Prof. Dr. Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann

Bild von Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann

Internationales Kolleg für Geisteswissenschaftliche Forschung "Schicksal, Freiheit und Prognose. Bewältigungsstrategien in Ostasien und Europa"

Home Institution: UMR 8173 Chine-Corée-Japon, CNRS – EHESS, Paris

IKGF Visiting Fellow December 2015 - March 2017

(Last change of profile by end of stay)

IKGF Research Project

Portents as Part of the Spiritual Landscape of the Shanhai jing (Itineraries of Mountains and Seas, compiled about the 1st century BC)

Curriculum vitae

Born 23.11.1960 in Moscow (USSR). In 1978-1983 I studied at the Institute of Asian and African Studies of the Moscow State University and received a ‘Diploma’ (equivalent of M.A.) in History (Sinology). In 1985-1989 I was teaching history of ancient and medieval China at the Institute of Asian and African Studies, and in 1989 I became a Research Fellow (‘Nauchny Sotrudnik’) at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In 1992 I defended an equivalent of a Ph.D. (‘Kandidat Nauk’) in History (Sinology) in the framework of a joint Ph.D. program between the Institute of Asian and African Studies and the Institute of Oriental Studies. In 1993-2000, thanks to a series of post-doctoral fellowships, including an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship, I pursued research in France (Paris) and Germany (Göttingen). Since 2000 I’m a Chargé de Recherche at the CNRS (UMR 8173 Chine-Corée-Japon, CNRS-EHESS). Based in Paris, I continue to lecture at the Institute of Asian and African Studies and share research time between France, Germany, and Taiwan. In 2011 I received a renewed Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship (3 months), and in 2014 I was a Visiting Researcher for 6 months at the National Tsing Hua University (Hsinchu, Taiwan).

Research interests: Conceptions of terrestrial space in the emerging Chinese Empire (derived from transmitted and manuscript texts dating from the Warring States period through the Han dynasty, ca. 4th century BC – 2nd century AD); the impact of the initial spatial ideas on the extant maps of the Chinese Empire (the earliest dating from the early 12th century) – adaptations and revisions.

Selected Publications

Books edited

2007 (co-edited with Francesca Bray and Georges Métailié) Graphics and Text in the Production of Technical Knowledge in China: The Warp and the Weft. Leiden: Brill.
2003 (co-edited with Michael Dickhardt) Creating and Representing Sacred Spaces, (Göttinger Beiträge zur Asienforschung 2-3; special double issue). Göttingen: Peust & Gutschmidt.


2015 Healing plants in the spiritual landscape of the Shanhai jing (Itineraries of mountains and seas, comp. 1st c. BC), in: Circumscribere 16 [International Journal for the History of Science] 16, pp. 103-122.
2012 A History of a Spatial Relationship: Kunlun Mountain and the Yellow River Source from Chinese Cosmography through to Western Cartography, in: Circumscribere [International Journal for the History of Science] 11, pp. 1-31.
2010 The Rong Cheng shi version of the “Nine Provinces”: Some Parallels with Transmitted Texts, in: East Asian Science, Technology and Medicine 32, pp. 13-58.
2009 Ritual Practices for Constructing Terrestrial Space (Warring States-Early Han), in: HdO Early Chinese Religion. Part One: Shang through Han (1250 BC – 220 AD), ed. by John Lagerwey and Marc Kalinowski, Leiden: Brill, pp. 595-644.
2007 Mapless Mapping: Did the Maps of the Shan hai jing Ever Exist? In: Graphics and Text in the Production of Technical Knowledge in China: The Warp and the Weft, ed. by Francesca Bray, Vera Dorofeeva-Lichtmann, and Georges Métailié, Leiden: Brill, pp. 217-294.
2006 Where is the Yellow River Source? A Controversial Question in the Early Chinese Historiography, in: Oriens Extremus 45/2005-2006, pp. 68-90.
2005 Spatial Composition of Ancient Chinese Texts, in: History of Science, History of Text, ed. by Karine Chemla (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science, vol. 238), Dordrecht: Springer, pp. 3-47.
2003 Mapping a ‘Spiritual’ Landscape: Representing Terrestrial Space in the Shan hai jing, in: Political Frontiers, Ethnic Boundaries, and Human Geographies in Chinese History, ed. by Nicola di Cosmo and Don Wyatt, London/New York: Routledge Curzon, pp. 35-79.
1996 Political Concept Behind an Interplay of Spatial ‘Positions’, in: Extrême-Orient Extrême-Occident 18: Disposer pour dire, placer pour penser, situer pour agir, ed. by Karine Chemla and Michael Lackner, Saint-Denis, Presses Univ. de Vincennes, pp. 9-33.
1995 Conception of Terrestrial Organization in the Shan hai jing, in: Bulletin de l'Ecole Française d'Extrême Orient 82, pp. 57-110.


Public Media presentation: radio program Planete Terre by Sylvan Kahn [France Culture], 01/23/2013 2 p.m.:
“Mondes chinois, arabes et euroéens: la circulation des savoirs géographiques” (URL:

Full List of Publications