Dagmar Schäfer

Department III
Dr., Honorarprofessorin für Wissenschafts ‐ und Technikgeschichte an der TU Berlin, Honorarprofessor für Sinologie an der FU Berlin
since April 1, 2013

Dagmar Schäfer is Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin where she is also Director of Department 3, "Artefacts, Action, and Knowledge." Since August 2015 she is also Professor h.c. of the History of Technology, at the Technical University, Berlin. She received her doctorate from the University of Würzburg before she did a Habilitation in the History of China and science. She worked and studied at the University of Zhejiang PR China, Beijing University PR China, Hsinchu University RoChina, the University of Pennsylvania U.S.A. and the University of Manchester U.K. among others. 

Her main 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 artefacts—texts, objects, and spaces—in the creation, diffusion, and use of scientific and technological knowledge. 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. 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.

Selected publications: 

Schäfer, D. (2017). China und Japan. In M. Sommer, S. Müller-Wille, & C. Reinhardt (Eds.), Handbuch Wissenschaftsgeschichte (pp. 166-177). Stuttgart: Metzler.

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Song, J.-O., & Schäfer, D. (2017). Interpreting the collection and display of contemporary science in Chinese museums as a reflection of science in society. In A. Boyle, & J.-G. Hagmann (Eds.), Challenging collections: approaches to the heritage of recent science and technology (pp. 88-102). Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press.

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Schäfer, D. (2017). Knowledge by design - architecture and Jade models during the Qianlong 乾隆 reign (1735–1796). In M. Valleriani (Ed.), The structures of practical knowledge (pp. 271-286). Cham: Springer.

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Schäfer, D. (2017). Science in the pre-modern East. In I. R. Morus (Ed.), The Oxford illustrated history of science (pp. 108-142). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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Chen, S.-P., Hong, Z., Schäfer, D., Siebert, M., & Urzúa, J. (2016). Compiling a database on historical China from local records: the Local Gazetteers Project at MPIWG. In M. Eder, & J. Rybicki (Eds.), Digital Humanities 2016: conference abstracts; Kraków 11–16 July 2016 (pp. 452-455). Kraków: Jagiellonian University & Pedagogical University.

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8-9 April, 2016
MPI-MMG, Göttingen
“Concepts, Values, Machines or Groups: The Language and Matter of Comparison in the Fissiparous Discipline of the History of Science”