Alison Frank Johnson

Alison Frank Johnson

Professor of History and of Germanic Languages and Literatures
Department Chair
Alison Frank Johnson

Alison Frank Johnson received degrees in German and Russian at Williams College (B.A.) and in History at Harvard University (A.M. and Ph.D.). She also has studied at the Karl Franzens Universität Graz (Austria) and the Jagiellonian University in Kraków (Poland). She was assistant professor of History (German-speaking Europe and the Habsburg Empire) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before joining the History Department at Harvard University in 2005. She became a member of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures in 2017. She has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright Commission, and the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen (Vienna, Austria) and was Fellow of the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (Vienna, Austria) in 2003-2004. She serves on a Scientific Advisory Board for the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

She regularly teaches courses on the history of German-speaking Europe from the 1740s to the present, turn-of-the-century Vienna, the death penalty and its abolition, and commodities in international history. She has published articles on dueling; the Mediterranean slave trade; the role of multinational corporations in international diplomacy; Alpine spa towns; pilgrimage; and Austria-Hungary’s role as a maritime power, among other topics. She is currently working on two projects: a history of capital punishment in the Habsburg Monarchy and the Republic of Austria and a history of Austria-Hungary’s experiments with global commerce in the long nineteenth century. Her first book, Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia (2005), was awarded the Barbara Jelavich 2006 book prize, the Austrian Cultural Forum 2006 Book Prize, and the Polish Studies Association 2006 Orbis Book Prize.

Alison Frank Johnson’s proudest professional accomplishments are her three teaching prizes: the Everett Mendelsohn Excellence in Mentoring Award (2019), the Phi Beta Kappa Teaching Prize (2017), and the Roslyn Abramson Award (2007).

Contact Information

Barker Center 345 and
Center for European Studies 404
p: (617) 496-2443 and (617) 495-4329
Office Hours: Wednesday afternoons by appointment