Postdoctoral researcher at Heidelberg University/Heidelberg University of Jewish Studies

Funded by European Research Council Starting Grant (AFTERMATH 758347): 2019-2023.

Barend Noordam is a historian of Ming China, specializing in global military history, the history of science and technology, and knowledge circulation between East Asia and China, Turco-Persia, and Europe. From 2019-2023 he was a postdoctoral researcher on the Aftermath project, and now holds a postdoctoral research fellowship with the interdisciplinary Research Training Group “Ambivalent Enmity: Dynamics of Antagonism in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East” at Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg University of Jewish Studies.

As part of the Aftermath of the East Asian War-project, Barend traced the development, textual consolidation and diffusion of military technology in Ming China and Chosŏn Korea. The Imjin War, or East Asian War of 1592-1598 as it is known, is of specific significance for the history of (military) science and technology in East Asia, because it provides a fruitful mirror and counterpart to similar developments taking place in contemporary early modern Europe with its endemic interstate wars. The historiography on military developments in early modern Europe has often stressed the region’s interminable interstate conflicts as a prime reason for the rapid technological developments taking place there. Barend’s research therefore aims to explore this notion of heightened technological innovation and diffusion during incidences of interstate wars by looking at this process in Ming China in the immediate aftermath of the East Asian War.


Noordam, Barend. “Chinese Volley Fire and Metanarratives of World History” Journal of World History 34 (3) 2023, pp. 329-368, 10.1353/jwh.2023.a902024.

Noordam, Barend. “Ming Military Organization through the Lens of Contemporary European Observers: A Study in the History of Perception.” In Ordering the World in Asia and Europe: Exchanging Ideas of Governance and Administration Since the 16th Century, edited by Sebastian Meurer, Susan Richter, and Nicolas Schillinger, forthcoming. Munich: De Gruyter, 2020.

Noordam, Barend. “Military Intelligence and Early Modern Warfare: The Dutch East India Company and China, 1622-1624.” In Concepts and Institutions in a Transcultural Context, edited by A. Flüchter and J. Schöttli, 113-135. Heidelberg: Springer, 2015.

Noordam, Barend. “The Trojan Gun: The Jesuits as Cultural Mediators of Military Technology and the Court in Beijing, 1601-1644.” Leidschrift 27/1 (2012): 101-119.

Noordam, Barend. “Technology, Tactics, and Military Transfer in the Nineteenth Century: Qing Armies in Tonkin, 1884-1885.” In Structures on the Move. Technologies of Governance in Transcultural Encounters, edited by Antje Flüchter and Susan Richter, 169-188. Heidelberg: Springer, 2012.