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Dr Justin Winslett


DPhil (University of Oxford)


Research interests

My research is concerned with the extrahuman and supernatural in texts from the premodern period. My work has ranged from Warring States manuscripts to Qing dynasty biji, but I have a particular interest in material from the Early Imperial period (221 BCE-10TH C CE).

Currently, I am converting my thesis into a monograph titled Understanding the Gods: The representation of the extrahuman in Early China which is a comprehensive survey of extrahuman agents in early Chinese materials. Additionally, I am contributing to a book project with several other colleagues titled Concepts of Divinity: High Gods in Pre-Qin China that explores issues of divinity and religiosity in texts from the Classical Period. This project is part of the larger ‘Is Religion Natural? The Chinese Challenge’-project.
Upon completion of these, I will be engaging in a second book-length project that will explore space and time in connection to the supernatural- monsters, demons, gods- in the tales of the Taiping guangji 太平廣記.


Teaching interests

At Cambridge, I am responsible for teaching Classical and Literary Chinese and contributing to classes and lectures with a focus on premodern China. I have particularly sustained and extensive experience in teaching Classical and Literary Chinese, having taught at both Oxford and Manchester. In all my teaching, I place a strong emphasis on text-based instruction and on encouraging students to view Classical Chinese not simply as an ossified language of the elite, but rather as a working language which has been used by peoples across East Asia for centuries and that continues to shape the cultures and languages of the region today.