Daniel Speich

Curriculum Vitae


Daniel Speich studied history, philosophy and anthropology at University of Zurich and is an associated researcher at the Institute for History of ETH Zurich, Switzerland. He completed his dissertation thesis in 2002 on the cultural history of the first modern hydro technical development scheme in Switzerland (1783-1823). In parallel he co-authored a study with David Gugerli on the cultural history of the official cartographic survey of Switzerland in the 19th century. In 2003 he was offered a post as "Juniorprofessor" for Modern European History at the Technical University Braunschweig (declined). 2003-2005 he co-directed with David Gugerli and Patrick Kupper a research project on the history of the Ecole Polytechnique/ETH Zurich. This project included innovative ways of using new technologies. The website ( was awarded "Best of Swiss Web" in 2006.
Since 2006 he holds a scholarship of the Swiss National Science Foundation, working on the project "Knowledge and development. Technology and Science in the Postcolonial Culture of Development". He is investigating the history of knowledge techniques in economics and especially analyses the historical importance of macroeconomic abstractions in postcolonial development practice.
From January through December 2007 Speich was a visiting scholar at the Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG) in Berlin. In the academic year 2008/2009 he was visiting professor at the Université de Nantes and chercheur résident at the Institut d’études avancées de Nantes.

Selected Publications

Monographs and edited volumes
• with Alexander Nützenadel (Ed.): Global Inequality after 1945. Journal of Global History, Special Issue, 5, 2010, 3. (in preparation)
• with Hubertus Büschel (Ed.): Entwicklungswelten - Zur Globalgeschichte der Entwicklungszusammenarbeit, Reihe Globalgeschichte (ed. Andreas Eckert, Sebastian Conrad, Ulrike Freitag), Vol. 5, Frankfurt a. M.: Campus 2009. (in preparation)
• with David Gugerli and Patrick Kupper: Die Zukunftsmaschine. Konjunkturen der ETH Zürich 1855-2005, Zürich: Chronos 2005.
(An English translation of this study is in progress. Reviews in English: Minerva, 46, 2008, pp. 271-274; Isis, 98, 2007, 1, pp. 211-212)
• Helvetische Meliorationen. Die Neuordnung der gesellschaftlichen Naturverhältnisse an der Linth 1783-1823, Interferenzen - Studien zur Kulturgeschichte der Technik, Band 6, Zürich: Chronos 2003.
• with David Gugerli: Topografien der Nation. Politik, kartografische Ordnung und Landschaft im 19. Jahrhundert, Zürich: Chronos 2002.
(Reviews in English: Isis, 95, 2004, 4, pp. 721-722; Imago Mundi - The International Journal for the History of Cartography, 56, 2004, 2, pp. 212-213)

Papers and book chapters in English
• Abstractions on a Global Scale. Knowledge of Inequality in the Post-colonial Development Era, in: Journal of Global History, Special Issue, 5, 2010, 3. (in preparation)
• Mountains Made in Switzerland. Facts and Concerns in 19th-Century Cartography, in: Science in Context, 22, 2009, 2. (in print)
• The Kenyan Style of ’African Socialism’. Developmental Knowledge Claims and the Explanatory Limits of the Cold War, in: Diplomatic History - the Journal of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, 33, 2009, 3, pp. 449-466.
• Travelling with the GDP through early development economics’ history, in: Working Papers on The Nature of Evidence: How Well Do Facts Travel? No 33/2008, London School of Economics, Department of Economic History.
• Switzerland, in: Herb, Guntram and David H. Kaplan (Ed.): Nations and Nationalism. A global historical overview, Santa Barbara Calif.: ABC-Clio 2008, Vol. 1, pp. 244-255.
• Draining the marshlands - disciplining the masses, The Linth Valley Hydro Engineering Scheme (1807-1823) and the Genesis of Swiss National Unity, in: Environment & History, 8, 2002, 4, pp. 429-448.