Karin Johannisson

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Karin Johannisson
Karin Johannisson in 2008
Karin Johannisson in 2008
Born(1944-10-11)11 October 1944
Gothenburg, Sweden
Died23 November 2016(2016-11-23) (aged 72)
Uppsala, Sweden
OccupationProfessor, Idea historian, Author

Karin Johannisson (11 October 1944 – November 2016) was a Swedish idea historian who was Professor of the History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University.[1] She was a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Early life[edit]

Karin Johannisson was born in Gothenburg on 11 October 1944. Her mother Lore Johannisson, née Schmidt, was a German medical student who had met and married the Swedish lecturer Tore Johannisson when he worked at the University of Marburg. The couple had three children; Karin was the youngest. They moved to Lund in 1939, and then to Gothenburg when Tore Johannisson was appointed Professor of Scandinavian languages at the University of Gothenburg.[2]


Johannisson's research focused on the history of medicine from a societal perspective. Her doctoral dissertation from 1974, Magnetisörernas tid, dealt with the 18th and 19th century phenomenon called animal magnetism. She was appointed Professor of History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University in 1996, and held the chair until her retirement in 2011.[1]

She was also an author of popular scientific books, with 15 published titles, four of which were shortlisted for the August Prize.[3]

In 2004, she received an honorary doctorate in medicine at Uppsala University.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Johannisson was married twice, first to the literary scholar Stefan Mählqvist, with whom she had two sons. Her second marriage was to the mathematician Allan Gut.[3]

Johannisson died from brain cancer in November 2016.[3][5]


  1. ^ a b "Karin Johannisson", biographical entry in Nationalencyklopedin
  2. ^ Johannesson, Lena (25 September 2012). "Lore Johannisson (obituary)" (PDF). Göteborgs-Posten.
  3. ^ a b c "Författaren Karin Johannisson har gått bort". Dagens Nyheter. 23 November 2016.
  4. ^ "Nya hedersdoktorer i medicin och farmaci". Uppsala University. 29 September 2004. Archived from the original on 4 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2016.
  5. ^ "Författaren och professorn Karin Johannisson död". Svenska Dagbladet. 23 November 2016.

Further reading[edit]