Christine Oertzen

Senior Research Scholar
Department II
PD Dr.
since June 15, 2005

My work considers gender relations in society and science. My first monograph explored gender politics and social change in West Germany: an English-language version of this study was published in 2007. The focus of my second book is the creation and maintenance of female academic networks in western Europe and North America since the late-nineteenth century. This monograph, "Science, Gender, and Internationalism: Women's Academic Networks, 1917-1955," was published by the Wallstein press in Göttingen in September 2012. An English-language translation of this study has been released by Palgrave Macmillan (London/New York) in July 2014. The project's website provides an online biographical database of the many actors figuring in the book.

Currently, I am working on three projects in the broader context of three international working groups that I have implemented at the MPIWG. The first, Science in the Cradle, was part of the working group "Beyond the Academy: Histories of Gender and Knowledge." My focus here is at-home scientific observation of infants in fin-de-siècle America. The second, Machineries of Data Power, belongs to the working group "Historicizing Big Data." I am co-editor (with Elena Aronova and David Sepkoski) of a forthcoming volume of Osiris on "Histories of Data" (2017) that presents the group's collective outcome. In my own contribution to this volume, I reveal an unremarked European revolution in manual data processing during the 1860s, an account which challenges the machine-centured assumption that punch cards and Hollerith machines heralded the modern information age. The third project is part of a working group entitled "Working with Paper: Gendered Practices in the History of Knowledge." This group is planned for 2016 and will examine multiple sites of paper and knowledge practices, from the early modern period to the early twentieth century, from the household to the marketplace. 

I earned my Ph.D. at the Free University of Berlin in 1998. Subsequently, I taught at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Women and Gender at the Technical University in Berlin. From 2002 to 2005, I was a Research Fellow at the German Historicial Institute in Washington, D.C. In 2009, I joined the faculty of the history department at the Technical University Braunschweig as a Privatdozentin. I am a member of the editorial board of the history journal, "WerkstattGeschichte", and I serve as the representative of the researchers at this MPI to the Social Science and Humanities Section of the Max Planck Society.