Emma Hagström Molin
Emma Hagström Molin is a postdoctoral researcher associated with the chair for the history of science at the Humboldt University in Berlin, and the department for history of science and ideas at Uppsala University, Sweden. Her main research interests concern archive practices, history of collections and collecting, and theories of materiality.
Keywords: history of ideas and science collections spoils of war history of archive practices history of humanities material turn 19th-century historiography
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Emma Hagström Molin is a visiting postdoctoral researcher at the chair for the history of science at Humboldt University in Berlin. She holds one of the international postdoctoral fellowships of the Swedish Research Council, and is associated with the department for history of science and ideas at Uppsala University, Sweden. She earned her PhD in history of ideas, and was a part of the multidisciplinary research school for studies in cultural history at Stockholm University during her PhD-candidature. During the spring of 2016, she was a visiting postdoctoral fellow in Department II at the Max Planck Institut for the history of science in Berlin, and she was awarded the biannual postdoctoral scholarship of the Fondazione famiglia Rausing for the academic year of 2016–2017, in order to conduct research in Italy.
Hagström Molin’s dissertation and first book is entitled Krigsbytets biografi. Om byten i Riksarkivet, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek och Skokloster slott under 1600-talet (Makadam 2015), in which she analyses cases of cultural looting – mainly spoils of archive documents and books – brought to the Swedish kingdom during the seventeenth century. Her current project is entitled “Materialising Historical Knowledge. Historical Objects and Beda Dudík’s Research Practises in Sweden, Italy, and the Austrian Empire 1851–1870”, in which she explores the material conditions for historical research during the nineteenth century through the lens of Moravian historian and Benedictine priest Beda Dudík’s transnational and object-oriented research.
Hagström Molin has taught and developed several courses in history of ideas at Stockholm University and Södertörn University, from general courses dealing with the history of ideas of the antiquity and middle ages, the twentieth century, as well as advanced courses on bachelor and master level dealing with the material turn and the concept of materiality, together with the concept of culture and culture theory.
Research interests: material turn, spoils of war and cultural looting, history of archives, libraries, and museums, history of nineteenth-century historiography/humanities, archive practices, cultural history and theory.
Materialising Historical Knowledge. Historical Objects and Beda Dudík’s Research Practises in Sweden, Italy, and the Austrian Empire 1851–1878 (working title)
It can be argued, that the historian is not dependent on written sources in his or her work, but rather on material objects that in most cases contain texts. This project then, explores the profound importance of historical objects in the shaping of nineteenth-century historical knowledge by investigating different kinds of transnational research practices in the period when historiography was professionalised and cultural heritage collections were nationalised in Europe. How did research practices and material conditions affect notions of a deeper past, which made such a profound impact on nineteenth-century culture? The problem is examined through analysing the doings of one emblematic actor – the Moravian historian and Benedictine priest Beda Dudík – in Sweden, Italy, and the Austrian empire 1851–1878.
Through three case studies of Dudík’s work, the fundamental importance of locating, organising, and mobilising historical objects will be investigated. The first case, Localisation: Discovering the history of Moravia in Stockholm and Rome 1851–1853, analyses Dudík’s localisation of Moravian history in dislocated objects by focusing on his transnational search for seventeenth-century spoils of war. The second case, Organisation: Handling the past of the Teutonic Order 1853–1865, explores Dudík’s organisation of diverse historical collections belonging to this order in Vienna. The third study, Mobilisation: Removing history during the Austro-Prussian war 1866 investigates Dudík’s abduction of archive documents and manuscripts from the Archivio di Stato and the Biblioteca Marciana in Venice during the Austro-Prussian war on the Italic peninsula in 1866.
By focusing on research practises such as locating, examining, classifying, organising, and mobilising historical objects, all three cases illuminate how nineteenth-century historical knowledge was materially conditioned. Dudík’s research underlines that national historical scholarship was dependant on transnational research, and visiting scholars had to interact with foreign institutions and officials simultaneously as the research practises of the historian sometimes jeopardised the epistemic-institutional interpretation of the objects examined. Ultimately, Dudík’s research illuminates how dependant historians of the nineteenth-century were on material collections, and how vulnerable a small region like Moravia was without any precious objects to underpin its history on, revealing that it was not possible to think or to do history without its objects.
Importantly, the project applies analytical concepts developed within the last decade’s material turn, meaning that historical objects will be considered to be context-dependent and affective simultaneously, as well as fluid, elusive, and instable in order to capture some of the ways in which the material affected the making of historical knowledge. Doing so, the project wishes to offer novel theoretical takes on the history of historiography and contribute to the emerging field of the history of humanities.
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