A Spatiotemporal Analysis of Walled Cities in Medieval and Early Modern China and Europe

Part of project The Lives and Afterlives of Imperial Material Infrastructure in Southeastern China (InfraLives)

Dr. Taylor Zaneri is a postdoctoral researcher and GIS analyst who works with Prof. Dr. Hilde De Weerdt and Dr. Sander Molenaar in collaboration with researchers at KU Leuven to conduct spatiotemporal analyses on infrastructure data (walls, bridges, and roads) collected from historical and archaeological sources to identify patterns in the construction, destruction, and maintenance of infrastructures. One of the research outputs is a public geospatial platform that will allow the user to view, query, and analyze the data (see infrastructurelives.eu for more information on the project aims).

In addition, Dr. Taylor Zaneri is compiling a dataset of medieval Italian city walls in order to compare the investment in city wall infrastructure in Italian and Chinese history. This is expected to result in a journal article. She will also be collaborating on a methodological article with group members on the project methodology, exploring how it can be generalized for other regions and research questions.

The Lives and Afterlives of Imperial Material Infrastructure in Southeastern China (InfraLives) investigates the role of large-scale infrastructure in processes of regional and empire-wide integration, or the break-down thereof, in late imperial Chinese history (ca. 1000-1800) with a focus on the Southeast coastal areas. This project, conceived and led by the PI prof. Dr. Hilde De Weerdt at the International Institute for Social History (IISH) and KU Leuven, envisages a systematic longue-durée analysis of the social history of material infrastructures and to this end is developing a highly innovative event-based digital annotation method.

InfraLives is sponsored by the Dutch Research Council (NWO, Open, no. 406.20.HW.006) and operates in tandem with the project Regionalizing Infrastructures in Chinese History, sponsored by the European Research Council (Horizon 2020, ERC Advanced Grant No. 101019509) and led by prof. Dr. Hilde De Weerdt at KU Leuven.