class="csc-frame csc-frame-default"Diffusion, transfer, translation or circulation of knowledge?

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)

Graduiertenkolleg »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.

New member in the ZGW doctoral program

We warmly welcome to Josephine Selander as a new member in the ZGW doctoral program. Josephine is a PhD student in the group of Harald Fischer-Tiné. 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.

Writing Workshop

November 8, 2019
10 am - 6 pm

Writing workshop with Alexander Schmitz, scientific lector at Konstanz University Press

Forschungsstelle für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Rämistrasse 64, seminar room

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

Job prospects II: Into Academia

October 4, 2019

Workshop with Tina Asmussen (ETH Zurich), Nadja El Kassar (UZH/ETH Zurich), and Robert Leucht (University of Lausanne).

Organized by the doctoral program of the ZGW.

Place & Time: University Zurich, FSW, Rämistrasse 64, 8001 Zurich, 10 am - 1 pm

Kritik und Gegenwart in der Wissensgeschichte

Promovierendenseminar HS 2019

Nur für Mitglieder des Doktoratsprogramms am Zentrum Geschichte des Wissens

02.10. 10-12 Uhr, Gast: Annette Vogt (MPIWG Berlin)
16.10. 10-12 Uhr, Gast: Gabriel Motzkin (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
30.10. 10-12 Uhr, Gast: José Brunner (Tel Aviv University, Cohn Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Ideas)
13.11. 10-12 Uhr
04.12. 18-20 Uhr, Gäste: Brigitta Bernet (Basel/Trier) und Janosch Steuwer (UZH) von Geschichte der Gegenwart
11.12. 18-20 Uhr, Gäste: Monika Dommann, Andreas Kilcher, Philipp Sarasin (ZGW)

Mittwochs jeweils im Seminarraum der Forschungsstelle für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, Rämistrasse 64.

Leitung: Monika Wulz

white innocence across Europe

How do postcolonial ties shape our reservoir of knowledge on gender, race, class, and religion?

Workshop with Gloria Wekker (Utrecht) and Patricia Purtschert (Bern)
August 19, 2019; 10-12 am
ETH Zurich, Clausiusstr. 59, RZ F 21

Organized by the ZGW doctoral program in cooperation with Zürcher Theater Spektakel.

Please register by August 12 via email.
Selected texts will be circulated in preparation of the workshop.

Herzliche Glückwünsche zur Promotion!

Yvonne Ilg und Lea Pfäffli haben ihre Promotion im Frühjahrssemester 2019 erfolgreich abgeschlossen.

Wir gratulieren sehr herzlich!

Workshop: Scientific Political Activism

The workshop explores the presence of scientists in public sociopolitical controversies. Our questions are: From which side is the exchange between science and politics motivated? In what forms, media, publics, and in what rhetorics do scientists mark their theses als political? How does politics feed back into science? (Program)

The workshop is held in German. Organized by the doctoral program of ZGW and supported by the Graduate Campus. Please register at before April 30, 2019.

Thursday, May 2 2019, 2pm-6.15pm; ETH Zurich, RZ F 21, Clausiusstrasse 59, 8092 Zurich
Friday, May 3, 2019, 10am-3.30pm; UZH, Kolloquiumsram FSW, Rämistrasse 64, 8001 Zurich

Workshop report on H/Soz/Kult (June 18, 2019)


Manuel Bamert

is a PhD-Student at the Chair for Literary and Cultural Studies at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He studied German Linguistics and Literature, General History and Philosophy at the Universities of Zurich and Hamburg. He completed his master's degree with a thesis on male identities and sexualities in Max Frisch's novel Stiller. Since April 2016, he has been working on a doctoral thesis on the reading notes in Thomas Mann's private library as part of the SNSF project Productive Reading. (more)

Dissertation project (working title): Marginal work. Phenomenology, epistemology and poetology of the reading notes in Thomas Mann's private library (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)


Eneia Dragomir

is a doctoral student of History at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (History of Technology, Prof. David Gugerli). His dissertation is part of the research project Dealing with Human Capital funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. From 2005 to 2012 he studied history, sociology, and philosophy at the Philipps-Universität in Marburg and the University of Zurich. He graduated with a diploma thesis on the formation of identity in questionnaires in the 1960s. (more)


Dissertation project (working title): "Das Wissen und Können des Volkes". Rekrutierungspraktiken der Schweizer Armee, 1960-2000. (more)


Manuel Dür

graduated in history and musicology at the University of Basle in 2013. He is a research and teaching assistant in the Department of History at the University of Zurich (Prof. Dr. Monika Dommann). Since 2014 he’s also a Ph.D. student in the doctoral program of the Center History of Knowledge. By applying new approaches from knowledge history, his dissertation project on the making of antihypertensive drugs at Ciba (1945 to c. 1975) attempts to shed new light on the constitutive era of the development and commercialization of antihypertensive drugs in Europe and the USA. (more)


Dissertation project (working title): Hypertension. Ciba and the making of antihypertensive drugs. Emerging networks between industrial laboratories, medical congresses and clinics, 1945 – 1975. (more)


Lucas Federer

is a PhD student at the chair of Prof. Dr. Monika Dommann at the University of Zurich. From 2009-2016 he studied history, sociology and Pedagogy at the University of Zurich. He wrote his master thesis on the history of the wastewater treatment plants in the 20th century in Switzerland. His dissertation project was launched in 2016 and is funded by the Swiss Social Archives' Research Fund Ellen Rifkin Hill. (mehr)

Disseration project (working title): Internationalism und realpolitik between the blocs. The Trotskyist movement in Switzerland in the 1950s and 1960s (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)


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)


Lucia Herrmann

studied History, Public Law, and Political Science at the University of Zurich and the Universitat de Barcelona. In her Master's thesis "Bones, Graves, and History" she discussed how the opening of mass graves from the time of the Spanish Civil War is shaping today's understanding of history in Spain. Since 2013 she has been working as a scientific assistant at the chair of Prof. Svenja Goltermann at the Department of History at the University of Zurich and is currently preparing her PhD project. (more)

PhD Project (working title): Recht und Gerechtigkeit verhandeln: Debatten über "Politische Gefangene" des franquistischen Regimes. (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)


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)

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)

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. 


Gianna Virginia Weber

studied General History, German Literature and Political Science at the University of Zurich. She graduated in 2011 and wrote her master's thesis on the child indentureship system of the city of Zurich (1921-1960). Afterwards she worked as a research assistent at University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Honolulu, and for the Alfred Escher-Foundation in Zurich. In 2012, she began her PhD project at the Research Center for Social and Economic History and is a graduate student of the Doctoral Program at the Institute of History at the University of Zurich. (more)


PhD project (working title): The Swiss Child Indentureship System ("Verdingkinderwesen") in the Cantons of Zurich, Berne and Basel (20th Century) – a Comparison. (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
Simon Bundi 2013-2015
Maurice Erb 2008-2011
Onur Erdur 2010-2015
Kijan Espahangizi 2008-2010
David Eugster 2010-2015
Alban Frei (ETH) 2012-2017
Felix Frey 2014-2018
Pascal Germann 2008-2015
Judith Große 2012-2018
Lea Haller 2008-2012
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
Koni Weber 2008-2013
Martina Wernli 2008-2010
Bettina Zangerl 2015-2018
Daniela Zetti 2009-2013