Hampus Östh Gustafsson

Short presentation

Researcher in History of Science and Ideas. In 2021, I defended my doctoral thesis on the legitimacy of the 20-century humanities in Swedish politics of knowledge. Since then, I have broadened my research on the history of the humanities in the modern period, and also engaged with issues of temporality and organisation in university politics. In 2024, I will begin two new research projects on research funding in the history of the humanities and social sciences.


  • crisis
  • democracy
  • historiography
  • history of education
  • history of humanities
  • history of knowledge
  • history of universities
  • politics of knowledge


PhD, History of Science and Ideas, Uppsala University, 2021.
Reviews of my doctoral dissertation are available in History of Humanities and Nordic Journal of Educational History.

2023–2025 I also conduct the project "The Humanist Diaspora: Migration of Humanists and the Circulation of Knowledge in Swedish Society 1876–1926" at Lund University, funded by the Crafoord Foundation.

Researcher in the interdisciplinary group HEOS (Higher Education Organization Studies) at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2023.

Research Fellow, Vossius Center for the History of Humanities and Sciences, University of Amsterdam, 2022.

Visiting doctoral student, Faculty of English, University of Oxford, 2017.

MA, History of Science and Ideas, Uppsala University, 2014.

Erasmus student, History, University of Manchester, 2011.


My research interests are focused on the history of universities, the societal value of the human sciences, and the modern politics of knowledge. My articles have appeared in journal such as Higher Education, History of Humanities och History of Education Review.

In my doctoral thesis, I examined how the humanities were legitimised in Swedish society during the 20th century, thus attempting to historicise the recurring notion of the so-called 'crisis in the humanities'. The thesis also sheds new light on the shifting relationship between the humanities and democracy, thereby bringing further nuances to the ongoing debates on the state and legitimacy of the humanities. Comparative studies on the history of humanities have emerged as an ambitious field of research in recent years. By avoiding a limited focus on individual humanistic disciplines, my thesis deepens our understanding of the role assigned to knowledge in modern politics.

In two recent projects I have examined examples of historical narratives of the humanities that were mobilized in times of crisis throughout the 20th century, with the American literary critic R. S. Crane as my prime example, and also the marginalization of Swedish philosophy of history in the early 20th century. These studies tie in with my general interest in historical theory. This is further developed in novel projects that concern temporal collisions and synchronization in the context of political reforms in the history of universities.


Selection of publications

Recent publications

All publications





Hampus Östh Gustafsson