Hampus Östh Gustafsson

PhD student at Department of History of Science and Ideas

Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3P

Postal address:
Box 629
751 26 UPPSALA

Short presentation

Doctoral student at the Department of History of Science and Ideas since 2015. In my thesis project I focus on the democratic legitimacy of the humanities during the 20th century.

Visiting doctoral student at the Faculty of English, University of Oxford in 2017.

Also available at

My courses


This paragraph is not available in English, therefore the Swedish version is shown.

Gästdoktorand vid Faculty of English, University of Oxford ( VT 2017).

Masterexamen i idé- och lärdomshistoria, Uppsala universitet (2014). Även examina inom historia och litteraturvetenskap.

Utbytesstudier vid University of Manchester (VT 2011).


In my dissertation I examine how the humanities have been legitimated in the context of the democratic Swedish society during the 20th century. The discourse on the ‘crisis of the humanities’ has gained much attention recently, but debates on this issue have tended to suffer from a lack of nuances. A particularly highlighted argument in defense of the humanities that has gained widespread attention focuses on their roll in educating autonomous and democratically competent citizens. In this sense, one can get the impression that there is some sort of self-evident historic or almost ‘natural’ connection between the humanities and democracy. Considering how these two concepts have been related to each other throughout a longer period of time, however, the picture gets much more complex. Thus, I want to historicize the relationship between the humanities and democracy and thereby bring more nuances to the intense debates on the status and social legitimacy of the humanities. Comparative studies on the humanities have emerged as an important international field of research in recent years. By avoiding a limited focus on individual humanistic disciplines, my thesis will deepen our understanding of how the humanities have functioned as a general concept in debates on the role of knowledge in society.


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