Prof.dr. H.G.D.G. (Hilde) De Weerdt

  • Professor
  • Chinese history

Telephone number: +31 (0)71 527 6505
Faculty / Department: Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Leiden Institute for Area Studies, SAS China
Office Address: Arsenaal
Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden
Room number 0.04

Inaugural lecture


Fields of interest

  • Chinese intellectual history
  • Political culture
  • Information networks
  • Urban and environmental history
  • Comparative historical methods
  • Digital methods for humanities research


Most of my research to date has examined the organization and re-organization of knowledge and the technologies for its dissemination in imperial China, focusing on the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. I have published on the re-adjustment of intellectual frameworks in encyclopedic writing, the development of an archival mentality in intellectual and political discourse, the combined use of spatial and chronological models for storing knowledge in historical atlases, the uses of printing in the dissemination of various types of specialized knowledge (administrative, geographical, historical, literary, philosophical, and military), and the reception history of maps.

I have also analyzed a primary setting for the creation and dissemination of knowledge in imperial Chinese history, the field of the civil service examinations. The intellectual history of the Chinese civil service examinations was the subject of bot h my Ph.D. dissertation and my first book (Competition over Content: Negotiating Standards for the Civil Service Examinations in Imperial China, 2007).

Teaching activities

I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in

  • Chinese history (beginnings to 19th C)
  • Topics in Chinese history (ca 800-1300)
  • Primary sources for historical research (ca 600-1400)
  • Topics in Chinese intellectual history

Curriculum vitae

Hilde De Weerdt joined the Leiden Institute for Area Studies in 2013. She obtained her PhD from Harvard University and held postdoctoral fellowships at the University of California at Berkeley, Stanford University, and Harvard University.

She was also a visiting scholar at Kyoto University, Academia Sinica (Taibei), Beijing University, Sichuan University, Shanghai Normal University, Osaka City University, National Tsing Hua University, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. Before coming to Leiden she was University Lecturer in Chinese History at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Pembroke College (2007-2012) and Reader in Chinese History (2012-2013) at King's College London.

Key publications

Information, Territory, and Elite Networks: The Crisis and Maintenance of Empire in Song China. Manuscript under submission.

Competition over Content: Negotiating Standards for the Civil Service Examinations in Imperial China (1127-1276). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Asia Center, 2007. 508 pp.

Knowledge and Text Production in an Age of Print--China, Tenth-Fourteenth Centuries, co-edited with Lucille Chia. Leiden: Brill, 2011. 446 pp.

"Chinese Cities, 600-1400." In Handbook on Global Cities. Ed. Peter Clark, pp. 292-308. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

“Maps and Memory: Readings of Cartography in Twelfth- and Thirteenth- Century Song China.” Imago Mundi: International Journal for the History of Cartography 61:2 (2009), 145-167.

Last Modified: 18-11-2014