Indiana University Bloomington
A photo collage of images. Click on the images to learn more.
Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Center (IAUNRC) Sinor Research Institute for Inner Asian Studies (SRIFIAS) Center for Languages of the Central Asian Region (CeLCAR) Summer Language Workshop (SWSEEL)

Christopher Beckwith :: Faculty

Picture of Christopher Beckwith

Professor, Central Eurasian Studies

Office: Goodbody Hall
Phone: (812) 855-2428
E-mail: beckwith@indiana.edu

Education

Ph.D. in Inner Asian Studies, Indiana University, Department of Uralic and Altaic Studies, 1977
M.A. in Tibetan, Indiana University, Department of Uralic and Altaic Studies, 1974
B.A. in Chinese, Ohio State University, 1968

Research Interests

The history of the scholastic-scientific method; history of early Central Asia; ethnolinguistic history of early Central Eurasia and East Asia; historical linguistics (primarily Indo-European, Tibeto-Burman, Chinese, Japanese-Koguryoic, Turkic); theoretical phonology; Mandarin structure; typological linguistics; and computational linguistics.

Courses Recently Taught

Publication Highlights

Warriors of the Cloisters: The Central Asian Origins of Science in the Medieval World. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2012.

 

 

Empires of the Silk Road, History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the present

Empires of the Silk Road: A History of Central Eurasia from the Bronze Age to the Present. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009. Revised paperback edition, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011.

Phoronyms:  Classifiers, Class Nouns, and the Pseudopartitive Construction.

İpek Yolu İmparatorlukları: Bronz Çağı’ndan Günümüze Orta Asya Tarihi. Turkish translation of the preceding book. Ankara: Odtü Yayıncılık, 2011.

Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages III. Halle: IITBS GmbH, 2008. 

Phoronyms: Classifiers, Class Nouns, and the Pseudopartitive Construction. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2007.

Koguryo,  the Language of Japan’s Continental Relatives

Koguryo, the Language of Japan’s Continental Relatives: An Introduction to the Historical-Comparative Study of the Japanese-Koguryoic Languages, with a Preliminary Description of Archaic Northeastern Middle Chinese. Second Edition. Leiden: Brill, 2007 (first edition, 2004).

Koguryŏ: Ilbon-ŭl taeryuk-kwa yŏngyŏlsik’yŏ junŭn ŏn’ŏ. Korean translation of the preceding book. Seoul: Koguryŏ yŏn’gu jaedan, 2006.

Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages II. Leiden: Brill, 2006.

Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages. Leiden: Brill, 2002.

 

The Tibetan Empire in Central Asia: A History of the Struggle for Great Power among Tibetans, Turks, Arabs, and Chinese during the Early Middle Ages. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987; paperback edition, with a new afterword, 1993.

 

Selected Articles

On the Ethnolinguistic Position of Manchu and the Manchus within Central Eurasia and East Asia. Manzokushi kenkyū 10 (2011), pp. 17-30.

On Zhangzhung and Bon. In: Henk Blezer, ed., Emerging Bon. Halle: IITBS GmbH, 2012, pp. 164-184.

Pyrrho’s Logic: A Reexamination of Aristocles’ Record of Timon’s Account. Elenchos 32.2 (2011), pp. 287-327. 

A Note on the Heavenly Kings of Ancient Central Eurasia. Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 17 (2010), pp. 7-10.

Old Chinese Loanwords in Korean. In: Sang-Oak Lee, ed., Contemporary Korean Linguistics: International Perspectives. Seoul: Thaehaksa, 2010, pp. 1-22.

The Sarvāstivādin Buddhist Scholastic Method in Medieval Islam and Tibet. In: Anna Akasoy, Charles Burnett, and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, eds., Islam and Tibet: Interactions along the Musk Routes. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2010, pp. 163-175.

The Dating and Interpretation of the Old Tibetan Inscriptions. Central Asiatic Journal, 54.2 (2010) pp. 290-317 (with Michael L. Walter).

On the Meaning of Old Tibetan rje-blon during the Tibetan Empire Period. Journal Asiatique 298.2 (2010), pp. 535-548 (with Michael L. Walter).

Could There Be a Korean–Japanese Linguistic Relationship Theory? Science, the Data, and the Alternatives. A State-of-the-Field Article. International Journal of Asian Studies 7.2 (2010), pp. 201-219.

The Frankish Name of the King of the Turks. Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 15 (2006/7), pp. 5-11.

A Note on the Name and Identity of the Junghars. Mongolian Studies 29 (2007), pp. 41-46.

On the Proto-Indo-European Obstruent System. Historische Sprachforschung 2007, 120: 1-19.

The Frankish Name of the King of the Turks. Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, 2006/7, 15: 5-11.

On the Proto-Indo-European Obstruent System. Historische Sprachforschung 2007, 120: 1-19.

Methodological Observations on Some Recent Studies of the Early Ethnolinguistic History of Korea and Vicinity. Altai Hakpo 2006, 16: 199-234.

Introduction: Toward a Tibeto-Burman Theory. In: C.I. Beckwith, ed., Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages II. Leiden: Brill, 2006, 1-38.

The Sonority Sequencing Principle and Old Tibetan Syllable Margins. In: C.I. Beckwith, ed., Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages II. Leiden: Brill, 2006, 45-55.

Old Tibetan and the Dialects and Periodization of Old Chinese. In: C.I. Beckwith, ed., Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages II. Leiden: Brill, 2006, 179-200.

The Ethnolinguistic History of the Early Korean Peninsula Region: Japanese-Koguryoic and Other Languages in the Koguryo, Paekche, and Silla Kingdoms. Journal of Inner and East Asian Studies, 2005, Vol. 2-2: 34-64.

On the Chinese Names for Tibet, Tabghatch, and the Turks. Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, 2005, 14: 5-20.

The Sino-Tibetan Problem. In: C.I. Beckwith, ed. Medieval Tibeto-Burman Languages. Leiden: Brill, 2002, 113-157.

The Idea of a Classifier System:  Theoretical Problems in the Analysis of Japanese Noun Specification. Web Journal of Formal, Computational and Cognitive Linguistics, 1999. (Valery Solovyev, ed., Web Journal of Formal, Computational and Cognitive Linguistics, 1997-1999, CD edition, Kazan, 2000.)

Noun Specification and Classification in Uzbek.  Anthropological Linguistics, Vol. 40.1, 1998, 124-140.

The Morphological Argument for the Existence of Sino-Tibetan.  Pan-Asiatic Linguistics: Proceedings of the Fourth International Symposium on Languages and Linguistics, January 8-10, 1996, Vol. III. Bangkok, 1996, 812-826.

The Impact of the Horse and Silk Trade on the Economies of T’ang China and the Uighur Empire: On the Importance of International Commerce in the Early Middle Ages.  Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient, Vol. 34, 1991, 183-198.

The Medieval Scholastic Method in Tibet and the West.  In: L. Epstein and R. Sherburne, ed., Reflections on Tibetan Culture: Essays in Memory of Turrell V. Wylie. Lewiston, N.Y., 1990, 307-313.

The Location and Population of Tibet According to Early Islamic Sources. Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Vol. 43, 1989, 163-170.  

The Tibetans in the Ordos and North China:  Considerations on the Role of the Tibetan Empire in World History. In: C.I. Beckwith, ed., Silver on Lapis. Bloomington, 1987, 3-11.

Aspects of the Early History of the Central Asian Guard Corps in Islam. Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi, Vol. 4, l984, 29-43.

The Plan of the City of Peace: Central Asian Iranian Factors in Early ‘Abbâsid  Design.  Acta Orientalia Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, Vol. 38, l984, 128-147.

Current research projects

Selected Awards and Honors