Karl Hall

Director, One-Year MA Program
Associate Professor

Contact information

Vienna, Quellenstrasse 51
+43 1 25230-3194

Karl Hall joined the History Department in 2003, where he teaches courses on Central and East European history of science and intellectual history. Trained at Harvard University as a historian of science, he has written primarily about Soviet physics, including the canonical Short Course of Landau and Lifshitz. With Michael D. Gordin and Alexei Kojevnikov he edited Intelligentsia Science: The Russian Century, 1860-1960 (Osiris, vol. 23). His research interests include industrial laboratories and tacit knowledge; intellectual property and patenting in Central and Eastern Europe, leading to chapters in a new volume on Patent Cultures; post-1945 transformations of East European scientific institutions; Western scientists as anthropologists and critics of the Soviet experiment; the history of the race concept in imperial Russia; national cultural historiographies of science in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, and Russia (as well as Austria and Germany) before 1945. More recently he has reflected on the relation between science and Russian Orthodoxy. Boarding the digital humanities bandwagon, he is preparing a census of scientific mobility and disciplinary identity east of Paris in the century following the Vienna Congress. 


  • Visiting research fellow, Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin, 2006-2007.
  • Ragnar Holm Plaque for best dissertation in history of physics, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, 2004.
  • Postdoctoral fellow, Max Planck Institute for History of Science, Berlin, 1999-2000.
  • Dibner Institute Graduate Fellowship, 1995–1996.
  • Graduate Society Fellowship, Harvard University, Spring 1995.
  • Graduate fellowship, International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), Moscow, 1993–1994.
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship, 1990–1993.
  • Merle Fainsod Prize Fellowship, Russian Research Center, 1990.
  • U.S./U.S.S.R. Exchange Scholarship, Institute for International Education (New York City), 1989–1990.


Doctoral supervision

  • Julia Boechat Machado, "Rebellious readers: making sense of texts in Late Soviet Russia" (current)
  • Daniela Munteanu, "The Will of the Empire. How Russian Scientists Created a Healthy and Moral Russian Self" (current)
  • Tijana Rupčić, "Powering Connections: Transnational Electric Grids in the Balkans (1945-1991)" (current)

  • Anna Eva Grutza, "Imperial Laboratories of Governance in Disguise: Seeing Through the Grid of Cold War Information Analysis" (current)
  • Mátyás Erdélyi, "The Making of a Productivist Middle Class in the Habsburg Monarchy" --co-supervision with Susan Zimmermann (2019)
  • Anna Nakai, “Small Enterprises” of Underground Seminars: Intellectual Imperatives in Late Socialist Czechoslovakia and Poland (the 1970-1980s)" (on leave)
  • Dejan Lukić, "A Strong Class of Serious Scholars: The Power Dynamics of Knowledge Production in the Earth Sciences in Serbia, 1880-1914" (2019)
  • Katalin Stráner, "Science, translation and the public: the Hungarian reception of Darwinism, 1858-1875" (2013)


Harvard University - Ph.D., History of Science, June 1999
Moscow State University - Postgraduate exchange student, physics department, 1989–1990
Stanford University - B.S., Physics, 1989; B.A., History, with honors, 1989

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