Image of Photo of Prof Dr Dagmar Schaefer

Matters of science: sound and silk in 17th Century Ming China

1 February 2022 17.00 - 18.30
Add to Calendar01/02/2022 17:0001/02/2022 18:30UTCMatters of science: sound and silk in 17th Century Ming China seminarfalseDD/MM/YYYY15Jesus Collegeevent_11356confirmed
Virtual seminar

Professor Dr Dagmar Schäfer, Managing Director and Director of Department III (Artifacts, Action, Knowledge), The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, will deliver a lecture about science in 17th Century Ming China. The lecture will be followed by a question and answer session.

The current Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Dagmar Schäfer is Director of Department III, Artifacts, Action, Knowledge. She is Honorary Professor in History of Technology at Technische Universität, Berlin; Adjunct Professor at the Institute of Sinology, Freie Universität, Berlin; and Guest Professor at Tianjin University (2018–2021). She received her doctorate and habilitation from the University of Würzburg and has worked and studied at Zhejiang University, Peking University, National Tsing Hua University, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Manchester, among others. She was previously a Guest Professor at the School of History and Culture of Science, Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Dagmar Schäfer's 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 artifacts—texts, objects, and spaces—in the creation, diffusion, and use of scientific and technological knowledge. 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.

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. Dagmar Schäfer was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2020, the most prestigious research award in Germany, which is given to “exceptional scientists and academics for their outstanding achievements in the field of research.”

Professor Schäfer's lecture will focus on Song Yingxing and will explain how his ideas were part of an intellectual trend.

This is one of the lectures in the on-going China Centre Seminar series, hosted by the China Centre, Jesus College. The lectures, given by eminent speakers, cover a broad range of topics and disciplines.


This is a virtual seminar. Attendance is free. Advance booking is required by emailing:  Priority will be given to members of Jesus College and the University of Cambridge.