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The Zhao Yu Tu (“map of the area of the mausoleum”), excavated in the late 1970s in Pingshan County, south-central Hebei Province. Hebei Provincial Museum at Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province, China.

Department III studies the history of knowledge and action. The two main areas of interest are the processes and structures that lead to varying configurations of collaborative and individual bodies of knowledge as well as the changing role of artifacts—texts, objects, and spaces—in the creation, diffusion, and use of scientific and technological knowledge. Research cases include Asian cultures and the premodern era. In addition to individual projects, Working Groups are dedicated, at different levels of detail, to gathering together scholars interested in specific issues within larger themes.

Research Themes

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Histories of Planning
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The Body of Animals
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News & Press

The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science mourns the loss of Aaron Moore

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Can innovation be planned? Director Dagmar Schäfer in conversation with Die Zeit

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Artist in Residence Daniela Rosner joins Department III

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Department III Events

The Global History of the Swing

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Knowing an Empire: Imperial Science in Early Modern Chinese and Spanish Empires

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Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

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Publications & Digital Resources