Berlin Center

Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge

The Berlin Center for the History of Knowledge is a joint initiative of the MPIWG and the Freie Universität Berlin (FU), the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU), and the Technische Universität Berlin (TU). As a forum for new research endeavors and as a platform for public discussion, the Berlin Center will increase the visibility of Berlin’s multidisciplinary research potential in the history of knowledge. The aim of the four partner institutions is to exploit this potential through a significant expansion of activities, a considerable strengthening of institutional ties, and a long-lasting consolidation of heretofore dispersed resources in Berlin.

Along with a number of research and teaching appointments made by Berlin’s universities in the history of knowledge and science, a number of new professorships at the partner universities and new positions as research group director at the MPIWG have been created. Efforts to make a long-lasting impact on institutional structures are complemented by a number of initiatives to foster dialogue between pre- and postdoctoral scholars based in Berlin: for example, the “Studientag Literatur und Wissenschaftsgeschichte” in cooperation with the chair for New German Literature at the FU (Professor Jutta Müller-Tamm) and the “Berliner DoktorandInnenforum für Wissensgeschichte,” which is jointly organized by all four partner institutions.

Cooperation in teaching is also one of the Berlin Center’s goals. Since 2010, the cooperation partners began compiling an annotated list of all courses that are offered at the Berlin universities in the field of the history of knowledge (“Berliner Vorlesungsverzeichnis Wissenschaftsgeschichte”).

The new website provides a wide range of helpful information to researchers with a primary interest in the history of knowledge, as well as a calendar of events in Berlin.

Postdoc Program

Since August 2016, nine postdoctoral scholars have been hosted by the partner institutions.

Maria Avxentvskaya (MPIWG) The Physician's Stammbuch: Humanist Cultures of Knowledge Networking

Angela Axworthy (TU Berlin) The Status of Practical Geometry and its Relations to Theoretical and Applied Geometrical Knowledge in Sixteenth-century Treatises of Practical Geometry

Irene Calà (HU Berlin) Bleeding for Health: Galen’s Views on Phlebotomy and Their Reception in Medical Works of Late Antiquity

Minakshi Menon (HU Berlin) Hortus Oceanus Indicus: The Calcutta Botanic Garden and the Making of the Indian Ocean Environment, 1786–1847

Anja Sattelmacher (TU Berlin) Making Things Alive: Animation as Cultural and Epistemic Practice

Ylva Söderfeldt (MPIWG) Knowing and Being Known: Hay Fever and the Fieldwork of Medical Knowledge 1897–1968

Dror Weil (MPIWG) Transmission Of Medical Knowledge Embedded in Islamic Texts to China, 17th–19th centuries

Isaiah Wilner (MPIWG) Narratives of Transformation: The Globalization of Indigenous Knowledge

Adrian Young (HU Berlin) “Going Native”: Becoming the Other as a Mode of Knowledge-making in the British Imperial World

Go to Berlin Calendar of Events in the history of knowledge.


For more information please contact Hansjakob Ziemer.