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Charles Li


Following a BA in Western Society and Culture with a minor in Music from the Liberal Arts College of Concordia University in Montréal, I completed a professional diploma in ébénisterie (fine woodworking) before coming to Cambridge to pursue studies in Sanskrit. My doctoral research is funded by a Cambridge International Scholarship as well as a Doctoral Fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Research Interests

My dissertation concerns the Dravyasamuddeśa, a chapter from the Vākyapadīya of Bhartṛhari, a 5th-century Sanskrit treatise on the philosophy of language. I am preparing a critical edition and study of the text along with its 10th-century commentary, the Prakīrṇaprakāśa, of Helārāja. As part of this project, I am developing some software to automatically collate diplomatic transcripts of Sanskrit manuscripts and to present the resulting critical apparatus as an interactive tool that can be customized by the reader.

Other Professional Activities

In 2014-2015, I made a short film, funded by the Cambridge Shorts program, about philology, lexicography, and the Buddhist notion of "wisdom". The short premiered at the Cambridge Arts Picturehouse as part of the Cambridge Science Festival in March 2015. It is now available online via the University YouTube channel <>. An article on the making of the film was published in issue 10 of INDIRAN <>.