class="csc-frame csc-frame-default"Can knowledge be »produced«?

Zentrum Geschichte des Wissens

Universitaet Zuerich

Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zuerich

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Zentrum Geschichte des Wissens

Universitaet Zuerich

Eidgenoessische Technische Hochschule Zuerich



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 ten professors of the ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich: Flurin Condrau, Monika Dommann, Martin Dusinberre, Harald Fischer-Tiné, Svenja Goltermann, Michael Hagner, Andreas Kilcher, Gesine Krüger, Philipp Sarasin, and Roy Wagner.
Other faculty of the doctoral program as well as other members of the competence center are available for lectures and as research partners.


Kijan Espahangizi

Doktoratsprogramm »Geschichte des Wissens«
ETH & Universität Zürich


Mailing address:

Zentrum »Geschichte des Wissens«
ETH Zürich, Clausiusstrasse 59
8092 Zürich



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.

Writing and Publishing Reviews

Academic Writing Course of the doctoral program »History of Knowledge«, fall term 2021
October 22, 1–5 pm; December 10, 1–4 pm.

Writing reviews is part of academic publishing. Crucial ingredient is the evaluation of the book within the relevant research field. The workshop introduces the requirements of reviews in the humanities, especially in the history of knowledge and related fields (history of science, history of medicine, history of knowledge, social history, gender history, legal history etc.). The participants will learn how to publish a review in a scientific journal.

Lecturer: Gleb Albert, Ruben Hackler, review editors at H-Soz-Kult
For registration please write to:

Doctoral seminar »History of Knowledge«

Fall term 2021
Wednesdays 10–12 am, every two weeks (starting September 22)

This doctoral seminar provides a platform for PhD projects in the history of knowledge. We focus on the specific forms, circulations, and practices of knowledge, its discursive, cultural, and social, moreover its scientific, technological, media, and infrastructural, as well as its legal, economic, and political conditions and effects in global and transnational perspectives. Based on the participants' research projects, the seminar introduces the methods, relevant literature and current issues in the history of knowledge
Languages: German and English

Lecturer: Kijan Espahangizi
For registration please write to:

Histories of Knowledge in Society

Summer School of the doctoral program "History of Knowledge"
September, 13–15, 2021, Zurich (program)

Knowledge is not only an element within scientific laboratories, institutes and disciplines. It is also present in social transformation processes: in public and political debates, in medical and technical applications, administrative measures, but also in artistic processes and cultural critique, in which specific forms of knowledge are generated that challenge the boundaries of scientific knowledge and social structures. The Summer School is aimed at PhD students who, in their historical research projects, investigate knowledge as part of social and cultural change. In exchange with professors from the field of the history of knowledge and in relation to the participants' research projects, methods will be developed in order to analyze the forms, modes of operation and circulation of knowledge as part of social and cultural transformation – its institutional, economic, legal and political contexts as well as its media and forms of articulation.

With Prof. Dr. Caroline Arni (Basel), Prof. Dr. Mischa Suter (IHEID Geneva), Prof. Dr. Cécile Stehrenberger (IZWT Wuppertal) and professors of the doctoral program "History of Knowledge"

Languages: German and English.

Application: Please submit an abstract of your project or presentation (ca. 300 words) until June 10, 2021, and for participation without a presentation until August 25, to: zgw-dp(at)

Transimperial Histories of Knowledge

Networks of Exchange and Collaboration from the Margins of Imperial Europe
Workshop, March 23–24, 2021
Online on Zoom (Flyer)

Dr. Moritz von Brescius (University of Bern), Prof. Dr. Christof Dejung (University of Bern), Prof. Dr. Andreas Eckert (HU Berlin), Prof. Dr. Nadin Hée (FU Berlin & MPIWG Berlin), Prof. Dr. Pernille Rĝge (University of Pittsburgh), Dr. Bernhard Schär (ETH Zurich)

The workshop presents ongoing research for a special issue of the global history journal Comparativ. The issue brings transimperial history into conversation with the history of knowledge. It does so in order to investigate the co-production of knowledge between Africa, South and Southeast Asia and countries situated ›at the margins‹ of Imperial Europe during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Together, the contributions present new paths to understanding how imperialism, when viewed through the prism of a transimperial history of knowledge, emerged as a shared European project, co-constituted by extra-European environments, epistemologies and actors.
The discussion will be based on pre-circulated papers which participants are expected to read in preparation of the workshop.

Organized by
Claire Louise Blaser, Monique Ligtenberg, Josephine Selander

Please register via email.
The Zoom link for online participation and the pre-circulated papers will be sent out in advance.

The New Book Forum #2: Erika Milam

The New Book Forum #2
Science, Medicine, Environment
March 3, 2021, 18–19 CET
online (poster)

Prof. Erika Milam (Princeton University)
Creatures of Cain: The Hunt for Human Nature in Cold War America

hosts: Dr. Nils Güttler and Niki Rhyner M.A. (both ETHZ, Chair for Science Studies)
registration for Zoom link here.

For the New Book Forum spring program 2021 see here.


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)

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)

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)

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)

Lukas Rathjen

is a doctoral student at the Chair for Literature- and Cultural Studies at ETH Zu¨rich since March 2021. He finished his master's degree in History and Philosophy of Knowledge in 2020. Before that he studied History, Archeology and Interdisciplinary Anthropology in Hamburg and Freiburg. His project on the intellectual communication culture in postwar Germany is supervised by Prof. Dr. Andreas Kilcher and Prof. Dr. Philipp Felsch (HU Berlin) and funded by a fellowship of the Swiss National Science Foundation.

Dissertation project (working titel): Conversational Knowledge: Rhetorical Humanism in the Early Federal Republic (1947–1968) (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 Ĉther 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)


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)

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
Boris Buzek 2013–2020
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
Ruben Hackler 2012–2021
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
Marina Lienhard 2013–2021
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
Jonas Schädler 2017–2021
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
Ariane Totzke 2013–2020
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