March for Science, Washington 2017

March for Science. Source: ©Becker1999/ CC-by-sa 2.0.

Dept. II

Knowledge Systems and Collective Life

Department II studies the relationship between how we know and how we live together—that is, between knowledge systems, which determine what kinds of knowledge are valued, how knowledge is produced, and who is authorized to know, and collective life, which encompasses a variety of efforts to fashion our lives with others, including but not limited to conventional politics. Researchers in the department use historical and ethnographic methods to explore the relationship between these overlapping domains in the past and present. Open positions and fellowships in Department II are advertised on the Institute-wide Career page.

Research Themes

Catastrophic Flooding in Germany 2021.
Environmental Knowledge in Times of Crisis
March for Science
From Trust in Science to Knowledge in Relation
[The Georgia Negro] City and Rural Population. 1890. Source: Library of Congress © W. E. B. Du Bois, circa. 1900..
Politics and Practices of Data

Research Group

Laboratory for Oral History and Experimental Media

News & Press

Interview on NursingClio with Research Scholar Jesse Olszynko-Gryn about the history of pregnancy testing


Wellcome Collection quotes Jesse Olszynko-Gryn on the history of pregnancy testing


Feature in Tagesspiegel on Etienne Benson's department "Knowledge Systems and Collective Life"   


Media & Digital Resources


Laboratory for Oral History and Experimental Media Series: Voices of the Nakba


Noise as (Environmental) Knowledge


"We still don't know"—Brown Bag Lunch with Robert A. Aronowitz