Keith Weller Taylor



K. W. Taylor is Professor of Sino-Vietnamese Cultural Studies in the Department of Asian Studies at Cornell University. He has published several books and many articles about Vietnamese history and literature, most recently A History of the Vietnamese (Cambridge University Press, 2013). He has pioneered the teaching in North America of literary Vietnamese in the character script based on literary Chinese called chữ Nôm. He has studied and published about the theory and method of translation from literary Chinese to literary Vietnamese.  After serving with the US Army in Vietnam, he obtained his Ph.D. in 1976 at the University of Michigan. He subsequently taught in Japan and Singapore for several years before returning to the US in 1987. After teaching for two years at Hope College, he took a position at Cornell University in 1989. He has visited Vietnam for research and scholarly exchange many times and lived continuously in Vietnam for two years in the early 1990s while studying and teaching. He has seriously researched all periods of the Vietnamese past and has developed a particular interest in Vietnamese poetry and how it has changed from generation to generation.

Research Focus

  • Vietnamese History
  • Translation
  • Han-Nom Poetry


Selected Publications

  • A Vietnamese literary riddle from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries: Hoàng Sĩ Khải’s Tứ Thời Khúc, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 51, 1-2 (June 2020):95-113.
  • Developing Vernacular: New Forms of Vietnamese Poetry in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, in Nanxiu Qian, Richard J. Smith, & Bowei Zhang, eds., Rethinking the Sinosphere: Poetics, Aesthetics, and Identity Formation (Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2020), pp. 297-327.
  • Translating Content and Form from Vietnamese into World Literature: The Case of Kieu, in Ken Seigneurie, ed., A Companion to World Literature (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., 2020), vol. 4, pp. 2217-2227.
  • A History of the Vietnamese  (Cambridge University Press, 2013).
  • "What lies behind the earliest story of Buddhism in ancient Vietnam?" Journal of Asian Studies, 77, 1 (February 2018): 107-122.
  • "Nguyễn Công Trứ at the Court of Minh Mạng," Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 42, 2 (June 2016): 256-281.
  • "Literacy in Early Seventeenth-Century Northern Vietnam," in Michael Arthur Aung-Thwin and Kenneth R. Hall, eds. New Perspectives on the History and Historiography of Southeast Asia: Continuing Explorations (New York: Routledge, 2011), pp. 183-198.
  • "Sino-Vietnamese Translation from Classical to Vernacular," in Eva Hung & Judy Wakabayashi, eds., Asian Translation Traditions (London: St. Jerome, 2005), pp. 169-194.
  • "Vietnamese Confucian Narratives," in Benjamin A. Elman, John B. Duncan, and Herman Ooms, eds., Rethinking Confucianism: Past and Present in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, (Los Angeles: UCLA Asian Pacific Monograph Series, 2002), pp. 337-369.
  • "Surface Orientations in Vietnam: beyond Historis of Nation and Region," Journal of Asian Studies 57, 4 (November 1998):949-978.
  • "Locating and translating boundaries in Nguyen Huy Thiep's short stories," Vietnam Review 1 (autumn-winter 1996):439-465.
  • "Perceptions of encounter in Shui ching chu 37," Asia Journal (Seoul National University) 2, 1 (June 1996):29-54.
  • "Voices within and without: tales from stone and paper about Do Anh Vu," K. W. Taylor and J. K. Whitmore, eds., Essays into Vietnamese Pasts  (Ithaca, NY: Cornell Southeast Asia Publications, 1995), pp. 59-80.
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HIST Courses - Spring 2024