Lucas Bender

Lucas Bender's picture
Assistant Professor, East Asian Languages & Literatures and Humanities Program
(203) 432-2860


My primary area of research concerns early and medieval Chinese literature (roughly 200 BCE to 900 CE), especially in its relationship to other areas of Chinese intellectual and religious life. I received my Ph.D. in 2016 from Harvard University, where my dissertation project argued that the work of the great Tang-dynasty poet Du Fu (712–770) has played a central role in the reimagination of poetry’s relationship with ethics over the last millennium of Chinese history. During the next few years, I plan to revise this dissertation into a book while working concurrently on a second project that examines the split that occurred near the end of the Chinese classical period between textual traditions that would come to be understood as roughly “literary” and “philosophical.” I have a longstanding interest as well in Chinese religions, and alongside forthcoming articles on medieval Classicism (sometimes called “Confucianism”), I hope in the future to publish on the poetry and literary theory that can be found in the medieval Daoist and Buddhist canons.

At Yale, I have a joint appointment in the Department of East Asian Languages and Literatures and in the Humanities Program. I have an abiding interest in comparative religion and comparative philosophy, and am particularly fascinated by the relationships that have been thought to obtain in China and the West between literary works and ethical cultivation, and in the tragic visions of human life that literature often seems best equipped to explore. I teach courses, therefore, in Chinese literature, Chinese thought from the Han dynasty through the Song, comparative topics, and Directed Studies.