Cultural history of knowledge

The Department of Historical Studies is dedicated to the cultural history of knowledge from the early modern period to the recent present. Special interest is paid to the material cultures and practices with and on which knowledge is produced.

The focus is on places and spaces, instruments and equipment, images and texts that bear witness to concrete research projects and a history of fascination with modern science. Laboratories and museums, experiments and models, notations and publications, collection objects and specimens thus become the objects of an investigation into scientific procedures and ways of thinking.

This perspective makes clear how knowledge is bound to the forms and media of its representation and how it is embedded in historically specific cultural, political and social constellations.

Attention is therefore not only paid to a history of scientific institutions and disciplines, but above all to the "historical conditions under which, and the means with which, things are turned into objects of knowledge, where the process of gaining scientific knowledge is set in motion as well as kept in motion" (Hans-Jörg Rheinberger).

A cultural history of knowledge thus contributes to a reflection on the methods of cultural studies and to an exploration of the limits and possibilities of telling history.



  • Prof. Dr. Christina Wessely

Research Assistants

  • Dr. Florian Huber
  • Dr. Patrick Stoffel

Technical and Administrative Staff

  • Antje Starke