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David Barnett Lurie

Associate Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures
School of the Arts
East Asian Languages and Cultures Department
407 Kent Hall
  • Faculty Director, Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture

David Lurie, associate professor of Japanese history and literature, received his B.A. from Harvard (1993) and his M.A. (1996) and PhD. (2001) from Columbia. His first book, on the development of writing systems in Japan through the Heian period, is entitled Realms of Literacy: Early Japan and the History of Writing (Harvard University Asia Center, 2011). Other publications include “The Development of Japanese Writing,” in The Shape of Script: How and Why Writing Systems Change (SAR Press, 2012); “Language, Writing, and Disciplinarity in the Critique of the ‘Ideographic Myth’: Some Proleptical Remarks,” Language & Communication 26 (2006); and “On the Inscription of the Hitomaro Poetry Collection: Between Literary History and the History of Writing,” Man’yoshu kenkyu 26 (2004). In addition to the history of writing systems and literacy, his research interests include the literary and cultural history of premodern Japan, the Japanese reception of Chinese literary, historical, and technical writings, the development of Japanese dictionaries and encyclopedias, the history of linguistic thought, and Japanese mythology.

Research Interests

  • History of writing systems

  • Cultural, intellectual, and literary history of early Japan

  • Development of reading systems and Japanese reception of Chinese texts

  • History of Japanese dictionaries and encyclopedias

  • Emergence of the hiragana and katakana syllabaries in 9th century Japan

  • Medieval and early modern commentaries on early Japanese texts

  • Early modern Japanese epigraphy and archaeology

  • History of Japanese linguistic thought

  • Japanese and comparative mythology

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