David Porter

Faculty Advisor
Professor of English
University of Michigan


Dr. Porter has been working for many years on the problem of how to think China and England together in the eighteenth century and early modern period. His first book, Ideographia (2001), explored various patterns that seemed to shape European responses to Chinese cultural achievements in language, religion, the arts, and trade between 1600 and 1800. His second book, The Chinese Taste in Eighteenth Century England (2010)focused more specifically on the remarkable assimilation of Chinese aesthetic ideas within English literature, gardening, and decorative arts, with special attention to the gendered dimensions of this response.  My current book project, a comparative study of literary trends in China and England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, has involved excursions into world literature, translation theory, comparative political and economic history, and Ming dynasty philosophy.

Dr. Porter got his PhD from Stanford University in 1996.