- Ph.D. Candidate, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations
Years of Affiliation: 2017-2018
William French studies ancient Chinese texts, investigating how they were read in antiquity and what this tells us about early modes of thought. In his dissertation, William examines the quotation of authoritative or canonical texts (such as the Book of Songs, the Laozi, or early imperial law) in a broad range of sources, including philosophical works, historical texts, anecdote collections, and legal cases. By tracing configurations of quoted text with historical, philosophical or legal narrative across these textual genres, William hopes to a) demonstrate how ancient readers were taught to interpret the world through authoritative or canonical texts, while at the same time b) clarify the nature of textual authority.
Research interests: Early Chinese Poetry, Intellectual History, Legal History, Manuscript Culture