Dr Dror Weil

University Assistant Professor in History of Early Modern Asia (East Asia and the Islamicate world)

I am a historian of pre-modern Asia, with a particular interest in scientific and other textual exchanges between the Islamicate world and China; cultural, intellectual and social histories of Late Imperial China; histories of medicine and science in Asia; and, histories of the book and textuality. 

I studied for my BA degree in East Asian Studies and Economics at Tel Aviv University, and for an MA degree in History at National Chengchi University (政治大學) in Taipei. I earned a PhD degree from Princeton University with a dissertation titled: "The Vicissitudes of Late Imperial China's Accommodation of Arabo-Persian Knowledge of the Natural World, 16th-18th Centuries" in 2016. I was a recipient of the Thomas Arthur Arnold Fund for Excellence in Historical Research fellowship at the Zvi Yavetz School of Historical Studies, Tel Aviv University in 2017 and held postdoctoral fellowships at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin and the Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge between 2017-2019.

Before taking up a university lectureship at Cambridge in 2021, I held a permanent lectureship in History of Asia pre-1750 at the Department of History, King's College London. In 2022, I was invited to serve as a Visiting Professor at EHESS (Paris and Marseille). 

ORCID ID: 0000-0001-6098-0950


I welcome inquiries from prospective graduate students interested in the history of the East Asia and the Islamicate World - from the late medieval to the 19th century, and in particular, those who wish to study cross-cultural movements of knowledge, texts, objects and people. I also welcome applications from students who wish to research the histories of Islam, Judaism and Christianity in China, the Mongol empire, Ilkhanid and Safavid Iran, and Yuan-Ming-Qing histories.  

For undergraduates, I am one of the conveners of the first-year overview papers 'O5: Europe in the World, 1450-1780' and 'Paper 21: Empires and world history from the 15th century to the First World War', and the first-year Sources option 'Reading Early Modern Asian Empires'. I also lecture in Part II papers 'Early Science and Medicine' and 'Paper 14: Material culture in the early modern world'. 

At the postgraduate level, I serve as the Director of the MPhil in World History, and the convenor of the core paper 'Debates in World History' and the optional paper 'The Global Early Modern Period'. I also lecture in the Early Modern History MPhil core paper 'Sources and Methods'. 

I am also one of the convenors of the World History research seminar series.

Key publications:

Edited volumes

Dror Weil, Katja Krause and Maria Auxent (eds), Premodern Experience of the Natural World in Translation (London: Routledge, June 2022). Open access


Selected articles and book chapters

"Islamicated China - China's Participation in the Islamicate Book Culture during the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries," Intellectual History of the Islamicate World 4, No. 1-2 (Jan. 2016), 36-60.

“Time and Temporalities in Early Modern Chinese Islam”, Journal for the History of Knowledge (accepted, expected 2024).

 "Straddling Boundaries: The Accommodation of Mirṣād al-‘Ibad in Early Modern China", International Journal of Asian Studies (accepted, expected 2024).

"Collation and Articulation of Arabo-Persian Texts in Early Modern China," in Sonja Brentjes (ed.) Routledge Handbook on Science in the Islamicate World (New York: Routledge, 2023).

"Chinese-Muslims as Agents of Astral Knowledge in Late Imperial China," in Bill Mak and Eric Huntington (eds.), Overlapping cosmologies in Asia (Leiden: Brill, 2022)

"Unveiling Nature: Liu Zhi’s Translation of Arabo-Persian Physiology in Early Modern China," Osiris 37/1 (2022), 47-66

“Translating Medical Experience in Tables: The Case of Eleventh-Century Arabic Taqwīm Works,” in Premodern Experience of the Natural World in Translation eds. Dror Weil et als., (New york: Routledge, 2022), 230-49

"The Fourteenth-Century Transformation in China's Reception of Arabo-Persian Astronomy," in Patrick Manning and Abigail Owen (eds.) Knowledge in Translation: Global Patterns of Scientific Exchange, 1000-1800 CE (Pittsburg: Pittsburg University Press, 2018), 345-370

co-authored with Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim, “Chapter 29 - Galen in Premodern Tibet and China: Impressions and Footprints,” in Peter Singer and Ralph Rosen (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Galen (Oxford, Oxford University Press, forthcoming 2023).

"Theology, Ethics and Textual Sensitivity: The Multiple Notions of Xin in Chinese-Islamic Texts," in Christian Meyer and Philip Clart (eds.) From Trustworthiness to Secular Beliefs – Changing Concepts of xin  from Traditional to Modern Chinese (Leiden: Brill, 2023)

“Libraries of Arabic and Persian texts in late imperial China," in Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson (eds.) Encyclopaedia of Islam, Third Edition (Leiden: Brill, 2020), 90-92.

"Literacy, in Arabic and Persian, in late imperial China,” in Kate Fleet, Gudrun Krämer, Denis Matringe, John Nawas, Everett Rowson (eds.) Encyclopaedia of Islam, Third Edition (Leiden: Brill, 2020), 92-95.

“Kaifeng youtai houyi zai shisi shiji zhi shiqi shiji zhong de wenhua renting” 開封猶太後裔在 十四世紀至十七世紀中的文化認同 (“The Cultural Identity of the Descendants of Kaifeng Jews between the Fourteenth and the mid-Seventeenth centuries”) in Zhong Caijun and Zhou Daxing (eds.), Youtai yu Zhongguo chuantong de duihua 猶太與中國傳統的對話 (Taipei: Academia Sinica, Institute of Literature and Philosophy, 2011), 263-309.  (in Chinese)