This paper addresses the role of topics in the licensing of anaphoric relations. I demonstrate that the C-domain plays a crucial role in accounting for valid and invalid cases of coreference. In particular, I argue that discourse anaphors are bound by a context operator, implying that the mechanism that corresponds to coreference is syntactically encoded. The crucial empirical evidence comes from the licensing of strict and sloppy readings in VP-ellipsis that follow from an alternative analysis of the role of focus binding proposed by Rooth (1992). I propose a topic hypothesis that requires that a coreferential expression enters into an Agree-relation with a topic head in the C-domain. Impossible cases of coreference are ruled out as violations of the locality constraint imposed by the syntactic Agree-relation.