Curriculum Vitae

Thomas J. Mazanec

Mailcode 7075
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, CA 93106


2017:    Ph.D., Princeton University.
Department of East Asian Studies.
Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities.
Dissertation: “The Invention of Chinese Buddhist Poetry: Poet-monks of Late Medieval China (c. 760–960 CE).” PDF.

2011:    M.A., University of Colorado, Boulder.
Department of Comparative Literature.
Thesis: “To Know the Tone: Analyses and Experimental Translations of Li Duan’s Poetic Experiments.”

2007:    B.A., Calvin College.
Majors: English, Asian Studies.
Graduated with Honors.

Academic Employment

2017-     Assistant professor, Department of East Asian Languages & Cultural Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Affiliations: Program in Comparative Literature, Department of Religious Studies.

Teaching Experience

UC Santa Barbara

Lower Division

“Masterpieces of Classical Chinese Literature.” Spring 2019, Fall 2019.

Upper Division

“China in Translation: Theory, Art, and History.” Spring 2018, Fall 2019.
“East Asian Buddhist Poetry.” Spring 2018.
“Introduction to Classical Chinese.” Winter 2018, Winter 2019.


“Chinese Bibliography and Research Methodology.” Winter 2019.
“Topics in Tang Literature: Dunhuang Poetry.” Spring 2020.

Princeton University

Assistant in Instruction, “East Asian Humanities I, The Classical Foundation.” Fall 2016.
Assistant in Instruction, “Children’s Literature.” Spring 2016.
Assistant in Instruction, “The Buddhist World of Thought and Practice.” Fall 2015.

University of Colorado, Boulder

Teaching assistant, “Beginning Chinese.” Fall 2010, Spring 2011.
Teaching assistant, “Introduction to Film Studies.” Fall 2009, Spring 2010.

Major Projects

  • Poet-Monks and the Invention of Chinese Buddhist Poetry. Monograph based on doctoral dissertation, in revision, to be submitted to presses for consideration in fall 2019. Argues that the concept of “Buddhist poetry,” in the fullest sense of the term, took shape over the latter half of the Tang dynasty, actively invented by a new class of poet that came into being at the same time, the poet-monk (shiseng).
  • Beyond Lyricism: Classical Chinese Poetry in Other Modes. Monograph in preparation. Argues for interpreting classical Chinese poetry not according to the modern ideal of self-expressivity but in its relation to five other modes that were meaningful to premodern audiences: sound, assemblage, sociality, compression, and inscription. Offers a critical history of the concept of “lyricism” and explorations into topics such as whistling, pastiche poems, versified primers, and poems written on objects.
  • China’s Worst Poetry: A Critical Anthology. Edited volume based on future conference. A history of Chinese literary criticism as seen through what has been regarded as its worst poetry. Each contributor will translate several poems and criticism made about them, calling attention to the theoretical grounds of negative aesthetic judgments from antiquity to the present.


Edited Volumes

Guest editor, with Jeffrey Tharsen and Jing Chen. Digital Methods and Traditional Chinese Literary Studies, special issue of the Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 5.2. [Email me for 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, and 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.

Second author, with Chao-lin Liu and Jeffrey Tharsen. “Exploring Chinese Poetry with Digital Assistance: Examples from Linguistic, Literary, and Historical Viewpoints.” Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 5.2 (2018): 276–321. 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 34.1 (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.


Review of The Organization of Distance: Poetry, Translation, Chineseness, by Lucas Klein, Journal of Translation Studies 3.2 (2019): 115–121. PDF.

Review of On Cold Mountain: A Buddhist Reading of the Hanshan Poems, by Paul Rouzer, Journal of the American Oriental Society 138.3 (2018): 679–682. PDF.

Review of Spells, Images, and Maṇḍalas: Tracing the Evolution of Esoteric Buddhist Rituals, by Koichi Shinohara. Pacific World 18 (2016): 209-218. PDF.

Review of The Destruction of the Medieval Chinese Aristocracy, by Nicolas Tackett. In The Bulletin of the Jao Tsung-i Academy of Sinology 饒宗頤國學院院刊  2 (2015): 403-412. PDF.


First author, with Jeffrey Tharsen and Jing Chen. “Introduction” (Special issue: Digital Methods and Traditional Chinese Literary Studies). Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 5.2 (2018): 175–185. PDF.

Translator, Wang Zhaopeng and Qiao Junjun. “Geographic Distribution and Change in Tang Poetry: Data Analysis from the ‘Chronological Map of Tang-Song Literature.’” Journal of Chinese Literature and Culture 5.2 (2018): 360–374. PDF.

Translator, Sun Zhimei. “From Poetic Revolution to the Southern Society: The Birth of Classicist Poetry in Modern China.” Frontiers of Literary Studies in China 12.2 (2018): 299–323. PDF.

Translator, Lin Hsiang-ling. “Lyricism, the Veneration of Feeling, and Narrative Techniques in the Poetry Talks of the Southern Society.” Frontiers of Literary Studies in China 12.2 (2018): 324–350. PDF.

Biographical entries on Tang dynasty poet-monks for the Digital Dictionary of Buddhism (, ed. A. Charles Muller: Guanxiu 貫休, Jia Dao 賈島, and Poet-monk 詩僧, added September 30, 2016.

Biographical entries on Tang dynasty poet-monks for the Digital Dictionary of Buddhism, ed. A. Charles Muller: Jiaoran 皎然, Qiji 齊己, Shangyan 尚顏, Lingche 靈澈, Lingyi 靈一, Tanyu 曇域, Huguo 護國, Fayan 法眼, Guangxuan 廣宣, Wuke 無可, Xuzhong 虛中, Xiumu 修睦, Sengluan 僧鸞, Wenxiu 文秀, Kepeng 可朋, Kezhi 可止, Qichan 栖蟾, Qibai 棲白, Qingsai 清塞, and Chumo 處默, Added August 30, 2015.

Fellowships and Awards

2014-15: Fulbright-IIE Graduate Student Fellowship, Fudan University.
2013-14: Tsang Yee and Wai Kwan Chan So P*71 Fellowship, Princeton University.
2011-17: Graduate Fellowship, Princeton University.
2010:      Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, University of Colorado.
2009-11: Teaching Assistantship, University of Colorado.
2006-07: Steve J. and Viola Van der Weele Scholarship, Calvin College.
2006:      McGregor Research Fellowship, Calvin College.
2003-07: Honors Scholarship, Calvin College.

Papers Presented

“What Is Chinese Lyricism?: Early Western Discourse and Its Impact in China.” Texts, Travel, and Transmission: The Reception of Translated Chinese Masterworks in the West. Peking University, Beijing. October 2020.

“Jia Dao: China’s Worst Poet?” Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference. Boston, Massachusetts. March 2020.

“The Lotus Sūtra in Sinitic Poetry.” The 22nd General Congress of the International Comparative Literature Association. University of Macau. August 2019.

“Lyric, Shuqing, and the Reification of Names in Modern Poetics.” Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference. Denver, Colorado. March 2019.

“Poetry, Style, and Community in Pelliot chinois 3409.” International Conference of Younger Scholars of Chinese Religious Studies 中國宗教研究青年學者國際論壇. Hong Kong Polytechnic University. November 14, 2018.

“Poetry, Repetition, and Apophasis among Late Tang Poet-Monks.” Specialist Lectures on Chinese History and Culture. Hong Kong Polytechnic University. November 13, 2018. Poster.

“Two Tang Poems on the Lotus Sūtra.” American Oriental Society, Western Branch. Stanford University. October 19, 2018.

“Wisdom Verses of Medieval China.” Philology and the Study of Classical Chinese Literature: An International Symposium on the Future of Sinology in the 21st Century. University of Colorado. Boulder, Colorado. April 21–22, 2018.

“The Poetics of Exteriority in Early Medieval China: Zan as Anti-Lyric.” American Comparative Literature Association’s Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, California. March 29–April 1, 2018.

“Anti-Lyric: The Poetics of Exteriority in Early Medieval Zan.” Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference. Washington, D.C. March 22–25, 2018.

“On the Fungibility of Money, Merit, and Meter: Debts in the Late Tang.” Stanford University. January 25, 2018.

“Poetry and Whistling.” American Oriental Society, Western Branch. Tempe, Arizona. October 21, 2017.

“Three Types of Debt in the Late Tang: On the Fungibility of Money, Merit, and Meter.” Second Conference on Middle Period Chinese Humanities, Leiden University. Leiden, Netherlands. September 14–17, 2017.

“Old Prose or Bitter Poetry?: Jia Dao and Cultural Continuity in Tenth-century China.” Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference. Toronto. March 16–19, 2017.

“Jia Dao: Religious Poet?” Princeton Workshop on Chinese Religious Poetry, Princeton University. Princeton, New Jersey. December 2–3, 2016.

“Indra’s Network: Exchange Poetry and the Fellowship of the Late Tang Poet-Monk” (50-minute symposium talk). East Asian Studies Lunch Colloquium, Princeton University. Princeton, New Jersey. October 12, 2016.

“Intertextuality as Time Travel” (with Leon Grek). Princeton Early Text Cultures Workshop. Princeton, New Jersey. April 16, 2016.

“Money, Merit, and Meter: On Religio-Literary Exchange in Late Medieval China.” Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference. Seattle, Washington. March 31–April 3, 2016.

“The Gāthā in Medieval China, or, Are you Shī?” 131st MLA Annual Convention. Austin, Texas. January 7–10, 2016.

“What Is a Poet-Monk?” American Oriental Society, Western Branch. Boulder, Colorado. October 8–10, 2015.

“Jia Dao’s Rhythm, or, How to Translate the Tones of Medieval Chinese.” AAS-in-Asia, Annual Meeting. Taipei, Taiwan. June 22–24, 2015.

“Exchange Poems in Late Medieval China (c. 840-940 CE): A Network Analysis of Connections between Scholar-Officials and Buddhist Monks.” American Comparative Literature Association’s Annual Meeting. Seattle, Washington. March 26–29, 2015. More information.

“Putting Táng Poetry to Work: Another Look at Guànxiū’s Poem Found in P.2104 and S.4037.” Prospects for the Study of Dunhuang Manuscripts: The Next 20 Years. Princeton, New Jersey. September 6–8, 2014. Abstract.

“The Gāthā in Medieval China, or, Are you Shī?” Stanford-Berkeley Graduate Student Conference on Pre-modern Chinese Humanities. Palo Alto, California. April 11, 2014. Abstract.

“‘Filling Out the Lost Odes’ by Shu Xi: Ritual and Intertextuality in Early Medieval China.” American Oriental Society, Western Branch. Victoria, British Columbia. October 4, 2013. Abstract.

“The Curious Case of Retriplication in the Poetry of Guanxiu (832-912).” American Oriental Society, Western Branch Meeting. Scottsdale, Arizona. November 2, 2012. Abstract.

“Rhythm in Arthur Waley’s Translation of Chinese Poetry.” Princeton University, Translation Lunch Series. Princeton, New Jersey. September 24, 2012. Poster.

“A Note on Ode 247: Toward a Theory of Repetition in the Shijing.” University of Colorado, Boulder Asian Studies Graduate Conference. Boulder, Colorado. March 3, 2012.

“‘Deep, deep, the cold mountain way’: Repetition in Han Shan.” 21st Annual Columbia University Graduate Conference on East Asia. New York, New York. February 10, 2012.

“Liezi’s Automaton.” University of Colorado, Boulder Asian Studies Graduate Conference. Boulder, Colorado. February 18, 2011.

“Binom Means: The Sound of Li Bo’s Xi yuchun fu.” 20th Annual Columbia University Graduate Conference on East Asia. New York, New York. February 5, 2011.

Conferences and Panels Organized

Organizer of panel, “China’s Worst Poetry.” Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Boston. March 2020.

Organizer, “Patterns and Networks in Classical Chinese Literature: Notes from the Digital Frontier.” UC Santa Barbara. February 9–10, 2018. Event page.

Organizer of panel (with Xin Wen), “Beyond the Tang-Song Transition: New Visions of Tenth-century China.” Association for Asian Studies Annual Conference, Toronto. March 16–19, 2017.

Organizer (with Jason Protass), “Princeton Workshop on Chinese Religious Poetry for Junior Scholars.” Princeton University. December 2–3, 2016.

Organizer (with Esther Choi, Federica Soletta, Matthew Spellberg, and Matthew Vollgraff), New Schools: Experimental Lesson Plans for the 21st Century. A yearlong experiment in pedagogical practice that brings together contemporary art and contemporary scholarship. Four artists and four Princeton faculty members collaborated in the classroom to explore new approaches to university teaching. Princeton University. 2015–2016.

Organizer of panel (with Lucas Klein), “Experiments in Translating Classical Chinese Poetry.” AAS-in-Asia, Annual Meeting. Taipei, Taiwan. June 22–24, 2015.


To the Field

2019–22          Member, executive committee of the American Oriental Society’s Western Branch

UC Santa Barbara

2017–              Member, Translation Studies Advisory Board.
2019–20          Undergraduate advisor, EALCS Department.
2019–20          Member, Public Relations Committee, EALCS Department.
2018–19          Search committee, East Asian Studies librarian.
2018–19          Search committee, Assistant Professor in Modern Chinese Literature, Film, and Cultural Studies.
2017–18          EALCS Department representative, Academic Senate.

Princeton University

2016–17          Co-president, Digital Humanities Graduate Student Caucus.
2015–16          Member, Digital Humanities Graduate Student Caucus.
2015–16          East Asian Studies departmental representative, Graduate Student Government.
2012–13          Chair, Cracked Pot (East Asian Studies graduate student forum).


Classical Chinese
Mandarin Chinese
Japanese (reading)
Sanskrit (reading)
French (reading)

Last updated: January 2020.