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History and Culture of Science and Technology


The Master's degree „History and Culture of Science and Technology“ at the TU Berlin

Our thoughts (thinking?) and actions are closely affiliated to science and technology. How can this relation be investigated, understood and communicated to a broader public?

The research-oriented Master's degree "History and Culture of Science and Technology" at the TU Berlin combines in a unique way three perspectives (areas of study?) towards scientific and technological development:

History of Science investigates origin and development of sciences and their body of knowledge in their respective political, social and cultural contexts. This subject provides a better understanding for the manifold and always changing goals of all sciences. It also provides a better understanding for how their current form is conditioned (framed?) by history and for how history (in-)formed/shaped scientific knowledge.

History of Technology provides a main contribution for the understanding of Culture. This is achieved by analyzing the whole bandwidth of cultural and social prerequisites, uses and patterns of interpretation concerning technology. This subject takes a closer look at the objects themselves in a more intense manner than other historic disciplines: it researches how technical artefacts are invented, built and manufactured and how people acquire technology in different aspects of life.

Literary Studies examines the ongoing scientification and technologization of the living environment under a theoretical and historic perspective as "Cultures of Knowledge". They are interested in the change of semiotic and material practices, by which man settles into nature by means of artificial environments. Language and technology are understood at the same time as symbolic systems, which determine the relationship between man and things (objects?) and between things (objects?) and man.

During the course of the academic study one of the three aspects has to be chosen as main focus. By combining historic and cultural methods we offer comprehensive courses, which convey a broad professional profile and sharpen the perception of similarities and differences of subjects, methods and theories in all three areas of study. Students attain the qualification to question the history and culture of science and technology from antiquity to actuality at the current state of scientific research and to present the results in a professional manner inside and outside of university.



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History of Science

In the field of History of Science you will concentrate on the historic development of the sciences. The all encompassing question "What is science?" will be the background of all subjects examined in this field of study. We inquire about how certain scientific disciplines originated, how certain methods were established, how science developed to what it is nowadays. This includes specific and comparative studies of sciences during different ages and of different national, regional and language areas under consideration of gender specific aspects. The issue, therefore, is on one side the historic, theoretic, material and cultural requirements for new scientific knowledge and scientific innovations, and on the other side their meaning, role and reflection in culture and society.

Epistemological issues historically exploring the outstanding importance of scientific knowledge - unlike common knowledge for example -  receive special attention. Which role do scientific standards play, which were established and changed, and which role play certain forms of evidence, experimental verification and theoretical prediction?

History of science is taught at the TU Berlin to address and attract humanities scholars interested in natural sciences and natural scientists, which want to learn more about the origin and development of the sciences.

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History of Technology

By setting your focus on History of Technology you explore how man developed and used technical artifacts in different ages and cultures and how they shaped with the help of technology their living environment every time anew. The History of Technology does therefore not only deal with excellent achievements by brilliant inventors. It rather pays attention to all aspects of the relationship between man and technology during the course of history encompassing the impressive expansion of what is technically possible until the scrapping of technical consumer goods.

To acquire the basic knowledge in content and method of the History of Technology means to work on an interdisciplinary level: the history of technology cooperates with engineering science to understand the general conditions for innovation and technical knowledge. It also makes use of questions asked by social and economic sciences to be able to obtain a complete overview of social and economic contexts of technologies. The history of technology also is oriented towards cultural studies, to be able to understand the symbolic and environmental dimension of technology.

You will acquire an overview over the varied contents and questions of a dynamic scientific branch of historical studies in the History of Technology courses of this research oriented Masters's degree. The goal of acquiring these analytical skills is to be able to assess current and future tendencies concerning the development of technology and society in a professional manner.

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Cultures of Knowledge

In the core area "Cultures of Knowledge" science and technology are considered as main factors through which the historically variable relationship of man to himself, to life and to nature as a whole repeatedly assumes new forms. Those forms you will analyze by using working methods of literary, art, cultural and media studies. At the same time you will position literature and art in relation to their production and reception into scientific- and technical-historic contexts.

In the course of your studies of "Cultures of Knowledge" you will access insight in the fundamental meaning  of cultural practices such as writing, reading, collecting, organizing and calculating for the history of knowledge and sciences. Producing, recording and distributing knowledge during the transition from books and libraries to globally networked workplaces and databases are areas of special interest. This leads finally to the question of how human sciences, which originated in the 19th century, will position themselves against natural and technical sciences.

The core area "Cultures of Knowledge" specifically offers the possibility to continue studying with the focus on knowledge history after a literary, art, cultural or medial studies oriented BA degree. Thus you acquire deeper knowledge in an important part of the current humanities research. Course of studies (PDF, 50,1 KB)


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The Master's Study is supported by the following Chairs:

A job-oriented university degree on the subjects of humanities, cultural studies, natural sciences, social sciences, engineering sciences or economics is required for admission to this study. Certified knowledge of English language, Level B 2 (GeR) has to be verified. Knowledge of a second language are strongly recommended. The study begins in winter and summer term. The standard study period including the writing of the master's thesis is four semesters full-time study. This study programme is organized in a way, which allows for a study-related stay abroad during its standard study period. The graduates are qualified for all fields of activity requiring a historical and theoretical contemplation of technical and scientific developments as well as the linguistic, methodic and medial expertise related to it. Research activities, activities in knowledge management, departments and planning units in commerce, in public institutions and in scientific and culture intitutions (for ex. science editorial offices, publishing companies, archives, science and technology museums)

The study programme has free admission. The application deadline for the summer term 2017 ends the 28th of february 2017. From march 2017 on you will find time and place of the introductory course here.

Further information on how to apply and on the order of study (study- and examination rules, module catalog, etc.) you will find on the study programme's pages of the faculty I.

Please take notice when applying for the Master's Study "History and Culture of Science and Technology" to submit complete documentation. The applications are received and examined by an external company. Feedback to appliccants is unfortunately rather scarce.

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