Professor of Science Studies

T +41 41 229 56 10

Frohburgstrasse 3, Room 3.A40
Office hours:Tuesday, 12 - 13 h, please arrange appointments via e-Mail!


Christoph Hoffmann | Studied German Literature and History in Frankfurt/Main and Freiburg im Breisgau. Ph.D. in 1995 at the Albert Ludwigs University Freiburg i. Br. (»Der Dichter am Apparat. Medientechnik, Experimentalpsychologie und Texte Robert Musils 1899–1942«; München 1997). Habilitation in 2004 at the Europa-Universität Viadrina Frankfurt/Oder (»Unter Beobachtung. Naturforschung in der Zeit der Sinnesapparate«; Göttingen 2006). Postdoctoral fellow at the Europa Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder, and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin. 2004-2010 Research Scholar and Co-Leader of the Working Group »Knowledge in the Making« at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Since March 2010 Profesor of Science Studies at the University of Lucerne. 

Research fellow at the Zentrum für Literaturforschung, Berlin (2001), at the Akademie Schloß Solitude, Stuttgart (2004), and at the IFK, Vienna (2006). In fall 2008 Visiting Professor at the Department for Germanic Languages & Literatures, Columbia University, New York.


Research Priorities

  • Social sciences and humanities ‘in action’ 
    Somewhat strangely, the so-called practical turn in science studies since the 1970s got stuck halfway rather than turning full corner: whereas the natural sciences and their concepts and material circumstances of knowledge-making have been thoroughly examined, humanities and social sciences have remained largely untouched from such investigations. However, it is more than evident that the objects, concepts, and theories of human and social sciences do not arise from pure thought processes, but are grounded in instruments and procedures, which permeate the framing of research interests, forms of argumentation and causal linkages. In such a perspective, libraries, archives, museums, collections and offices constitute scenes and locations of research. Procedures of inscription, specified in relation to their utility and institutional context, interact with the material residues of the knowledge production process. New instruments - for example, the digitisation of cultural tradition - shape the very formation of research objects and questions. Returning the focus of science studies to the point of its original query is no more than to heed its own call for symmetry. Writing desk research aims to shed light on the conditions of the knowledge-making process in the human and social sciences that have been pushed to the periphery of research. These aspects have so far been overlooked by prevailing critics of scientific ideology, but perhaps precisely so for ideological reasons.
  • The history of animal experiments in the 20th century
    Concepts and imaginations of animals in scientific practice are inseparably linked to the specific contexts and processes through which animals are turned into material embodiments and carriers of scientific knowledge. Central to a history of ideas of animals and related research practices is the experimental work undertaken with animals in animal physiology, physiology of senses and ethology; the use of animal models in biochemistry, genetics, neurophysiology and medicine; as well as the use of animals in testing procedures in the 20th century. The aim of the research is to systematically trace and examine the diverse range of animal concepts in the life sciences and assess their implications on the respective research goals and processes by drawing together the diverse areas that have so far been examined separately. Underlying this project is the conjecture that the research of and with animals simultaneously negotiates – in a pragmatic manner - the concept of what is specifically human. In other words, this endeavour could be understood as an anthropology through the lens of animal experimentation. 


Journal Article

Book Section

Review, Editorial, Letter in a Journal