People

Dagmar Schäfer

Director (Since 2013)

Dr., Professor, TU Berlin, FU Berlin, Tianjin University

The current Managing Director of the Institute, Dagmar Schäfer is Director of Department III, Artifacts, Action, Knowledge. She is Honorary Professor in History of Technology at Technische Universität, Berlin; Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Sinology, Freie Universität, Berlin; and Guest Professor at Tianjin University (2018–2021). She received her doctorate and habilitation from the University of Würzburg and has worked and studied at Zhejiang University, Peking University, National Tsing Hua University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Manchester, among others. She was previously a Guest Professor at the School of History and Culture of Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Dagmar Schäfer's interest is the history and sociology of technology of China, focusing on the paradigms configuring the discourse on technological development, past and present. She has published widely on the Premodern history of China (Song-Ming) and technology, materiality, the processes and structures that lead to varying knowledge systems, and the changing role of artifacts—texts, objects, and spaces—in the creation, diffusion, and use of scientific and technological knowledge. Her current research focus is the historical dynamics of concept formation, situations, and experiences of action through which actors have explored, handled and explained their physical, social, and individual worlds.

 

Schäfer portrait photo

Photo: ausserhofer.de

 

Her monograph The Crafting of the 10,000 Things (University of Chicago Press, 2011) won the History of Science Society: Pfizer Award in 2012 and the Association for Asian Studies: Joseph Levenson Prize (Pre-1900) in 2013. Dagmar Schäfer was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2020—the most prestigious research award in Germany, it is given to “exceptional scientists and academics for their outstanding achievements in the field of research.”

Projects

Berlin Research 50 (BR 50)

MEHR

Ability and Authority

MEHR

Agriculture and the Making of Sciences (1100–1700)

MEHR

Berlin Research 50 (BR 50)

MEHR

Image Database: Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens

MEHR

Local Gazetteers

MEHR

Source-Based Initiatives

MEHR

The Body of Animals

MEHR

Accounting for Uncertainty: Prediction and Planning in Asian History

MEHR

Cultural Traditions of Technical Knowledge

MEHR

Geographies of Knowing: China Historical GIS

MEHR

History of Science ON CALL: Listening, Attending, Acting

MEHR

History of Science Reader

MEHR

Knowledge Transmission

MEHR

Media and Methods of Practical Knowledge Transmission: Craftsmanship and the Qing Court

MEHR

Monumentalized or Marginalized, Writings about Technology in Chinese History: A Database

MEHR

Selected Publications

Schäfer, Dagmar (2021). “Useful Work: State Demands and Craftsmen’s Social Mobility in Fifteenth-Century China.” ed. Dagmar Schäfer and Simona Valeriani. Technology and Culture 62 (2): 373–400. https://doi.org/10.1353/tech.2021.0060.

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Schäfer, Dagmar and Simona Valeriani, eds. (2021). Technology Is Global: The Useful & Reliable Knowledge Debate. [Special issue] Technology and Culture. 62 (2). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Schäfer, Dagmar and Simona Valeriani (2021). “Technology Is Global: The Useful & Reliable Knowledge Debate.” ed. Dagmar Schäfer and Simona Valeriani. Technology and Culture 62 (2): 327–347. https://doi.org/10.1353/tech.2021.0061.

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Brentjes, Sonja and Dagmar Schäfer, eds. (2020). Imagining the Heavens: Historiographical Challenges and Eurasian Perspectives. [Special issue] NTM. 28/3. Basel: Birkhäuser. https://link.springer.com/journal/48/volumes-and-issues/28-3.

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News & Press

Sonderausgabe des Magazins SHOT Journal: Technology and Culture editiert von Dagmar Schäfer

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Brill und MPIWG unterzeichnen Vereinbarung über digitale Konkordanzen

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Direktorin Dagmar Schäfer zum Mitglied der Deutschen Akademie der Technikwissenschaften (acatech) gewählt

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Video Interviews

Institute Events

Presentation

Doing Science Differently in the Age of Climate Change

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Presentation

Digital, Domestic, Disposable: The Life Sciences’ Many Cultures of Experimentation

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Workshop

Global South Cosmologies & Epistemologies: A Trans-Hemispheric Conversation

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Workshop

Analysis of Pre-Modern Maps of East Asia: Methods and Approaches

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Books

Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Keynote address: “From Digital to Humanities: Smart Data and the Role of the History of Science in Digital Humanities.”

11th International Conference of Digital Archives and Digital Humanities (DADH) virtual conference

DADH2020