Dept1_punched_card
Dept. II

Ideals & Practices of Rationality

Director: Lorraine Daston

T +49 30 22667 131
F +49 30 22667 293

Department II studies the history of scientific reason. Its topics are categories, concepts, and practices that are fundamental to modern science and culture—so fundamental that they seem to transcend history: evidence, proof, objectivity. Ongoing projects address the division between the “natural” and “human” realms (Between the Natural and Human Sciences), and “gender” (Gender Studies of Science). The Department’s current main project (Sciences of the Archive) examines the memory of the sciences: how data is collected, classified, stored, and accessed, as well as the changing meaning of “data” in sciences such as astronomy, climatology, history, geology, and philology. Since the hidden histories of these taken-for-granted topics only become visible when contexts vary, most projects have a comparative dimension, spanning many centuries, several cultures, and/or multiple disciplines (Science in Circulation). A new project on Science and Modernity asks about the relationship between modern science and other aspects of modernity, such as industrialization, democratization, or secularization, from a global perspective.

Current Main Research Projects

Thumbnail
I. Science, History of Science, and Modernity
MORE
Thumbnail
II. The Sciences of the Archive
MORE
Thumbnail
III. Gender Studies of Science
MORE
Thumbnail
IV. Between the Natural and the Human Sciences
MORE
Thumbnail
V. Science in Circulation: The Exchange of Knowledge, Ninth–Seventeenth Centuries
MORE

News & Press

Block Seminar for Junior Scientists, “13th Scholars’ Forum for Literature and the History of Science” (deadline February 25, 2018)

More

An article on Lise Meitner’s and Otto Frisch’s discovery of nuclear fission, quoting Annette Vogt

More

Lorraine Daston and Peter Galison trace the history of objectivity in a Rhetorical Questions podcast

More

Publications & Digital Resources