Vera V. Dorofeeva-Lichtmann is Chargé de Recherche Hors Classe at the UMR 8173 Chine-Corée-Japon, CNRS-EHESS (2015–2017 Deputy-Director) and since January 2019 also associated member of the research group “Epistémologie et Histoire de la Géographie,” UMR 8604 Géographie-cités. She received her PhD in history from the Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University in 1992.
Together with Dagmar Schaefer, she is co-directing the three-year research project “Translation Terroirs,” hosted by the MPIWG. She also coordinated a related French-Taiwanese project “Formal Analysis of Filiation of Pre-modern Maps of East Asia: the Case of Maps of Japan by Daikokuya Kōdayū (1751–1828),” PHC ORCHID 2019-2020.
She has been awarded several Alexander-von-Humboldt research fellowships (1996–1998, renewed in 2011 and 2017) and was a visiting fellow at the National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan, 2014), the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities (IKGF, Erlangen, December 2015–December 2016), Zhejiang University (PRC, May 2018), and, prior to the beginning of the “Translation Terroirs” project, at the MPIWG (October–November 2017, September–October and December 2018).
Her initial domain of research is the basic concepts of terrestrial space in the emerging Chinese Empire, as derived from transmitted and manuscript texts dating from the Warring States period through the Han dynasty, ca. fifth century BC–second century AD. Gradually she became interested in traditional East Asian maps, as an essential visual aid for comprehending early spatial concepts in the sinographic world, and in the amazing, yet often overlooked vitality of some of these concepts that continued to influence East Asian cartography up to the end of the nineteenth century. Her current interest is the elaboration of formal methods for investigating diagrammatic maps (working term) that do not rely on cartographic projection and are not drawn to scale. One of the outcomes would be a method of reliable reconstruction of filiation of congener maps.