Hilde De Weerdt joined the Leiden Institute for Area Studies in 2013. 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.
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 fellow at the Peking University Institute of the Humanities and Social Sciences, the Research Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Ministry of Science and Technology (Taipei), Kyoto University, Academia Sinica (Taipei), 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.
Hilde De Weerdt works on imperial Chinese intellectual and political history focusing on the question of how elite networks shaped Chinese politics. Her first book is an intellectual history of the civil service examinations. Her latest book examines the formation of a new information regime in imperial Chinese history, characterized by the production and dissemination of court- and polity-related texts by cultural elites (literati) instead of the court and high officialdom. It also examines the impact of this shift in cultural production on political identities and the structure of the polity.
She is currently completing an edited volume on political communication in imperial Chinese and medieval European history and co-editing a translation of Zhenguan zhengyao 貞觀政要/The Essentials of Government from the Zhenguan Reign. She has also started work on a global intellectual history of medieval political advice literature, the so-called “mirrors to princes.”