Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Chair for the History of Science

Fabian Krämer, PD Dr.

Fabian Krämer PD Dr.
fabian.kraemer (at)

Humboldt-Universität → Präsidium → Philosophische Fakultät → Institut für Geschichtswissenschaften → Wissenschaftsgeschichte mit einem Schwerpunkt in der Geschichte der Bildung und der Organisation des Wissens im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert
Visiting address
Friedrichstraße 191-193 , Room 5025
Phone number
0049 (030) 2093-70624
Mailing address
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin


→ Vita

→ Research Interests

→ Current Projects

→ Publications



  • Assistant Professor for the History of Science in the History Department of Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München.
  • 2022: Habilitation in Early Modern History & History of Science and Humanities at the Faculty for History and Arts with the Habilitation manuscript "Before the Two Cultures".
  • 2019/20: Junior Fellow, Historisches Kolleg, Institute for Advanced Study, München.
  • 2018/19: EURIAS-Fellow, Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Amsterdam & Fellow at the Vossius Center for the Study of Humanities and Sciences, University of Amsterdam.
  • 2018: Special award of the program "Geisteswissenschaften International," Börsenverein des Deutschen Buchhandels, for the monograph "Ein Zentaur in London".
  • 2016-2017: Volkswagen Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Science and Society, Columbia University.
  • 2015-1016: Parental leave (ca. 6 months).
  • 2015-2020: Member of the Young Academy of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities & German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina.
  • 2014: Ph.D. in Early Modern & Modern History and English Literary History; title: A Centaur in London. Observation and Reading in the European Study of Nature in the Early Modern Period; advisors: Helmut Zedelmaier (LMU München) & Lorraine Daston, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin (MPIWG); Summa cum laude.
  • 2013: Prize for Young Scholars, the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science (IUHPS), Division of History of Science and Technology (DHST), for the PhD thesis.
  • 2012: Johann Lorenz Bausch Award, Leopoldina Akademie Freundeskreis e.V., for the PhD thesis.
  • 2012: Prize for Young Scholars, Georg-Agricola-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Geschichte der Naturwissenschaften und der Technik e.V., for the PhD thesis.
  • 2012: May-August: Frances A. Yates Fellowship, The Warburg Institute, University of London.
  • 2011-2012: Associate Research Fellow, Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America at Columbia University.
  • 2010: March-August: Herzog-Ernst-Grant, Fritz Thyssen Stiftung, research library Erfurt-Gotha.
  • November 2007-February 2008: Stipend, Dr. Günther Findel-Stiftung zur Förderung der Wissenschaften, Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel.
  • 2006-2011: Predoc, MPIWG, Dept. II (Lorraine Daston).
  • 2005: M.A. in Early Modern & Modern History, English & American Studies, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin.
  • 2001-2002: Erasmus exchange student, Goldsmith College, University of London.
  • 1998-2001: Undergraduate Studies (without a formal degree), Universität zu Köln.


Research Interests

  • The relations between the sciences and the humanities in Europe and the U.S. from the early modern period through the 20th century.
  • Architectures of knowledge in a global perspective from the early modern period up to the present day.
  • Scholarly reading and information management practices in the Early Modern “Republic of Letters.”


Current Projects

Before the Two Cultures – How the Sciences and the Humanities grew apart

Wilhelm_Dilthey_zZ_seiner_Verlobung.jpgFew beliefs about the nature of academic knowledge appear to be less problematic and are more deeply ingrained than the assumption that a wide gulf divides the natural sciences and the humanities. The happy phrase “two cultures”, invented and devised by the British physical chemist and novelist C.P. Snow against the backdrop of the Cold War, has over the past decades assumed an a-historical ring. But like many other dichotomies that characterize modernity, this binary opposition is younger than we tend to think. While some of its roots go back to the early modern period, it was largely in the long nineteenth century that academics began to develop a sense of belonging to either the sciences or the humanities. While the emergence of the “great divide” constituted one of the most fundamental transformations in the history of knowledge, its history largely remains to be written.

Wilhelm Dilthey zur Zeit seiner Verlobung, circa 1855 via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei.




Vergangenheitsbewältigung as Applied Humanities: History and Psychoanalysis in West Germany, ca. 1949-1990


The term Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coping with with the past), or more rarely Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit, refers to the way in which (mostly Western) German society has publicly dealt with the German past and especially with the crimes of National Socialism. Today, this process is usually regarded as successful and completed and considered as an integral part of the identity of the now reunified German state. In the context of the research project proposed here, it shall be historicized. Vergangenheitsbewältigung will be examined from the perspective of the application of knowledge that originated in the humanities. The focus is on the (1) historiographical and (2) psychoanalytical discourse in the Federal Republic of Germany (FDR) from the 1950s to the 1980s. Case studies on the publication and reception of Alexander and Margarete Mitscherlich's "Die Unfähigkeit zu trauern" (The Inability to Mourn, 1967) and on the so-called Historiker-streit (Historians' Dispute) of 1986/87 will serve to examine the ways in which humanistic expertise was used to shape the ways in which the German National Socialist past was treated in and what repercussions this had on the pesona of the humanities scholar.







  • Ein Zentaur in London: Lektüre und Beobachtung in der frühneuzeitlichen Naturforschung, Affalterbach 2014. See here.
  • English Translation: A Centaur in London: Reading and Observation in Early Modern Science, Baltimore 2023 [April 25, 2023].


 Special Issues

  • Special Issue "Towards a History of Excerpting in Modernity," Berichte zur Wis-senschaftsgeschichte / History of Science and Humanities 2 (2020), co-edited with Elisabeth Décultot and Helmut Zedelmaier.
  • Special Issue "History of Science or History of Knowledge," Berichte zur Wissen-schaftsgeschichte / History of Science and Humanities 2/3 (2019), co-edited with Christian Joas and Kärin Nickelsen.
  • Forum: The Two Cultures Revisited: The Sciences and the Humanities in a Longue Durée Perspective, History of Humanities 3/1 (2018).
  • Special Issue "Cooperation and Competition in the Sciences," NTM 24/2 (2016), co-edited with Kärin Nickelsen.


Articles in Peer-Reviewed Journals and Volumes

  • With Kärin Nickelsen and Dana von Suffrin, "Botany and the Science of History, ca. 1800-1900," Isis 113/1 (2022), 45-62.
  • "What are the Humanities? A Short History of Concepts and Classifications," in: Writing the History of Humanities: Questions, Themes, and Approaches, edited by Herman Paul, London 2022, pp. 27-46.
  • With Claire Gantet, "Wie man mehr als 9000 Rezensionen schreiben kann: Albrecht von Hallers wissenschaftliche Praxis, zwischen Lektüre und Rezensionen," Historische Zeitschrift 312/2 (2021), 364-399.
  • With Elisabeth Décultot and Helmut Zedelmaier, "Introduction: Towards a History of Excerpting in Modernity," Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte / History of Science and Humanities 2 (2020): 169-179.
  • With Christian Joas and Kärin Nickelsen, "Introduction: History of Science or His-tory of Knowledge?," Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte / History of Science and Humanities 2/3 (2019): 117-125.
  • With Christian Joas and Kärin Nickelsen, "Editorial," Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte / History of Science and Humanities 2/3 (2019), 115-116.
  • "Shifting Demarcations: An Introduction," History of Humanities 3/1 (2018): 5-14.
  • Chinese Translation of "Shifting Demarcations: An Introduction" in: Humanities (人文) 5 (2021): 62-67.
  • "Albrecht von Haller as an 'Enlightened' Reader-Observer," in: Forgetting Machines: Knowledge Management Evolution in Early Modern Europe, edited by Alberto Cevolini, Leiden, Boston 2016, pp. 224-242.
  • With Kärin Nickelsen, "Introduction: Cooperation and Competition in the Sciences," NTM 24/2 (2016), pp. 119-123.
  • "Ulisse Aldrovandi's Pandechion Epistemonicon and the Use of Paper Technology in Renaissance Natural History," Early Science and Medicine 19 (2014), pp. 398-423.
  • With Helmut Zedelmaier, "Instruments of Invention in Renaissance Europe: The Cases of Conrad Gesner and Ulisse Aldrovandi," Intellectual History Review 24/3 (2014), pp. 321-41. Download via:
  • "Ein papiernes Archiv für alles jemals Geschriebene: Ulisse Aldrovandis Pandechion epistemonicon und die Naturgeschichte der Renaissance," NTM 1 (2013), pp. 11-36.
  • "The Persistent Image of an Unusual Centaur: A Biography of Aldrovandi's Two-Legged Centaur Woodcut," Nuncius 2 (2009): 313-340.


Articles in Journals and Collected Volumes

  • "Urweizen," in: Surprise: 107 Variations on the Unexpected, ed. Mechthild Fend et al., Berlin 2019, pp. 207-209.
  • "Richtig beobachten: Zum zwiespältigen Verhältnis der Academia Naturae Curiosorum zu den Monstren," Acta Historica Leopoldina 65 (2015): 109-130.
  • "Hermaphrodites Closely Observed: The Individualisation of Hermaphrodites and the Rise of the Observatio Genre in Seventeenth-Century Medicine," in: L’Hermaphrodite de la Renaissance aux Lumières, edited by Marianne Closson, Paris 2013, pp. 37-60.
  • "Why There Was No Centaur in Eighteenth-Century London: The Vulgar As a Cognitive Category in Enlightenment Europe," in: Wissenschaftsgeschichte und Geschichte des Wissens im Dialog: Connecting Science and Knowledge, edited by Kaspar von Greyerz, Silvia Flubacher and Philipp Senn, Göttingen 2013, pp. 317-345.
  • "Faktoid und Fallgeschichte: Medizinische Fallgeschichten im Lichte frühneuzeitlicher Lese- und Aufzeichnungstechniken," in: Die Sachen der Aufklärung: Beiträge zur DGEJ-Jahrestagung 2010 in Halle a. d. Saale, edited by Frauke Bernd and Daniel Fulda, Hamburg 2012 (= Studien zum achtzehnten Jahrhundert; 34), pp. 525-536.
  • "Die Individualisierung des Hermaphroditen in Medizin und Naturgeschichte des 17. Jahrhunderts," Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte 30/1 (2007): 49-65.


Miscellaneous Publications

  • With Miriam Akkermann, Benedict Esche, Sebastian Matzner, Debattenbeitrag der AG Zwei Kulturen der Jungen Akademie "Institutes of Advanced Study – Chancen und Probleme für Nachwuchswissenschaftler*innen," 2020 (English translation published as: Debate contribution by the Junge Akademie’s Research Group The Two Cultures: "Institutes of Advanced Study: Opportunities and Problems for Early Career Researchers," 2020).
  • "Notebooks, English Virtuosi, and Early Modern Science," Richard Yeo (Review), Renaissance Quarterly 68, 4 (2015): 1382.
  • "World-Building and the Early Modern Imagination," ed. Allison Kavey (Review) Francia-Recensio 2012-3.
  • "Innovation durch Wissenstransfer in der Frühen Neuzeit: Kultur- und geistesgeschichtliche Studien zu Austauschprozessen in Mitteleuropa," ed. Marc Föcking, Sandra Richter, and Johann Anselm Steiger (Review) Francia-Recensio 2011-2.
  • With Asaph Ben-Tov, "Antiquarianism and the Republic of Letters. 6.-7. Juli 2010, Gotha" (conference report) in: H-Soz-u-Kult (30.07.2010); also published in: AHF-Information no. 164 (2010).
  • "Naturwunder," In: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit, vol. 9, edited by Friedrich Jäger (Stuttgart: Metzler, 2009), cols. 67-70.
  • "The Persistent Image of an Unusual Centaur: A Biography of Aldrovandi’s Two-Legged Centaur Woodcut," Preprint 377 (Berlin: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2009).
  • With Johanna Bohley, "3. Studientag Literatur und Wissenschaftsgeschichte. 19. Juli 2008, Berlin" (Conference Report), H-Soz-u-Kult, 13.08.2008; (also published in: AHF-Information 156 (2008) and on H-Germanistik).
  • "Der Naturbegriff in der Frühen Neuzeit: Semantische Perspektiven zwischen 1500 und 1700" (Review), Renaissance Quarterly 60/ 3 (2007): 989-991.
  • "'Under so viel wunderbarlichen und seltsamen Sachen ist mir nichts wunderbarlichers unnd seltsamers fürkommen': Vom 'Auftauchen' des Hermaphroditen in der Frühen Neuzeit," in: 1-0-1 [one 'o one] intersex: Das Zwei-Geschlechter-System als Menschenrechtsverletzung. Katalog zur gleichnamigen Ausstellung vom 17. 6. – 31. 7. 2005 in den Ausstellungsräumen der NGBK, edited by Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin 2005, pp. 150-157.