Nathan Vedal

Assistant Professor
Robarts Library, Room 14-233


Areas of Interest

  • Late imperial Chinese history and literature
  • East Asian book history
  • Intellectual history
  • Manchu studies
  • History of linguistic thought


Nathan Vedal is broadly interested in the intellectual, cultural, and literary history of late imperial China and early modern East Asia between roughly the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries. He employs approaches from book history and the history of science/humanities to his research on the circulation of knowledge and books. His first monograph, The Culture of Language in Ming China, examines the history of language study and the formation of scholarly disciplines in China from the sixteenth through eighteenth centuries, demonstrating how the boundaries surrounding linguistic study shifted according to contemporary intellectual trends. His current research, which stems from a set of shared materials, investigates how early modern scholars and literary figures managed information in a period of substantially increased textual production. Specifically, he examines the concrete practices underlying how scholars compiled reference works, such as encyclopedias, and how readers and writers put them to use. Other research interests include Manchu intellectual and literary culture, historical practices of commentary and annotation, and early modern forms of visualizing knowledge.


PhD, Harvard University
MA, Harvard University
BMus, Curtis Institute of Music