis

Cynthia Brokaw, History, Brown University Advertising Commercial publications in Early Modern China: Paratexts and Targeted Readerships


Dan Boucher, Cornell University Sengyou on Translating Scripture: China’s First Attempt to Conceptualize a Literary Other


Dorothy Ko, Barnard College The Material Power of Stone in Writing

Tina Lu, Yale University What You Can Buy and What You Can’t: Two Essays From Xianqing Ouji

Chung Erqui, Ph.D. candidate, Syracuse University Humans as Drugs (renyao 人藥) in the Ming and Qing Dynasties: Selected Texts from Chinese Materia Medica (bencao 本草)

Keith Taylor, Cornell University Literary Prowess and Politics among the Vietnamese in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries


Norman Kutcher, Syracuse University: A Unique Eunuch Document of the late Qianlong Reign

John Whitman, Cornell University: The Shinsen jikyō (898-901) preface and the move from glossae collectae to dictionary

Song Chen, Bucknell University: Digital humanities workshop on Methods of Digital Prosopography: Data Mining and Data Visualization

Zoe Shan Lin | Ithaca College presents the CCCC's final text reading in the spring 2019 series. Carved in Stone: The Use of Engraved Stele in Song Local Governance, 960-1279


Victor Mair, University of Pennsylvania

Stephen Teiser, Princeton University

Michael Stanley-Baker, Nanyang Technological University

Norman Kutcher, Syracuse University canceled due to weather; rescheduled and presented in early Spring 2019.


Michael Hunter, Yale University Thinking Through Parallels: The Classic of Odes and its Echoes in Early Sources

Dewei Shen, Stanford University Religious Boilerplate vs. Snapshot of the Once Lived: A Middle-Distanced Reading of the Entombed ‘Letters to the Underworld’ 告地書

Bruce Rusk, University of British Columbia Many Ming Temple Inscriptions from Henan

TJ Hinrich, Cornell University The Re-Theorization of Ritual Healing in Song Huizong’s Comprehensive Record of Sagely Beneficence 聖濟總錄


Gulong Lai, University of Florida Excessive Cult or Proper Ritual? Religious Boundaries and Imperial Politics as Seen from a Shanghai Manuscript”〈柬大王泊旱〉

Jeffrey Tharsen, University of Chicago The Bells of Liang Qi 梁其鐘 : A Musical Reading of a 9th-century BCE Chinese Bronze Inscription

Steven B. Miles, University of Washington in St. Louis Cantonese Migrant Networks: Two Stone Inscriptions from the West River Basin

Robin McNeal, Cornell University A Ming Dynasty Inscription on the Sublime Relationship between Humans and Spirits at the Lingqiu Temple at Fajiu Mountain, Zhangzi County, Changzhi, Shanxi” 明嘉靖九年(1530)重修靈湫廟記 神神人人之事:山西長治長子縣發鳩山的靈湫廟碑文


Du Heng, Harvard University What Was Writing for? Transmission Scenes in Warring States Excavated Manuscripts

Richard Vanness Simmons, Rutgers University The Charms of Mandarin in the Qīng and the Key to Northern and Southern Guānhuà

Francesca Bray, University of Edinburgh Of Turnips and Apricots: Livelihood and Lifestyle in the Northern Wei as Seen through the Agricultural Treatise Qímín Yàoshù 齊民要術

Clarence Lee, Cornell University Reading Sinitic Medical Texts in Mid Edo period Japan: Kagawa Shūtoku (1683-1755)


John Phan, Rutgers University, Vietnamese Regulated Verse in Two Poets: Nguyễn Trãi (1380-1442) and Hồ Xuân Hương (1772-1822)

Ari Borrell, Modern Language Association Chan Buddhist Interpretations of the Investigation of Things (gewu): Dahui Zonggao (1089-1163) and Hanshan Deqing (1546-1623)

Xiao Rong, Shenzhen University Preface, Guiyi fang

Yung-chang Tung, Harvard University Negotiated Past: Zeng Bu’s (1036-1107) Diary and Court Politics in Twelfth-Century China


Han Songyeol, Princeton: Cho Soang's 赵素昂 (1887-1958) Preface to Hanguo wenyuan 韓國文苑 (1932)

Chen Shiau-Yun Cornell University  Ming Tongue-Biting Cases

Wang Yi, Binghamton University, Wang Jianxun ⺩王建勳, “Chongxiu hetaosidagu miao bei ji” 重修河套四⼤大股廟碑記, 1898

Son Suyoung, Cornell University How to Read Editorial Principles: Yu Chu xinzhi 虞初新志 and Installment Publication