Department of Asian Studies
Department of Asian Studies

Luke Waring

Ph.D., Princeton University

Assistant Professor
Luke Waring



Early Chinese literature and cultural history (1250 BCE-220 CE).


My research centers on early Chinese literature and cultural history (1250 BCE–220 CE), with a focus on manuscripts, epigraphy, material culture, and philology. My work is highly interdisciplinary, encompassing literature, history, religion, art history, and archaeology. Prior to joining the Department of Asian Studies at UT Austin, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Chinese Studies in the Center for East Asian Studies at Stanford, where I taught classes in the Departments of History and East Asian Languages and Cultures.

My current book project is a study of the manuscripts and inscribed objects excavated in the 1970s from the Western Han dynasty (202 BCE–9 CE) tombs at Mawangdui (186–168 BCE). By studying the many forms of writing that were found there (manuscripts made of silk, wood, and bamboo, as well as a wide range of inscribed artifacts), I aim to understand the different roles writing played in the lives and afterlives of early Chinese elites. My article on the ritual use (and re-use) of funerary manuscripts was recently published in T’oung Pao, and another article on the visuality of an early Chinese cosmological manuscript is about to appear in Early China. In addition, I have almost finished an article-length study of the relationship between music and classical learning in Chinese antiquity, and am getting ready to return to projects on lyric and rhapsodic poetry.


ANS 302C • Introduction To China-Wb

32640 • Spring 2021
Meets MWF 10:00AM-11:00AM
Internet; Synchronous

Introduction to Chinese Culture and Civilization

Course Description:

This course will provide an introduction to major concepts and ideas from Chinese cultural traditions to construct a course inquiry into understanding Chinese culture and society. A guiding principle in this course inquiry will be to investigate the past to help inform the present.   Lectures and discussion will examine key concepts from art, history, language, literature, and thought that greatly shaped, and continue to influence, “Chinese” cultural and geopolitical entities.

ANS 361 • Myth/Legend/Folklore China

32705 • Spring 2021
Meets MW 11:30AM-1:00PM BUR 212

Why do we tell stories, and how do we go about it? In premodern China, individuals and groups told stories variously to philosophize and persuade, to commemorate and critique, to educate and entertain, to scandalize and to stimulate. In this course, we will trace the development of different Chinese storytelling traditions across various genres, including myths, legends, romances, ghost stories, morality tales, and fiction. In the process, we will come to appreciate how different groups in premodern China made use of stories to articulate a sense of identity and community, navigating issues related to class, gender, society, and politics. All readings and discussion for this course will be in English; no prior knowledge of Chinese language, history, or culture is required.


  • Attendance and participation: 25%
  • Weekly submissions: 20%
  • Presentations: 20%
  • Final take-home exam: 35%

ANS 361 • Clascl Chi Phil Contemp Times

31685 • Fall 2020
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM RLP 1.106

Classical Chinese Philosophy for Contemporary Times

Course description

The 6th-2nd second centuries BCE were a golden age for Chinese philosophy, an era when the key

ideas, terms, and texts that were to prove fundamental to the development of Chinese intellectual

history took shape. While philosophy from different times and cultural contexts can often seem

alien or abstruse, in fact ancient Chinese thinkers have much to teach us when it comes to

navigating sociopolitical issues and ethical concerns in our own time. In this course we will

reconstruct and reenact the most important debates in early Chinese philosophy, reapplying them

to some of the pressing questions and important events that preoccupy us today. In the process,

we will study classical Chinese philosophy not just as the intellectual product of a certain

historical and cultural context, but also as a repertoire of ideas and strategies that can be used to

enrich our experiences and confront problems in our everyday lives.


This course is open to all students. All discussion and readings for this course will be in English;

no prior knowledge of Chinese language, history, or culture is required.


Required readings

There are three textbooks for this course (two required and one optional):

  • Readings in Classical Chinese Philosophy, ed. Philip J. Ivanhoe and Bryan W. Van

Norden. Second Edition. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing, 2006.

o Read all assigned pages in advance of meeting one each week.

  • Bryan W. Van Norden. Introduction to Classical Chinese Philosophy. Indianapolis:

Hackett Publishing, 2011.

o Read all assigned pages in advance of meeting one each week.

  • Michael Puett and Christine Gross-Loh. The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Tell

us About the Good Life. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2016.

o Feel free to consult the relevant passages in advance of our second meeting each week (optional).

o Consult the relevant passages in advance of each debate in meeting two of each


Additional readings, materials, and resources will be made available on Canvas.

Curriculum Vitae

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