Dagmar Schäfer

Dagmar Schäfer (MAX PLANCK INSTITUT FÜR WISSENSCHAFTSGESCHICHTE BERLIN)

THE NOMINAL GROUP: THINGS IN MING-CHINESE LOCAL GAZETTEERS (DIFANGZHI)

Each language learning has a group of nominal expressions on „things“ considered substantial. In Chinese History, Local Gazetteers since the 7th century laid out a nominal basis for ”things“ relevant to social prosperity and state rule. Over the course of time scholars henceforth described and consulted this genre to learn about the material assets of a locality. At the same „things“ became an identity marker of the locale, forming the structural unit for thinking about power, materiality and its change.

In my talk I will give a first detailed look at one particular part of this grammar through the technologies of silk and ship-building asking for the factors that impacted how specific (craft-specific) such grammars were projected and perceived.

BIO SKETCH

Dagmar Schäfer is a sinologist and Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin where she is also Director of Department 3, "Artefacts, Action, and Knowledge“. Since August 2015 she is also Professor h.c. of the History of Technology, at the Technical University, Berlin.

Her main interest is the history and sociology of technology of China, focusing on the paradigms configuring the discourse on technological development, past and present.

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.

Literature

Des Kaisers seidene Kleider: Staatliche Seidenmanufakturen in der Ming-Zeit (1368–1644). Edition Forum, 1998.

The Crafting of the 10,000 Things. University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Cultures of Knowledge: Technology in China. Brill, 2012.

Technische Universität Darmstadt The Society for Philosophy and Technology Technische Universität Berlin Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft  Institute of Philosophy TU Darmstadt