class="csc-frame csc-frame-default"Who tells us where the centers and peripheries of knowledge are?

Zentrum Geschichte des Wissens

Universität Zürich

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich

Zentrum Geschichte des Wissens

Universität Zürich

Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich



The doctoral program at the Graduate Center »History of Knowledge« focuses on the history of modern knowledge systems. In contrast to classical history of science, history of knowledge is a rather new approach to examine the prominent position of science within society with a new methodological perspective.

The doctoral program at the Graduate Center »History of Knowledge« combines philosophical and historical research approaches on knowledge production and circulation and its social, economic and cultural dimensions. The doctoral program is part of an emerging field of innovative research on an international level as well as within Switzerland. The program is supported by the Swiss university conference. It is embedded within the Competence Center »History of Knowledge«.


The academic board of the doctoral program consists of eight professors of the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich who are also members of the ZGW: Monika Dommann, Harald Fischer-Tiné, Svenja Goltermann, David Gugerli, Michael Hagner, Andreas Kilcher, Philipp Sarasin, and Jakob Tanner.
Other faculty of the doctoral program as well as other members of the competence center are available for lectures and as research partners.


Monika Wulz (more)

Doktoratsprogramm »Geschichte des Wissens«
ETH & Universität Zürich


Mailing address:
Universität Zürich
Forschungsstelle für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte
Rämistrasse 64
CH-8001 Zürich
Tel. +41 (0)44 634 36 64
Fax +41 (0)44 634 49 88



The aim of our educational program is to train the doctoral students in a broad range of contents, methods and theories, to qualify them for academic research generally and for interdisciplinary cooperation particularly, especially in networking, scientific publishing and presenting, and the organizing of academic events. The doctoral program creates a working environment in which the students can find qualified contact persons for their issues anytime.

Herzliche Glückwünsche zur Promotion!

Lucas Federer hat seine Promotion im Dezember 2020 erfolgreich abgeschlossen.

Wir gratulieren sehr herzlich und wünschen alles Gute für die Zukunft!

The New Book Forum #1: Suman Seth

The New Book Forum #1
Science, Medicine, Environment
December 3, 2020, 4-5pm
online (poster)

Prof. Suman Seth (Cornell University)
Difference and Disease. Medicine, Race, And the Eighteenth-Century British Empire

: Dr. Lisa Haushofer (UZH, History of Medicine) and Monique Ligtenberg M.A. (ETHZ, History of the Modern World) / registration for Zoom link here.

The New Book Forum: Science, Medicine, Environment is a new collaborative initiative organized by scholars at the ZGW, the Chair of Science Studies at ETH, and the Chair of History of Medicine at UZH, to showcase and discuss new books in the histories of science, medicine, and environment with their authors. In light of the ongoing pandemic, the New Book Forum seeks to provide authors with a platform to present their books outside of the traditional conference circle, and to connect researchers at our institutions in Zurich with the newest scholarship in these fields.


New member of the doctoral program

Welcome to Samuel Hunziker as a new member of the ZGW doctoral program!

More information on Samuel and his research project to come soon!

From PhD to Book

Academic Writing Workshop

November 6, 2020
12.30 am – 6.30 pm

With Alexander Schmitz, scientific lector at Konstanz University Press

Participation only after registration and only for members of the doctoral program "History of Knowledge".

Sensory and Emotional Experiences

Practices of Mind-Body Medicine in the 20th Century

September 28-29, 2020

Workshop with Prof. Staffan Bergwik (Stockholm) and PD Dr. Anja Laukötter (Berlin/Strasbourg)

Organized by the ZGW Doctoral program (Leander Diener, Sarah Scheidmantel, Josephine Selander)

On the role of theory in the history of knowledge / On the role of history in the theory of knowledge

Doctoral seminar fall term 2020

Theory makes it possible to ask new questions, to find new historical material and thus to constitute historical objects of research. But how much theory does research in the history of knowledge need? Or, on the contrary, is theory maybe obscuring the view of specific historical problems? And vice versa: In how far does theory of knowledge require looking at specific historical (or current) events? Based on examples from research in the history and theory of knowledge and in connection with their own research projects, doctoral students learn to assess the role and function of theories for research in the history of knowledge and of case studies in the theory of knowledge.

16.09. Do we need a theory to study knowledge? Guest: Michael Hagner (ETH Zurich)
30.09. Trajectories, hindrances, and boundaries in the circulation of knowledge; Guest: Staffan Bergwik (Stockholm)
21.10. Circulation of economic knowledge to other fields of knowledge; Guest: Monika Dommann (UZH)
04.11. Gender knowledge and Othering; Guest: Roy Wagner (ETH Zurich)
07.11. Knowledge actors in the history of technological innovation; Guest: Daniela Zetti (Lübeck)
09.12. Knowledge perspectives in the history of law; Guest: Svenja Goltermann (UZH)
16.12. Production and circulation of racial knowledge in medical discourse; Guest: Pascal Germann (Bern)


Claire Louise Blaser

started working as a doctoral student with Prof. Dr. Harald Fischer-Tiné at the Chair for the History of the Modern World at ETH Zurich in October 2019. During her Master’s in Religion in Global Politics at SOAS (University of London), she focused on politics of culture and cultural history of South Asia. Before that, she studied South Asian languages and cultures at the University of Lausanne. Her doctoral project is funded by a fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation. (more)

Dissertation (working title): A global biography: Frieda Hauswirth Das (1886-1974) between Switzerland, California, and India (more)

Boris Buzek

ist seit Juli 2013 Doktorand im Forschungsprojekt 'Condito Extraterrestris' bei SNF-Förderprofessor Philipp Theisohn am Deutschen Seminar der Universität Zürich. Er studierte Architektur in Lausanne und Zürich, sowie 'Geschichte und Philosophie des Wissens' in Zürich. Architektur schloss er 2009 mit einer Arbeit zu gemeinnützigem Wohnungsbau in Zürich ab. Den MAGPW beendete er 2013 mit einer Arbeit in theoretischer Philosophie zu einer pragmatistisch geprägten Verknüpfung von Ästhetik, Glück und Vernunft. (more)

Dissertationsprojekt: The Universe literally. About Cosmos' Self-disclosure. (more)

Leander Diener

Leander Diener promoviert mit einer historiographischen Arbeit zum Hirnforscher Walter Rudolf Hess bei Flurin Condrau und Michael Hagner. (mehr)


Peter-Tim Fritz

Peter-Tim Fritz promoviert mit der Arbeit "Vernetztes Deutschland. Die Figur der Vernetzung im populären Wissen der BRD" bei Prof. Dr. Svenja Goltermann. (mehr)


Jonas Gloor

is a PhD-Student and Scientific Assistant at the Chair of Modern History at the University of Zürich (Prof. Dr. Monika Dommann). He studied General History and Political Science at the University of Zürich. He completed his master`s degree with a thesis on the media knowledge of video activists in the 70`s and 80`s. Since 2019 he has been working on a doctoral thesis on the history of knowledge production about sexual offenders in the 20th century. (more)

Dissertation project (working title): A History of the production of knowledge about sexual offenders. Actors, systems, discourse and media (more)

Stephan Graf

is a doctoral student at the Chair for Science Studies at ETH Zürich pursuing his SNSF-Doc.CH-​funded dissertation project since March 2020. After completing his undergraduate studies in psychology, cultural anthropology and sociology at University of Basel and University of Paris 8 Vincennes-​Saint-Denis in 2014, he continued his graduate studies at ETH where he received a master's degree in History and Philosophy of Knowledge in 2018. (more)

Dissertation project (working title): The Photographic Process as Object of Research: Technoscience between Photographic Industry and University, 1928–1979 (more)

Ruben Marc Hackler

studied history, philosophy, and political science at the Humboldt University and the Free University, both in Berlin. In his M.A. thesis he dealt with the awkward relationship of scientific knowledge, male sexuality, and morality in legal medicine around 1800. Following he started his PhD at the Bielefeld University on the history of jurisdiction in Imperial Germany and the Weimar Republic. Since 2011 he is continuing his PhD under the supervision of Jakob Tanner. (more)

Dissertationsprojekt (working title): The Judicial Persona: A Body History of Judges in Germany, 1870-1930 (more)

Lukas Held

Lukas Held promoviert bei Prof. Dr. Philipp Sarasin im Rahmen des Cold War Knowledge Project. (mehr)


Samuel Hunziker

is a Ph.D. student at Prof. Dr. Roy Wagner's chair for History and Philosophy of the Mathematical Sciences at ETH Zurich. He completed his master in History and Philosophy of Knowledge at ETH Zurich in October 2019 with a thesis on finite models of computation. Before that he studied philosophy and history at University of Zurich. (more)

Dissertation (working title): Typing Errors: The Coarticulation of Types, Errors, and Programming Languages between the 1970s and 1990s (more)

Judith Kälin

studierte ab 2008 Geschichte, Religionswissenschaft und Politikwissenschaft an der Universität Zürich sowie der Universidad Castilla-La Mancha, Toledo. Daneben arbeitete sie von 2009 bis 2013 im Staatsarchiv Zürich im Bereich Aktenerschliessung und schrieb für den Elfenbeintürmer, dem Magazin der Zürcher Geschichsstudierenden. Seit 2014 ist sie bei der Fokus AG für Wissen und Organisation tätig. Ihr Studium schloss sie im Sommer 2015 mit einer Masterarbeit zum Thema Korrektionelle Anstaltsversorgung im Kanton Zug (1880 - 1945) bei Frau Prof. Svenja Goltermann ab. (mehr)

Dissertationsprojekt (Arbeitstitel): Die Organisation sozialer Kontrolle. Mikrogeschichtliche Betrachtungen zum Umgang mit sozialer Devianz im Spannungsfeld von Recht, Medizin und Verwaltung (Zug, 19./20. Jh.). (Betreut durch Prof. Svenja Goltermann)

Manuel Kaiser

Manuel Kaiser promoviert bei Prof. Dr. Philipp Sarasin mit einer Arbeit zur Produktion von Wetter- und Klimawissen und dessen Zirkulation in Publikumsmedien und Populärkultur während des Kalten Krieges. (mehr)


Patrick Kilian

Patrick Kilian promoviert mit einer Arbeit zur Körpergeschichte der Raumfahrt in den populären Medien des Kalten Krieges bei Prof. Dr. Philipp Sarasin. (mehr)


Ursina Klauser

is a doctoral student at the History Department, University of Zurich. From 2007 to 2014 she studied History, Musicology and Biology in Zurich, Basel and Berlin. She graduated with a master thesis on the biologist Paul Kammerer. (more)

PhD project: „Difficult“ Children. Examination, Therapy and Research in Outpatient Child Psychiatry, 1950–1980. (more)

Philipp Krauer

has been a doctoral student (SNF) at the chair History of the Modern World since July 2017. He holds a Master in History and Philosophy of Knowledge from ETH Zurich and a Bachelor in General History and in German Language and Literature. His research interests include (Post-)Colonial Studies, Global and Transnational History, New Imperial History and History of Knowledge. (more)

PhD-Thesis: Swiss 'Tools of Empire'. A transnational history of mercenaries in the Dutch East Indies, 1814–1914. (more)

Marina Lienhard

is a doctoral student in the interdisciplinary project "Schizophrenia": Reception, semantic shift, and criticism of a concept in the 20th century (advisor: Prof. Dr. Jakob Tanner). From 2006 to 2013 she studied history, film studies, and popular culture at the University of Zurich. She graduated with a master thesis on whiteness and othering in the correspondence of the Swiss Tropical School and its alumni between 1943 and 1981. (more)


Dissertation project (working title): "A family-borne disease". Schizophrenie und Familie als Forschungszusammenhang, 1948-1983(more)


Monique Ligtenberg

is a PhD student at the Chair for History of the Modern World at ETH Zurich since October 2019. She holds a Master's degree in History and Philosophy of Knowledge from ETH where she graduated with a thesis on Swiss entanglements in colonial knowledge production in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia). Her research interests include (post-)colonial studies, the history of knowledge, transnational history, and the history of modern Southeast Asia. (more)

Working title: Medicine, Masculinities, and Colonial Warfare: German-speaking Physicians and Trans-imperial Knowledge Production in the Dutch East Indies (c. 1873-1914)

Manuel Merkofer

is a scientific assistant and PhD student working on his dissertation project with Prof. Flurin Condrau at the Chair of the History of Medicine at the University of Zurich. During his master’s program in »History and Philosophy of Knowledge« at the ETH Zurich, he focused on topics on the history of psychology and medicine. Previously, he studied in Zurich and Padua to obtain his bachelor’s degree in psychology. (more)

Dissertation project (working title): »How Medicine Innovates: The Case of Microneurosurgery in the Second Half of the 20th Century (1950–1980)« (more)

Niki Rhyner

is an academic assistant at the Chair for Science Studies (ETH Zurich). In her PhD project she examines the history of knowledge of ethnography in the context of European integration. In 2019, Niki received a Master's degree in History and Philosophy of Knowledge from ETH Zurich. Her Master's thesis dealt with the history of knowledge of Swiss »Volkskunde« (1960–1980). From 2017 to 2020, she worked at the Chair for Science Studies where she co-​developed the hybrid publication series Æther and cache. In 2016, she earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Basel where she studied history and philosophy. (more)

Dissertation project (working title): Dorf, Heimat, Industrie, 1950–1985: The Europe of the »Applied« Humanities and Social Sciences (more)


Jonas Schädler

is a PhD student in the SNSF Sinergia project „Media of Exactitude: Ideals, Practices, Representations”. At the history department of the University of Zurich, he writes his PhD thesis with Prof. Dr. Monika Dommann on the history of the electricity meter. He studied History and German studies at the University of Zurich and in 2016, he finished his MA with a thesis on the postindustrial transformation process of Zurich’s former industrial district and its cultural and economic marketing. (more)

Dissertation project: «Between Power Plant and Living Space. The History of Technology and Knowledge of the Electricity Meter in the 20th Century» (working title) (more)

Sarah Scheidmantel

has been working on her doctorate at the Chair for the History of Medicine at the University of Zurich since October 2019. She studied media and cultural studies, history and philosophy of science in Weimar, Berlin and Cambridge, UK. She completed her master's degree with a thesis on the development of the vibromassager between 1880 and 1920 in Germany and Great Britain. (more)

Dissertation (working titel): Healthy and beautiful from head to toe. Women between healing and optimisation using vibromassage around 1900 (more)

Larissa Schüller

is a PhD-student supervised by Prof. Dr. Monika Dommann and Prof. Dr. Noah Bubenhofer. She is a research assistant at Noah Bubenhofer’s chair of Linguistics at the German Department of the University of Zurich. She studied German Literature and Linguistics and General History at the University of Zurich and completed her master's degree with a thesis on letters by women of the Zurich bourgeoisie at the end of the 18th century. Since 2019, she has been working on her dissertation project. (more)

PhD project (working title): Work in communications = Female work
Technology, gender and communicative practices in Swiss Telephone Exchange, 1881-1980

Josephine Selander

is a PhD-student at the Chair for History of the Modern World at the ETH in Zürich. Following her University Diploma in Performing Arts and Media at Stockholm Academy of Dramatic Arts, she completed her M.A. in History of Ideas at the Stockholm University. Her master thesis addressed how knowledge production of alternative spirituality was constructed and disseminated by the Swedish press, between 1899 and 1926. Her Ph.D. project explores how Buddhist practices were described and circulated in different media, formulated as useful in psychological contexts during the 20th century. (more)

Dissertation project (working title): Making mindfulness: Narrating, Mediating, Medicalizing transcultural emotion-knowledge 1920 – 2000 (more)

Jonas Stähelin

is a PhD student at the Chair for Literature and Cultural Studies at the ETH Zurich. After completing his bachelor's degree in history and sociology at the University of Basel, he enrolled in the master's program History and Philosophy of Knowledge at the ETH Zurich, which he completed in 2019 with a thesis on the scientification of spiritualism in the 19th century. His doctoral project is funded by the SNF. (more)

Dissertation project (working title): From the supernatural to the supersensuous (and back): Occult and Sceintific Epistemologies of the Invisible in the 19th Century. (more)

Ariane Totzke

Ariane Totzke, born 1983 in Wuppertal, studied German Studies and Philosophy at the Universities of Bochum and Trier. She completed her master thesis on the topic of Masculinity and Economy in Thomas Mann in 2012. 2012-2013 she got initial funding from the doctoral program in Literary Studies of the University of Basel and worked as research assistant at the chair of Modern German Literature at the University of Trier. Since 2013 she is a research assistant at the chair of Literary and Cultural Studies of ETH Zürich and at the same time at the chair of Modern German Literature at the University of Basel. Her PhD thesis about discourses of productivity and masculinity in the early work of Thomas Mann is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. (more)

Dissertation Project: The Homunculus Oeconomicus at work. Productivity and Masculinity in the early Work of Thomas Mann. 


Nadine Zberg

earned her master’s degree in cultural analysis and history at University of Zurich (UZH) in 2014. From 2014-2017 she worked as a cultural mediator and project assistant in various cultural institutions. Her PhD project which she took up in August 2017 at the Chair of Philipp Sarasin is funded by the Forschungskredit of UZH. She has been a member of the doctoral program of the ZGW since 2018. (more)

PhD thesis on The reinvention of the city. Outlines of the urban in the Swiss alternative movement in the 1970s and 1980s. (more)


Carlos Acosta 2015-2016
Alexander Alon 2011-2018
Malte Bachem 2011-2015
Manuel Bamert 2016-2020
Simon Bundi 2013-2015
Eneia Dragomir 2012-2020
Manuel Dür 2013-2020
Maurice Erb 2008-2011
Onur Erdur 2010-2015
Kijan Espahangizi 2008-2010
David Eugster 2010-2015
Lucas Federer 2016–2020
Alban Frei (ETH) 2012-2017
Felix Frey 2014-2018
Pascal Germann 2008-2015
Judith Große 2012-2018
Lea Haller 2008-2012
Lucia Herrmann 2013-2020
Franziska Hupfer 2013-2017
Yvonne Ilg 2013-2019
Niklaus Ingold 2008-2013
Anna Joss 2008-2013
Ulrich Koch 2008-2012
Hannes Mangold 2013-2016
Sibylle Marti 2009-2013
Anna Mohr 2012-2017
Joanna Nowotny 2014-2017
Jonathan Pärli 2014-2016
Lea Pfäffli 2012-2019
Svenja Matusall 2009-2012
Tobias Scheidegger (UZH) 2008-2015
Martin Schüle 2008-2010
Magdaléna Stárková 2012-2013
Ernst-Christian Steinecke 2011-2014
Romila Storjohann 2013-2018
Ariane Tanner 2009-2010
Martin Viehhauser 2008-2012
Gianna Virginia Weber 2012-2020
Koni Weber 2008-2013
Martina Wernli 2008-2010
Bettina Zangerl 2015-2018
Daniela Zetti 2009-2013