International Max Planck Research School "Knowledge and Its Resources: Historical Reciprocities” Opens in Ceremony at Harnack-Haus Berlin

The newly-established International Max Planck Research School “Knowledge and Its Resources: Historical Reciprocities” (IMPRS-KIR) officially marked its start through an opening ceremony at Harnack-Haus in Berlin on February 6, 2023.

The new graduate school is a collective undertaking by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG), Freie Universität Berlin (FU), Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), and Technische Universität Berlin (TU). Students and professors in this new PhD program trace the political entanglements of knowledge and resources from a long-term and global perspective. Through a novel curriculum combining historical-political epistemology with cross-disciplinary perspectives, the graduate students at the IMPRS-KIR are trained to become experts that can bring a much-needed comparative perspective, reflection, and historical depth to the shaping and sustaining of knowledge societies around the globe.

Launching the IMPRS-KIR

The opening ceremony brought together around 100 members from the four partner institutions and from other graduate schools based in Berlin, as well as from collaborating research institutions and museums. They were welcomed by MPIWG managing director Jürgen Renn, the chairperson of the Human Sciences Section of the Max Planck Society, Arno Villringer, and the Presidents of the three Berlin Universities Günter Ziegler (FU), Julia von Blumenthal (HU), and Geraldine Rauch (TU). Moderated by IMPRS-KIR Speaker Christine von Oertzen (MPIWG/HU), the agenda and structure of the new graduate school were introduced to the guests by IMPRS-KIR Speakers Dagmar Schäfer (MPIWG) and Viktoria Tkaczyk (HU).


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The opening's highlight was a keynote lecture given by historian Simon Werrett (University College London) on “Toward a Resourceful History of Science.” In his talk, Werrett traced the resourcefulness of the early modern English household as a way to better understand the history of science, economy, and environment. The keynote was followed by a reception, with opportunities for academic and personal exchange and posters on the PhD projects of the first six doctoral students of the IMPRS-KIR. For them and other Predoctoral Fellows, the evening found its continuation the next day in a workshop with Simon Werrett on "How to Write a History of Objects."