Ideals and Practices of Rationality
Department II studies the history of scientific reason. Its topics are categories, concepts, and practices that are fundamental to modern science and culture – so fundamental that they seem to transcend history. Examples include the division between the “natural” and “human” realms (Between the Natural and Human Sciences), and “gender” (Gender Studies of Science). The current main project examines the memory of the sciences: how data is collected, classified, stored, and accessed, as well as the changing meaning of “data” itself (Sciences of the Archive). Since the hidden histories of these taken-for-granted topics only become visible when contexts vary, most projects have a comparative dimension, spanning many centuries, several cultures, or both (Science in Circulation).