20 May 2022

Thomas Kaiserfeld is professor of history of science and ideas and has been employed at Technology and Social Change since the turn of the year. "For me, it is important that the historical insights have meaning in the understanding of today's conditions."

Thomas Kaiserfeld sits on a mountain top.
Thomas Kaiserfeld, new professor at the Department of Thematic studies.

In recent years, Kaiserfeld has worked at Lund University and, among other things, published the book "Beyond Innovation. Technology, Institution and Change as Categories for Social Analysis".

– Thomas has a long experience of research on history of science and ideas and it feels very fun to welcome him, says Jelmer Brüggeman, head of department at Technology and Social Change (Tema T).

Hello Thomas! You are professor of history of science and ideas, what does that mean?

– This means that you are interested in the history of the ideas, especially their historical context. History of science and ideas is a very broad field and I have been most interested in the history of technology and science, which has meant that material conditions have of course played a major role in the life of ideas. As well as the fact that the ideas have often affected material conditions, at least in the long run.

What research interests do you have?

– Mainly history of technology and science. But for me, it is important that the historical insights have meaning in the understanding of today's conditions. History itself is seldom fascinating. Well, I certainly think that history itself is actually fascinating. But I do not expect everyone else to think the same and therefore always try to make sure that what I do leads to something that can be worthwhile today. 

What made you come back to LiU?

– Both private and professional reasons. I needed variety professionally and Tema T is an environment that is really varied. Hopefully I can contribute to that. Privately, I thrive very well in Lund where I live today, but still wanted to come closer to Stockholm in the long run where I have family, partners and more old friends. We'll see if I'll move or if I stay in Skåne.

What will you work on?

– I have discussions with a few different colleagues. Above all, my interests are in institutional perspectives on knowledge and competence, something that I think can dock well with many of the projects and educational initiatives that are already underway. When I applied for the position, I indicated three issues I would like to work on. One of these concerned competence and lock-in effects within the government sphere and perhaps it can be developed in project form in the future.

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