This site hosts the activities of and provides access to the results of a collaborative project on Chinese and comparative history. Moving beyond the comparison of early world empires (like Han China and Rome) to explain the different course Chinese and European history have taken, this project assesses the importance of political communication in the maintenance of pre-nineteenth century states.
Through a systematic quantitative and qualitative analysis of notebooks and correspondence (sources that best convey individuals' engagement with politics), the research team aims to bring to life the networks through which political information circulated among provincial elites. The use of biographical databases, historical geographic information systems (GIS), social network analysis (SNA), and digital text and linguistic analysis to map and measure the spread and contraction of political information is experimental, and fits into a larger attempt to develop multi-dimensional analytical and visualization tools for the humanities.
Initially, (2010-2011) the project was funded by the British Academy, the John Fell Oxford University Press Fund, and The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science ("Mapping Knowledge Transmission through Citation Patterns in Notebooks"). Since 2012 the project has been funded by the European Research Council ("China and the Historical Sociology of Empire"). This generous grant funds a team of three post-doctoral fellows in Chinese and comparative history and in the digital humanities, a series of workshops and conferences, the development of online research tools, and electronic and print publications.
The database of notebooks printed during the Song Dynasty (960-1276), the first output of the project, can be searched, analysed, and downloaded from the ANALYSIS section.
A sample bilingual translation (a policy question and essay on monetary policy written in 1235) and a bibliography on notebooks/biji are the only texts that are currently included in the REFERENCE section
Recent blog posts
International Medieval Congress 2015 by mchu, July 30, 2015, 5:11 p.m.
Team members Hilde De Weerdt, Chu Mingkin and Julius Morche contributed to the panel “Historical Knowledge Networks in Global Perspective” ......read more
MARKUS update and new tools by hweerdt, March 12, 2015, 7:38 a.m.
Away day for the "State and society network" at LIAS by mchu, Dec. 5, 2014, 1:40 p.m.
Team members Hilde De Weerdt, Julius Morche and Chu Ming-kin participated in the Away Day of the “state and society ......read more
@Hilde De Weerdt
Cambridge blue series now covers “entire evolution of #politicalthought", global and beyond the canon via @JiyanQiao https://t.co/BMPLcnWRns20 hours, 43 minutes ago
Workshop: Anticlericalism in Comparison: China & West Europe 8th October 2016 @ihr_history with @RIMooreHistory1 day, 18 hours ago
Accounts of #China & #India by al-Sirafi paint an interconnected #medieval world...romanticization aside, fun read! https://t.co/1W9gFBsL1J1 week, 3 days ago
@Hilde De Weerdt
Yes, but nature of imperial ideal differed in Chinese & European history. It is administrative in later Chinese #history. @Scholars_Stage2 weeks, 3 days ago
@Hilde De Weerdt
Ming Chinese courier transportation Network, measure distances across the Chinese territories @HarvardCGA #GIS https://t.co/FZroBR2oav2 weeks, 6 days ago
Islamic Urban Centers (661–1300 CE) https://t.co/9UtkLJB0Bh by @maximromanov #urbanhistory #DH #medieval3 weeks ago