Anke te Heesen Former Senior Fellow

Anke te Heesen
April - September 2016


Anke te Heesen, born 1965, has been professor for the History of Science at the Institute for History, Humboldt University Berlin, since 2011. She is also Principal Investigator at the ‘Excellenzcluster’ “Bild Wissen Gestaltung“. Before, she held a professorship in European Ethnology and was managing director of the Ludwig-Uhland-Institut für Empirische Kulturwissenschaft at the University of Tübingen. She received her PhD with the dissertation entitled in 1995: „Das Werkzeug des Begreifens: Die Bilder-Akademie für die Jugend (1780-84) des Johann Siegmund Stoy“ at the Oldenburg University. For several years she worked as Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Anke te Heesen curated several exhibitions and was the Founding Director of MUT (Museum of the University of Tübingen). Her major publications are “World in a box. The Story of an Eighteenth-Century Picture Encyclopedia” (translation 2002) and “The newspaper clipping. A modern paper object“ (translation 2014). Recently she published “Theorien des Museums” (2012) and “Wissenschaft im Museum, Ausstellung im Labor” (together with Margarete Vöhringer, 2014).

Dated from 2016

Fields of research

Human sciences; natural history; theory of curating and art; science of art; history of art, aesthetics and communication; theory of knowledge organisation, culture and museum science

IKKM Research Project

to climb into other people’s heads Thomas Kuhn, The Science of History and the Interview

Interviews are in fashion. Though, media history research timidly takes up the open dialog format, it is mostly limited to journalistic interviews. Still, although a glance at the history of science rapidly shows that the journalistic interview has been the background for the emergence of the one used in research, the insisting research aspects of the research interview are by far not being reached by the analysis made by the journalistic interview. The yet to be written history of the research interview draws on the project called Sources for History of Quantum Physics, sponsored by the National Science Foundation (USA). Its aim was to collect the still existent written documents as well as the living memories on and about the physical developments at the beginning of the 20th century over a period of 3 years, from 1961 to 1964. The science philosopher Thomas S. Kuhn had been asked to manage this project and soon, with the help of assistants John Heilbronn and Paul Forman they would compile the first Oral History sources collection of the science of history. Since its creation in the 60’s, this well-known work, called Archives for the History of Quantum Physics, helped to produce numerous historical works on the history of physics and became famous as being a major sources collection - yet, its historiography has not been investigated. As a result, the more than 100 collected interviews show especially one aspect: without any psychoanalysis nor questioning techniques this project would have been inconceivable. The formation of this project shows how big hopes were associated with the Oral History practices, and then condensed again into exemplary dialogs in order to ultimately disperse into a hoard of anecdotes. By trying to move the (non explicit) interview comprehension to the midpoint, it becomes clear how the big hope from the new science of history and philosophy on the “historical realism” (Michael Lynch) bursts at the end of the 1960s.



The Newspaper Clipping. A modern paper object. Manchester: Manchester University Press 2014.
Theorien des Museums. Zur Einführung. Hamburg: Junius Verlag 2012.
Der Zeitungsausschnitt. Ein Papierobjekt der Moderne. Frankfurt a. M.: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag 2006.
The World in a Box. The Story of an Eighteenth-Century Picture Encyclopedia. Chicago: The Chicago University Press 2002.

Edited Books

with M. Vöhringer: Wissenschaft im Museum - Ausstellung im Labor. Berlin: Kadmos Verlag 2014.
with S. Padberg: Musée Sentimental 1979. Ein Ausstellungskonzept. Ostfildern: Hatje-Cantz-Verlag 2011.
with A. Michels: auf/zu. Der Schrank in den Wissenschaften. Berlin: Akademie Verlag 2007.


“Naturgeschichte der Interviews”. In: Merkur. Deutsche Zeitschrift für Europäisches Denken 4/67, 2013, pp. 317-328.
“Übersicht trotz Fülle”. In: Hundert. Das Jubiläumsmagazin der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek, Ausgabe 3. Hrsg. von Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, (eds.): Dr. E. Niggemann. Leipzig: Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, 2012, pp. 21-23.
“Kulturgeschichte im Raum”. In: Historische Anthropologie. Kultur, Gesellschaft, Alltag. 20. Jahrgang 2012, Heft 2. Thema: 20 Jahre Zeitschrift Historische Anthropologie. (eds.): R. Habermas, J. Tanner und B. Wagner-Hasel. Köln, Weimar, Wien: Böhlau Verlag, 2012, pp. 239-241.
“Objet sentimental”. In: Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung, 1/11, 2011, pp. 127-141.
“Exposition Imaginaire. Über die Stellwand bei Aby Warburg”. In: Fotogeschichte. Beiträge zur Geschichte und Ästhetik der Fotografie, 2011, pp. 55-64.