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Dr Hanna Hodacs

Hanna Hodacs  

Dr Hanna Hodacs

Room: H015
Phone: 024 76150072

Office hours:

Term 1:
Term 2: Wed 12-1

Academic profile

  • Research Fellow, Centre for the History of Science, at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences,
    Stockholm (2011-2014)
  • Research Fellow, Centre for Global History, History Department, Warwick University (2010-2014).
  • Visiting Lecturer, Dept. of History, University of Birmingham; Dept. of Scandinavian Studies,
    University College London; Dept. of History, University of Uppsala (2005-2010).
  • Research Fellow, Dept. of History, University of Uppsala (2003-2005).
  • PhD, Dept. of History, University of Uppsala 2003.

Awards & Grants

  • Research grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) for the project
    "Social Mobility and the Mobility of Science – Swedish naturalists in London 1760-1810" (2011-2014).
  • Grant from Nordenskjöldska Swedenborgsfonden, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences 2009.
  • University of Uppsala’s Geijer prize 2005, prize for outstanding PhD thesis in History
    (given every three years).
  • Research grant from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet) for the project “Teaching and
    Learning in the Name of Science – a Study of Carolus Linnaeus and His Students” (2002−2005).
  • Grants from Birgit and Gad Rausing's Foundation 2008, Gunvor and Josef Anér's Foundation 2008,
    Helge Ax:son Johnson's Foundation 2007, Lars Hierta's Foundation 2004, Vin & Sprithistoriska Museet,
    STINT Scholarship 2001.


Modules Taught

The World of Consumption, 1600-1800 (HI272)

Consumption and Culture in the Eighteenth-Century (HI916), Part of the MA in 18th century Studies

The Enlightenment



  • Converging World View – the European Expansion and Early-Nineteenth-Century Anglo Swedish Contacts. Studia Historica Upsaliensia 207, Uppsala, 2003, pp. 250
    (Contact me if you have problems getting hold of this work).

Mellom pasjon og profesjonalisme
Naturalhistoria på resande fot

Articles & Chapters in books

  • “Scandinavian Chartered Companies.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Atlantic History. Ed. Trevor Burnard. New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming.


  • Att utbilda en älskare – naturalhistorisk utbildning i 1770-talets Sverige” [“To Educate a Lover – on Teaching Natural History in Sweden in the 1770s”] in Marie-Theres Federhofer & Hanna Hodacs (ed.) Mellom pasjon og profesjonalisme: dilettantkulturer i skandinavisk kunst og vitenskap, Tapir Academic Press, Trondheim 2011, pp. 61-90.




Converging World Views


  • “Bland skräckslagna naturalhistoriker och oskuldsfulla bönder. Brittiska resenärer i Sverige under 1800-talets första hälft”, [Among Scared Naturalists and Innocent Farmers. British Travellers in Sweden in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century], in Hanna Hodacs & Åsa Karlsson (ed.) Från Karakorum till Siljan – Resor under sju sekler, Historiska Media, Lund, 2000, pp. 226–256.

 Fr[an Karakorum till SIljan

Research Interests

East India trade

In my work on the project Trading Eurasia - Europe's Asian Centuries I focus mainly on the Scandinavian East India Companies in the 18th century, the Swedish East India Company (Svenska ostindiska kompaniet) and the Danish East India Company (Asiatiska Kompagni) and their trade with China. One characteristic of the Scandinavian trade was the absence of strong domestic markets. There were little demand for exotic goods from the East in the poor hinterlands of Gothenburg and Copenhagen. Instead most of the goods imported by the Scandinavian companies was re-exported (between 70% and 90%). This circumstance forms the starting point for my work, which is that a study of the Scandinavian companies is particularly well suited to illuminate the pan-European market for East Indian goods and the role of Gothenburg and Copenhagen as peripheral emporiums supplying a wide range of markets.

So far in my work I have focused on silk and tea. Drawing on sales catalogues produced by the Swedish company I am exploring the shifting range of colours of silk material on sale in Gothenburg in the 1730, 40s and 50. The variety and nomenclature of colours offers an opportunity to research how the trade change over time and the development of new ranges of colours. Another aspekt I am pursuing concerns tea and qualities of tea. Large quantities of tea consumed in Britain was originally brought to Europe by the Scandinavian companies. Sold in Copenhagen and Gothenburg the tea was forwarded to wholesalers in e.g. Rotterdam, from where it was smuggled into Britain. Following the correspondence between supercargoes and wholesalers I am exploring the systems for establishing qualities and assortments of tea and how it evolved.

silk for sale

Natural history

Social Mobility and the Mobility of Science – Swedish naturalists in London 1760-1810

Late 18th century London offered many opportunities to study European and colonial natural history, something that explains the flow of Swedish naturalists visiting the metropolis between 1760 and 1810. Educated by Linnaeus in Uppsala, the visitors were experts in the new Linnaean natural history with its bold new nomenclature, concise taxonomic principles and accessible or popular character. In this respect they had valuable skills and knowledge to offer their British hosts; several of them also gained positions in the natural history collections and libraries of London. To others London became their first stop on a longer journey to one of the many outposts of the British Empire.

Their ambition and education apart, many of the Uppsala naturalists struggled. Low pay, menial work, particularly cataloguing books and specimen arriving in ever increasing number to London, it was hard for the Swedes to sustain romantic ideas of their own genius, never mind setting up their own scientific household and gain a social status comparable to those of the leading British naturalists. Experiences from exotic field studies were also hard to convert to a career in a context where the travellers (at least in the eyes of the British audience) were strangers.

The career paths of the Swedish naturalists and their journeys between Uppsala and London do illustrate the difficulties associated with transnational careers in natural history at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century; a period marked by the coming to the end of the Republic of Letter and (just about) the arrival of the Big Science in national contexts. One ambition with my study of the movement of naturalists between Uppsala and London is to analyse the social roles and identities the shift in scientific communication forms promoted. This is a process of which we know very little. It is also about linking local, national and global processes which we tend to discuss separately; e.g. the expansion of British influences worldwide created a need for persons with knowledge of Linnaean natural history while at the same time the requests for such knowledge (due to political changes) declined in Sweden.

On a very broad level I will also discuss the relation between local and universal in the history of science. Those interested in what make science knowledge travel and universally accepted in the early modern period has primarily focused on issues to do with data collections, exchange of specimen, letters, books and instruments, analysed against the backdrop of networks, and relationships between centres and peripheries. In my study it is the anticipated career prospects of the agents that will take centre stage something which is a largely un-explored area. In this respect the project is about the relation between social mobility and the mobility of science.

I have secured funding for this project from the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet); I will work part time on the project between 2011 and 2014 at the Centre for History of Science, Royal Swedish Academy of Science (while also working part time as a research fellow on the project Europe's Asian Centuries: Trading Eurasia 1600-1830, at the Centre for Global History,

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