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Biosketch: Associate Professor Johan Kärnfelt

Johan Kärnfelt (b. 1963) is Associate Professor (docent) in History of Ideas and Learning and presently working at the Department of Literature, History of Ideas and Religion, Gothenburg University.

Kärnfelt's research has been done at the cross section between on the one hand the History of Science tradition, especially History of Astronomy, and on the other Science Communication Studies and Public Understanding of Science. His focus has been mainly on the 19th and 20th centuries and on Swedish material. He has done a number of major studies in this area, most recently on the public appropriation of astronomy.

Current research activities

Kärnfelt is, together with Gustav Holmberg, Lund University, currently working on a research project on the history of Swedish amateur astronomy (funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond). The main aim of the project is to study how the introduction of different information technologies has changed the circulatory practices within the amateur community and at the same time reformulated the relation between professional astronomers, amateurs and the general public. The project started January 2012 and will run for three years. A project blog (in Swedish) can be found here: www.amatorastronomi.wordpress.com.

Kärnfelt is also engaged at the Center for History of Science, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, to coordinate a larger research programme within the history of science. The five year programme is funded by Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg foundation, and was launched in January 2013. The programme, that engage a large number of Swedish scholars, aims at consolidating and to help develop the professional community of Swedish historians of science. The research project involved concerns the history of Swedish science in the modern era (the 18th to 20th centuries) and focuses on the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Recent publications

  • Johan Kärnfelt, "Follow the Information: Comets, Communicative Practices and Swedish Amateur Astronomers in the Twentieth Century", Journal of Astronomical History and Heritage, vol. 18:2, 161-176, 2015
  • "Knut Lundmark, meteors and early Swedish crowdsourcing experiment”, Annals of science, published online 2013.
  • "I stjärnans skugga" [In the shadow of the star], Lychnos, 2009.
  • "The popularisation of astronomy in early twentieth-century Sweden: Aims and motives", i Faidra Papanelopoulou, Agustí Nieto-Galan and Enrique Perdiguero (red.) Popularising Science and Technology in the European Periphery, 1800–2000, Ashgate, 2009.
  • Allt mellan himmel och jord: Knut Lundmark, astronomin och den publika kunskapsbildningen [Everything under the sun: Knut Lundmark, astronomy and the public appropriation of science], Nordic Academic Press, Lund, 2009.
  • Till stjärnorna: Studier av populärastronomins vetenskapshistoria under tidigt svenskt 1900-tal [To the stars: Studies in the history of popular astronomy in early 20th century Sweden], Folkuniversitetets akademiska press, Göteborg, 2004.
  • Mellan nytta och nöje: Ett bidrag till populärvetenskapens historia i Sverige [Between utility and delight: A contribution to the history of Swedish popular science], doktors¬avhandling, Symposion, Eslöv, 2000.


Photo of Johan Kärnfelt

Johan Kärnfelt

Assoc. Professor

Page Manager: Elin Johansson|Last update: 9/10/2015

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