Johan Östling

Johan Östling

Professor, Director, Lund Centre for the History of Knowledge (LUCK), Wallenberg Academy Fellow

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Personal profile


I am Professor of History, Director of the Lund Centre for the History of Knowledge (LUCK) and Wallenberg Academy Fellow.

My research is mainly devoted to the history of knowledge, but I have a more general interest in the intellectual, political and cultural history of modern Europe, including the history of the university, historiography and biography.

After having studied and carried out research at the universities of Gothenburg, Uppsala, Sussex, Tübingen and Berlin, I defended my doctoral thesis about Swedish experiences of Nazism in the wake of Second World War at Lund University in 2008. My dissertation was awarded several prizes, including the Clio Prize and the Nils Klim Prize. In 2016 a revised English translation was published by Berghahn Books, Sweden After Nazism.

My main postdoctoral project was devoted to the Humboldtian tradition in modern Germany, not least when I, as a Pro Futura Scientia Fellow in 2013–2017, was a visiting scholar at the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (SCAS) in Uppsala, Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung in Potsdam and Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte in Berlin. My research resulted in my second monograph, Humboldt and the Modern German University (2018).

Since the mid-2010s, I have in close co-operation with my colleagues been engaged in establishing the history of knowledge in the Nordic countries and promote the development of the field at large. We have created a research environment at Lund, since 2020 in form of the Lund Centre for the History of Knowledge (LUCK). We have published several books, including the trilogy Circulation of Knowledge (2018), Forms of Knowledge (2020) and Knowledge Actors (due to be published in 2023).

In 2019, I took up a position as a Wallenberg Academy Fellow, funded by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation. My main research focus has been to investigate the circulation of knowledge in postwar society. Within this framework, I have together with two postdoctoral researchers analyzed the humanities in the postwar Swedish and West German public spheres. In 2022, we published a monograph in which we examined key public actors and arenas, and in 2023 we are releasing an edited volume on the humanities in the Swedish welfare society.

My position as Wallenberg Academy Fellow has been extended for another five years (2024–2028). During this period, I will launch a comparative project on the Europeanisation of European universities and the formation of the knowledge society since the 1980s.

I am a co-founder and one of the editors-in-chief of the international yearbook History of Intellectual Culture (De Gruyter), which is devoted to the history of knowledge.



UKÄ subject classification

  • Humanities
  • History


  • History of Knowledge
  • History of Universities
  • Universities
  • History of Humanties
  • Circulation of Knowledge
  • Europe
  • Modern history
  • Contemporary History
  • Sweden
  • Scandinavia
  • Postwar Period
  • European integration
  • German history
  • Biographies


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