Prix Gaïa 2011 – Pierre-Yves Donzé. History-Research category
Currently a fellow researcher at the Osaka University in Japan, Pierre-Yves Donzé has particularly been the scientific collaborator of the Lausanne and Neuchâtel universities and guest researcher of the Kyoto and Rutgers (USA) Universities. He has based his career as researcher and historian in two different fields.
The hospital and medical technique historian
Even though he worked at the International Museum of Horology (MIH) as researcher while he was studying - thus proving his interest in watchmaking and its industry - he led his first official research on the history of hospitals and medicine. Besides, he completed his studies with a PhD at the Neuchâtel University and submitted a thesis about "Les chirurgiens et la construction du système hospitalier vaudois, 1840-1960" (surgeons and the construction of the hospital system in Vaud from 1840 to 1960). In parallel, he continued his research work on the history of watchmaking industry and medical technologies.
Historian of the watchmaking industry
Since his first research work and contribution in watchmaking happened while he also published his writings in the medical field, he regularly published articles and books about the history of employment, trade unions and watchmaking apprenticeship.
For example, he published a book entitled "Les patrons horlogers de La Chaux-de-Fonds: dynamique sociale d'une élite undustrielle (1840-1920) (Alphil, 2007)" (the watchmaking leaders of La Chaux-de-Fonds: the social dynamics of an industrial elite".
Donzé's research work also stood out because it was extended to watchmaking in other countries, particularly Japan. In doing so, he uncovered an unknown part of watchmaking history, where he analyzed the economical, technical and cultural aspects of a significant Japanese watchmaking industry and linked it to the same aspects of the European industry especially in Switzerland.
In 2009, he published an important book called "Histoire de l'industrie horlogère suisse: de Jacques David à Nicolas Hayek (1850-2000) (Alphil, Presse universitaire suisse, 2009), which went through the history of the Swiss watchmaking industry from economical, technical and competitive angles.
He also managed the History and watchmaking collection of the Editions Alphil, Presses universitaires suisses.
The jury of the Prix Gaïa hailed the essential work the candidate led to highlight the industrial and social history of watchmaking.