Bacteriological Knowledge Transfer to and within Poland

How to Make Microbes Travel. Bacteriological Knowledge Transfer to and within Poland, 1885-1939

Katharina Kreuder-Sonnen


Instruments Necessary for Bacteriological Work. In: Odo Bujwid, Rys zasad bakteryologii w zastosowaniu do medycyny i hygieny, Warsaw 1890. no page.

The PhD project analyzed media and techniques of knowledge transfer in medical bacteriology. It explored how texts and pictures as well as the circulation of people, objects, and animals were employed in order to mobilize the newly developed field of bacteriology from its original laboratories in Berlin and Paris to different geographical and social spaces. The project contributed to describing knowledge transfer as a complex and dynamic process, putting particular emphasis on modes of mutable mobilizations of laboratory networks. It also looked at strategies to merge germ theory and practices with the specificities of the local and social contexts to which it is transferred.

By focusing on knowledge transfer to and within the Polish lands, and later the 2nd Polish Republic, the project shed light on the mostly unexplored history of medicine in Central Eastern Europe. It aimed to show that Polish doctors and scientists played a vital role in the production and stabilization of bacteriological knowledge in Europe around 1900. Therefore, it also contributed to decentering Western European historiography on medicine and science, aiming at a more pluralistic account of knowledge production in the modern age.

  • Kreuder-Sonnen, K. (2015). Grenzen ziehen und überschreiten. Ärzte und das Jüdische im Polnischen Königreich während der Choleraepidemie 1892/93. Zeitschrift für Ostmitteleuropaforschung.
  • Kreuder-Sonnen, K. (2013/4). Mit Andreas Renner: Einleitung. Gesellschaft, Kultur und Hygiene in Osteuropa. Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas 61, 481-488.
  • Kreuder-Sonnen, K. (2012/13). Wie die Mikroben nach Warschau kamen. Wissenstransfer in der Bakteriologie in den 1880er Jahren. NTM – Journal of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine, New Series 20, 157-180.
  • Kreuder-Sonnen, K. & Renner, A. (Eds.). (2013/14). Sonderheft Public Hygiene in Central and Eastern Europe, 1800 – 1940. Jahrbücher für Geschichte Osteuropas.