Head of Cooperation & Communication

Hansjakob Ziemer

+49 30 22667 242

Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge

The Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge is a joint initiative of the MPIWG and the Freie Universität Berlin (FU), the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), and the Technische Universität Berlin (TU). As a forum for new research endeavors and as a platform for public discussion, the Berlin Center will increase the ZWGvisibility of Berlin’s multidisciplinary research potential in the history of knowledge. The aim of the four partner institutions is to exploit this potential through a significant expansion of activities, a considerable strengthening of institutional ties, and a long-lasting consolidation of heretofore dispersed resources in Berlin.

Along with a number of research and teaching appointments made by Berlin’s universities in the history of knowledge and science, a number of new professorships at the partner universities and new positions as Research Group Director at the MPIWG have been created. Efforts to make a long-lasting impact on institutional structures are complemented by a number of initiatives to foster dialogue between pre- and postdoctoral scholars based in Berlin: for example, the “Studientag Literatur und Wissenschaftsgeschichte” in cooperation with the chair for New German Literature at the FU (Professor Jutta Müller-Tamm) and the “Berliner DoktorandInnenforum für Wissensgeschichte,” which is jointly organized by all four partner institutions.

Cooperation in Teaching

Cooperation in teaching is also one of the Berlin Center’s goals. Since 2010, the cooperation partners have compiled an annotated list of all courses offered at the Berlin universities in the field of the history of knowledge (printing the “Berliner Vorlesungsverzeichnis Wissenschaftsgeschichte (KVV)” each semester). The course list (in German) lists current lectures and courses relating to the history of science and the history of knowledge at the FU, HU, and TU that provide students with the relevant methodological training in the history of science.The Berliner Zentrum website provides a wide range of helpful information to researchers with a primary interest in the history of knowledge, as well as a calendar of events in Berlin.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Since August 2016, nine postdoctoral scholars have been hosted by the Berlin Center partner institutions, listed below.

Maria Avxentevskaya (MPIWG)

The Physician's Stammbuch: Humanist Cultures of Knowledge Networking


Angela Axworthy (TU Berlin)

The Status of Practical Geometry and its Relations to Theoretical and Applied Geometrical Knowledge in Sixteenth-century Treatises of Practical Geometry


Logo HU Berlin: heads of Alexander and Wilhelm Humboldt, writing all around

Irene Calà (HU Berlin)

Bleeding for Health: Galen’s Views on Phlebotomy and Their Reception in Medical Works of Late Antiquity


Minakshi Menon (TU Berlin)

Hortus Oceanus Indicus: The Calcutta Botanic Garden and the Making of the Indian Ocean Environment, 1786–1847


Anja Sattelmacher (TU Berlin)

Making Things Alive: Animation as Cultural and Epistemic Practice



Ylva Söderfeldt (MPIWG)

Knowing and Being Known: Hay Fever and the Fieldwork of Medical Knowledge 1897–1968


Dror Weil (MPIWG)

Transmission of Medical Knowledge Embedded in Islamic Texts to China, Seventeenth to Nineteenth Centuries


Isaiah Wilner (MPIWG)

Narratives of Transformation: The Globalization of Indigenous Knowledge


Logo HU Berlin: heads of Alexander and Wilhelm Humboldt, writing all around

Adrian Young (HU Berlin)

“Going Native”: Becoming the Other as a Mode of Knowledge-making in the British Imperial World