People

Dagmar Schäfer

Director (Since 2013)

Dr., Professor, TU Berlin, FU Berlin, Tianjin University

The current Managing Director of the Institute, Dagmar Schäfer is Director of Department III, Artifacts, Action, Knowledge. She is Honorary Professor in History of Technology at Technische Universität, Berlin; Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Sinology, Freie Universität, Berlin; and Guest Professor at Tianjin University (2018–2021). She received her doctorate and habilitation from the University of Würzburg and has worked and studied at Zhejiang University, Peking University, National Tsing Hua University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Manchester, among others. She was previously a Guest Professor at the School of History and Culture of Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Dagmar Schäfer's 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 artifacts—texts, objects, and spaces—in the creation, diffusion, and use of scientific and technological knowledge. 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.

 

Schäfer portrait photo

Photo: ausserhofer.de

 

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. Dagmar Schäfer was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2020—the most prestigious research award in Germany, it is given to “exceptional scientists and academics for their outstanding achievements in the field of research.”

Projects

Berlin Research 50 (BR 50)

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Ability and Authority

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Agriculture and the Making of Sciences (1100–1700)

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Berlin Research 50 (BR 50)

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Image Database: Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens

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Local Gazetteers

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Source-Based Initiatives

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The Body of Animals

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Accounting for Uncertainty: Prediction and Planning in Asian History

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Cultural Traditions of Technical Knowledge

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Geographies of Knowing: China Historical GIS

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History of Science ON CALL: Listening, Attending, Acting

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History of Science Reader

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Knowledge Transmission

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Media and Methods of Practical Knowledge Transmission: Craftsmanship and the Qing Court

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Monumentalized or Marginalized, Writings about Technology in Chinese History: A Database

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Selected Publications

Schäfer, Dagmar (2021). “Useful Work: State Demands and Craftsmen’s Social Mobility in Fifteenth-Century China.” ed. Dagmar Schäfer and Simona Valeriani. Technology and Culture 62 (2): 373–400. https://doi.org/10.1353/tech.2021.0060.

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Schäfer, Dagmar, and Simona Valeriani, eds. (2021). Technology Is Global: The Useful & Reliable Knowledge Debate. Special issue, Technology and Culture. 62 (2). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

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Schäfer, Dagmar, and Simona Valeriani (2021). “Technology Is Global: The Useful & Reliable Knowledge Debate.” ed. Dagmar Schäfer and Simona Valeriani. Technology and Culture 62 (2): 327–347. https://doi.org/10.1353/tech.2021.0061.

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Chen, Shih-Pei, Sean Wang, and Dagmar Schäfer (2021). “Digital Concordance: A New Publication Format for Scholarly-curated Datasets in the Humanities”. presented at the Workshop “Digital Publications in the Humanities,” Virtual.

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News & Press

Special issue of SHOT Journal: Technology and Culture edited by Dagmar Schäfer

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Brill and Max Planck Institute for the History of Science sign agreement on digital concordances

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Director Dagmar Schäfer elected member of Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften (acatech)

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Video Interviews

Books

Presentations, Talks, & Teaching Activities

Keynote address: “From Digital to Humanities: Smart Data and the Role of the History of Science in Digital Humanities.”

11th International Conference of Digital Archives and Digital Humanities (DADH) virtual conference

DADH2020
Digital lecture: “Die chinesische Vergangenheit (und Zukunft?) der Naturwissenschaften.”

Online lecture series

vhs.wissen live
Teaching: Landwirtschaft in China von den Anfängen bis zur Neuzeit: Eine Wiege der Kultur

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

History and Cultural Studies
Teaching: Soziale Ordnung und Wissenskultur: Einführung in eine Wissensgeschichte China

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

HISTORY AND CULTURAL STUDIES
Talk: “Landwirtschaft und Wissenschaften im vormodernen China: Säen, pflügen, rechnen.”

Nuremberg and online 

CONFUCIUS INSTITUTE NUREMBERG-ERLANGEN
Lecture series: “Mir gehörts! Eine globale Geschichte der Aneignung von Wissen/Wissen als Eigentum.”

MPIWG, Berlin, Germany

IMPRS-KIR
Keynote address: “Ein ehrenwert schmutziges Handwerk: Gerberei und die kulturelle Aneignung von antikem Wissen.”

James-Simon-Galerie

Berliner Antike-Kolleg