Donald Harper, Ph. D.

Centennial Professor of Chinese Studies
Research Interests: Early Chinese civilization, focusing on philosophy, religion, and history of science.


On leave for the 2022-2023 academic year.

In 1998, published a translation and study of the Mawangdui medical manuscripts (early second century B.C.). Currently working on a book-length study of early Chinese religion based primarily on recently excavated manuscripts dating to the Warring States, Qin, and Han periods. Also collaborating with colleagues in Paris to analyze Dunhuang manuscripts that treat various divination traditions, including comparative research on early Chinese divination and science.


  • Manuscript Culture in Ancient and Medieval China (EALC 45530, Spring 2022)
  • Early Chinese Texts and Sociological Research (EALC 41005, Winter 2021)
  • Advanced Readings in Literary Chinese (EALC 40800, Spring 2020)
  • The Science of the Body in Traditional China (Spring 2006)
  • Readings in Literary Chinese (Winter 2006)
  • Dunhuang Manuscripts (Spring 2002)
  • Magic, Religion, and Science in China (Spring 2001)
  • Chinese Divination (Spring 2001)
  • Daoist Traditions in China (Spring 2000)
  • Early Chinese Texts (Spring 2000)