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Fusion of two images: "Dyers scraping stenciled fabrics," figure 235, Hommel & Mercer, China at Work 1937, and "Indian indigo-dye worker," photo A. Mamidipudi, 2017.

Dept. III

Artifacts, Action, Knowledge

Department III studies the history of knowledge and action considering the changing role of artifacts: texts, objects, and spaces. Our research collectively examines the processes and structures by which people grappled with the materiality of existence. Through the analysis of everyday actions, we interrogate the boundaries and intersections between the inner workings of objects and all domains of life. Together these approaches allow us to pursue inquiries into historical epistemologies of action. Our research structure has three entry points: artifacts (things), action (making), knowledge (work). 

Research Themes

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Histories of Planning
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The Body of Animals
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Source-Based Initiatives

Department III Events

What One Should Know about a Locality: Analyzing Knowledge Categories from the Chinese Local Gazetteers

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Global South Cosmologies & Epistemologies: A Trans-Hemispheric Conversation

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

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Troubling Epistemics and Postcolonialism

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News & Press

Chinese-language "History of Science Reader” praised in Shanghai Review of Books

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"When Historians and Computer Engineers Collaborate in Research": Dagmar Schäfer interviewed in 澎湃新闻

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Dagmar Schäfer in Deutschlandfunk Kultur podcast on her career path through China's history of technology

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Publications & Digital Resources

Multimedia