Parker Chan


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Parker Chan

DPhil candidate, Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies



Parker Chan completed his bachelor and a master in Chinese Language and Literature at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), with an affiliation with New Asia College. Preceded by teaching university Chinese courses in CUHK and various tertiary institutes in Hong Kong, he served as a research assistant focusing on ancient Chinese texts studies. He then obtained a Master’s degree from the University of Oxford. He continues pursuing his doctoral degree at Oxford as a Hop Wai Scholar by the generous support of Professor Lee Hon-ching in collaboration with the D.C. Lau Research Centre for Chinese Ancient Text, CUHK. 

His main research interests lie in pre-Han and Han Chinese texts. Among them he is especially interested in Chinese classics, philology and classical interpretations. He is now broadening his studies on the interpretative history of the Classics of Poetry (Shijing) from re-interpreting extant historical records to researching newly excavated writings and overseas findings. For fun and relaxation, Parker enjoys Chinese writing, desserts, fantasy, and engaging in competitive archery and air gun. 

DPhil topic

‘Successively Receiving from Masters: The Developmental History of Classical Interpretations in Han Dynasty China (206 BC‒220)’

The dissertation aims to study the developmental history of the lines of filiations (or interpretative traditions, scholastic lines, jia) of classical interpretations in Han dynasty China. It will focus on the Classic of Odes (or Shijing) and other Classics, as well as the historical records of ru (classicists). It will take into consideration the standard historical records of Han dynasty as well as excavated texts. 

Chinese Classics were established via transmission and interpretation. The systematic written record of master-student affiliations suggests a methodical transmission of classical learning. However, interpretations of the Classics from transmitted and excavated texts are abundant and varied. Both types of texts appear to be mutually incompatible. 

The dissertation argues that because the ascription of an Academician to a given line of filiations reflects institutional ‒ not academic ‒ affiliation, grouping Academicians according to their academic interpretations of the Classics is an inappropriate way to analyse historical records. The scholastic records serve two functions in analysing Han history: 

First, they reveal the connection between classicists. However, this connection is merely a record of their master-student affiliations, that is, a connection that might not involve knowledge transmissions or inheritances; 

Second, the filiations serve an institutional instead of an academic purpose, and deviations of interpretations within a line of filiations did not matter. Reading the historical records this way allows for the co-existence of scattered learning and limited lines of filiations.