Past Event

Dagmar Schäfer - Charted Territories and Unmapped Science: How Good Ideas Come Without a Place and Originator, a Mid-Ming Historian's View

February 27, 2019
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Fayerweather Hall (Room 513), Columbia University, 1180 Amsterdam Avenue, New York

Event Description:

Science and technology are regional and local and hence they have also been told in terms of nations, states, and political event. We know such histories. From China in particular: Origins, innovation, and creativity all have a place and a time. However, in Chinese history ideas have a history, no origin, trajectories and no creator; innovations are assemblages of the given, novelty can only come from what already exists. Would it be attractive to tell China’s history of science in such terms? What history would it be? And can modern science be told in such terms, and would it mean it would lead to a different science? In my talk, I will present my historical research envisage such concerns.

Event Speaker:

Dagmar Schäfer, Professor and Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Dagmar Schäfer's main 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 artefacts—texts, objects, and spaces - in the creation, diffusion, and use of scientific and technological knowledge. 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. 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.

Event Information:

This event is free and open to the public.

This event is part of the New York History of Science Lecture Series.

Sponsoring Organizations:

  • The University Seminars at Columbia University
  • Columbia University in the City of New York
  • NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study
  • The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • The New York Academy of Medicine
  • The New York Academy of Sciences