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2016 Jefferson Prize

The Jefferson Prize honors a tenured or tenure-track faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in research and creative activity.

Charles Sanft

Charles SanftCharles Sanft’s work is helping make UT a leader in the field of Chinese history. His research shows how imperial leaders used communication to win the allegiance and enlist the support of common people across a vast territory. Experts have described him as one of the most important young scholars working in the field of ancient Chinese history and note that many of his published articles have been transformative.

An associate professor of history, he has published Communication and Cooperation in Early Imperial China, a monograph with the SUNY Press Series on Chinese Philosophy and Culture. He currently is working on a second book, which addresses literacy in early China.

Sanft is a leader and mentor in the history department and has led workshops for colleagues on teaching techniques and new uses of technology. He is working to develop a study abroad experience for UT students who want to study in China.

One nominator wrote that Sanft “is not simply here to do his own work but to build something bigger that will serve his faculty colleagues, UT students, and the state of Tennessee, making our university a destination for the study of Chinese history and culture.”