CRCAO member - China Team

Julie Gary-Bonte

Researcher, Independent


My research deals with the history of musical thought in ancient China, and more precisely with the ideas and practices that emerge in the literati circles of the medieval period.

My doctoral dissertation, focused on the writings of Ruan Ji 阮籍 and Ji Kang 嵇康 about the effects and uses of music, tried to highlight the ideological stakes involved in their debates, as well as the correlation between the liberation of art and the constitution of the subject.

I am currently working to retrace the general evolution of music aesthetics on a broader scale of the medieval period, and examine further the issue of the individual asserting himself as a full-fledged person through musical experience.

From a philological perspective, I’m also interested in the formulations of this aesthetics: it terminology, the filiation of its concepts, its philosophical roots and poetical expressions… I thus explore the topic of “music with no sound”, its corollary ideal of tenuous sonority, and the exemplary case of zither (guqin 古琴) music.

Research thematics

  • Aesthetics, theories and practices of music in ancient & medieval China
  • Intellectual and cultural history of the medieval era
  • Taoism, neo-taoist philosophy, “Dark learning” (Xuanxue)
  • Literature, poetry, literary criticism
  • Literati circles and practices

External research programmes


  • Translation and commentary of classical Chinese text : Hanfeizi (Inalco-UDP)