Wolfgang Behr

Wolfgang Behr, Prof. Dr.

Professor of Chinese Studies with a focus on traditional China

Director of Studies Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies

Phone: +41 44 634 31 80

Room number: ZUB 4-412


Office hours by agreement

Short CV

Wolfgang Behr (born 1965 in Göttingen, FRG), read Sinology, Slavic Studies, Indo-European and Comparative Linguistics and Sociology in Frankfurt/Main, Shenyang, Changchun and Moscow. He receied his M.A. in 1991 with a thesis on Sanskrit-Chinese lexicography, his Ph.D. in 1997 with a dissertation on "Rhyming Bronze Inscriptions and the Origins of Chinese End-Rhyme Versificaton", and his Habilitation in 2008 on "Phonological and Morphological Studies in Early Chinese History of Thought and Culture". Between 1991–1997 he was Teaching and Research Assistant at J.W. Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M., Research Fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies, Leiden, in 1998, Research Fellow at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, Uppsala in 2005, and University Lecturer (Akademischer Rat) at Ruhr-University Bochum 1998–2008. Since September 2008 he is Professor at UZH. He held visting professorships in Hong Kong in 2014 (at Chinese University) and in 2017 (at The Jao Tsung-i Academy). Since 2018 he serves as Dean of Research at the Faculty of Humanties and Social Sciences of UZH.

Research Interests

  • Old Chinese phonology, morphology, etymology & paleography
  • Sino-Tibetan linguistics; external contacts of Old and Middle Chinese
  • Premodern Chinese dialectology
  • History of Chinese philology; epistemological foundations of historical linguistics in China, conceptual and cultural history, Philosophy of language beyond Standard Average European
  • Pre-imperial Chinese archaeology & history; Early Chinese historiography
  • Sanskrit-Chinese translation & lexicography
  • Modern Chinese translation of Western experimental literature, translatability, puns, metrics
  • Grammatology of complex non-alphabetic writing-systems

Publications, Papers, Talks, Conferences

See for a periodically updated list http://uzh.academia.edu/WolfgangBehr/ or query for "Wolfgang Behr" on zenodo.org.

Recent Publications

  • (with R. Suter & L. Indraccolo, eds.): The Gongsunlongzi and Other Neglected Texts: Aligning Philo­sophical and Philological Perspectives [Welten Ost­asiens], Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020, 575 pp. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/9783110587814/html
  • (with R. Sybesma, C.T.J. Huang, Z. Handel, J. Myers & Gu Yueguo, eds.):
    En­cyclopedia of Chinese Language and Lin­guistcs,Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2017,
    5 vols., 3454 pp.; also online @ http://referenceworks.brillonline.com/browse/encyclopedia-of-chinese-language-and-linguistics.
  • (with Sun Jingtao, eds.) Papers from the Li Fang-Kuei Society Young Scholar's Symposium (2013), special double issue of Bulletin of Chinese Linguistics 8.1 & 2 (2015), ca. 243 & 195 pp. https://brill.com/view/journals/bcl/8/1/bcl.8.issue-1.xml
  • (with R.H. Gassmann): Antikchinesisch. Ein Lehrbuch in drei Teilen [Antique Chinese: a textbook in three parts] (Schweizerische Asiengesell­schaft, Stu­dienhefte; 18/1-3), 3 Bde., Bern: P. Lang, 242+503+492 pp.; 3rd revised ed., Antikchinesisch ― Ein Lehrbuch in zwei Teilen [Antique Chinese: a text­book in two parts] (Schweizerische Asiengesellschaft, Stu­dienhefte; 19/1-3), Teil 1: Eine pro­pä­deu­tische Einführung in fünf Element(ar)gängen [A propaedeutic introduction in five element(ary) steps], Teil 2: Chrestomathie mit Glossaren und Grammatikno­tizen [Chrestomathy with Glossaries and Grammar Notes], 2 Bde., Bern: P. Lang, 2011, 242+505 pp. https://www.peterlang.com/view/title/59556
  • (with R.H. Gassmann): Grammatik des Antikchinesischen – Begleitband zu Antikchinesisch – Ein Lehrbuch in zwei Teilen [A grammar of Antique Chinese; supplementary volume to Antique Chinese – a text­book in two parts] (Schweizer Asiatische Studien; 20), Bern: P. Lang, 2013, 523 pp. https://www.zora.uzh.ch/id/eprint/89130/
  • (with Licia di Giacinto, Ole Döring, Christine Moll-Murata, eds.) Auf Augenhöhe – Festschrift zum 65. Geburtstag von Heiner Roetz, special issue of Bochumer Jahrbuch zur Ostasienforschung, Mün­chen: iudicium, 2015, 502 pp. https://www.iudicium.de/katalog/86205-180.htm
  • (with L. Indraccolo, eds.) Masters of Disguise: Conceptions and Misconceptions of rhetoric in Early China, spe­cial issue of Asiatische Studien 68.4, 2014, pp. 889–1265. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/asia-2014-frontmatter4/html

Memberships and Functions

at UZH (selection):



Courses Currently Taught at the University of Zürich