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Dagmar Schäfer

Director (Since 2013)

Dr., Professor, TU Berlin, FU Berlin

Dagmar Schäfer is Director of Department III, Artifacts, Action, Knowledge. She is Honorary Professor in History of Technology at Technische Universität Berlin, and Associate Professor at the Institute of Sinology, Freie Universität, Berlin. 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 Tianjin University and 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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Everyday Knowledge and Its Sources in the Sinosphere, 14th to 20th Centuries

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Image Database: Visualization and Material Cultures of the Heavens

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Local Gazetteers

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Ownership of Knowledge: Beyond Intellectual Property

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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, 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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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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News & Press

Academic publisher Brill releases new open-access series Agriculture and the Making of Sciences

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Dagmar Schäfer interviewed for ZDFinfo documentary on education in China

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Dagmar Schäfer appointed as member of the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften (BBAW)

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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
Lecture: “Matters of Science: Sound and Silk in 17th-Century Ming China.”

Jesus College, University of Cambridge (online), UK

China Centre Seminar Series
Keynote address: “Wissensgesellschaft China: Fremdes und Eigenes und das lange Erbe des Pax Mongolica.”

Volkshochschule Neuss

China-Tag
Lecture series: “Herrschaft, Bildung und Experten. Zwei Ansätze aus dem klassischen China (10.–14. Jhd.).”

Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Die vielen Anfänge von Demokratie
Lecture: "The Right to Own: Knowledge Management in 13th-century Yuan-China"

European University Institute, Italy. 

Department of History and Civilisation