Hansun Hsiung

Postdoctoral Fellow
Postdoctoral Fellows are early career scholars who are ordinarily no more than five years past the granting of the doctorate and who are financed in part or in whole by the MPIWG. These scholars carry minor responsibilities (no more than 10% of their time) within their research unit.
Department II
1. September 2016 to 30. Juni 2019

Hansun Hsiung trained at Yale, the University of Tokyo, and Harvard (PhD, 2016). He is a global intellectual historian whose work stands at the intersection of book history, media archeology, and the history of science. His works thus far have focused particularly on the networks and technologies that moved knowledge between Western Europe, the US, Japan, and China from roughly 1750–1900—a story that thrusts missionaries, opium smugglers, and pirate publishers alongside samurai-scholars.

Hansun is currently transforming this dissertation—"Republic of Letters, Empire of Textbooks: Globalizing Western Knowledge, 1790-1895"—into a book manuscript. Alongside, he is also engaged in a collaborative project that aims to trace the pre-photographic reproduction of scientific images across cultures and the role of non-verbal representation in fostering a consciousness of "global science." In the past his research has received the generous support of Fulbright Program and the Mellon Foundation.

Selected publications: 

Hsiung, H. (2017). The 'Circle of knowledge': radical commensurability and the deaf textbook. In E. Boehmer, R. Kunstmann, P. Mukhopadhyay, & A. Rogers (Eds.), The global histories of books: methods and practices (pp. 161-187). Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-51334-8_7.


Hsiung, H. (2012). Woman, man, abacus: a tale of Enlightenment. Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, 72(1), 1-42.

1 April 2017
Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference (Chicago)
From the Ethnography of Science to the History of Science: Clavius' In sphaeram in Japan and the Travel of Epistemic Anxieties
3 May 2017
Harvard University
Size Matters: Knowledge, Storage, and the History of Compression


Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 
Boltzmannstraße 22 
14195 Berlin 

Curriculum Vitae