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Jan Jakub Surman

  • Jan Jakub Surman has been at HSE University since 2017.

Education and Degrees

  • 2012

    University of Vienna

  • 2007

    University of Vienna

  • 2006

    University of Vienna


Conference Participation

Conferences Organized (International):


- (with Alexander A. Dmitriev, Friedrich Cain and Dietlind Hüchtker), Soviet States and Beyond: Political Epistemologies of/and Marxism 1917-1945-1968, Moscow, 21.-22. June 2018

- (with Bernhard Kleeberg, Friedrich Cain and Dietlind Hüchtker), Political Epistemologies of Eastern Europe, Erfurt, 24./25. November 2017

- (with Rocío G. Sumillera, Katharina Kühn), Translation in Science, Science in Translation, Graduate Center for the Study of Culture, Gießen, 30./31 March 2017

- (with Victoria Harms) Refugees in Central and Eastern Europe, Herder-Institute Marburg, 8./9. December 2016

- (with Sarah Czerney) Do-it-Yourself! Subversive practices and informal knowledge, Herder-Institute Marburg, 19./20. November 2015

- Entangled Science? Relocating German-Polish Scientific Relations, Herder-Institute Marburg, 28.-30. Oktober 2015

- (with Peter Haslinger und Katalin Straner), Nomadic concepts: Biological concepts and their careers beyond biology. Marburg, Herder Institute, 18.-19. October 2012.

- (with Johannes Feichtinger, Miles MacLeod, Ekaterina Smirnova, Rocío G. Sumillera) Language as a Scientific Tool. Managing Language as a Variable of Practice and Presentation, Vienna, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 29.-30. November 2010.

- (with Bernhard Bolech, Johannes Feichtinger, Franz Leander Fillafer) Positivismus.Macht.Aufklärung. Politicization of the scientific worldview. Vienna, Austrian Academy of Sciences, 18-19 September 2009.


Conferences Organized (Regional):


- (with Fabian Link, event initiated by Jan Surman and Fabian Link and directed at PhD students and early Postdocs of Hessen), Studientag: Übersetzung und Wissenschaftlicher Wandel (I-III), 31. May 2013, 3. April 2014 (with Laura Meneghello), 22. January 2016.

Beginning with January 2017 event, “Studientage” will be a yearly recurring event, organized as a joint endeavour of Herder-Institute Marburg, Graduate Center for the Study of Culture, Gießen, and Forschungszentrum Historische Geisteswissenschaften at the Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt am Main. Jan Surman and Fabian Link will remain in the organisational board.


(Selected) Presentations:

April 2014

- Managing language for science in imperial contexts: The case of Polish Purism around 1900, Tagung Ideology in Grammar, 11.-12. April, Salzburg

February 2015

- Language in the Deliberations of Koło Naukoznawcze, A New Organon. Science Studies in Poland between the Wars, 20.-21. Februar, Universität Konstanz

May 2015

- Searching for a tongue for science: Case of Czech, Seminar Kabinet dějin vědy, Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR / Center for History of Science and Humanities, Institute of Contemporary History of Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, 21. Mai, Prag, Kabinet dějin vědy, Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR.

- Networks of Modernity in the Early Interwar Period, Mimouniverzitní vědecké instituce v letech 1890–2015 / Non-University Institutions in Science and Humanities, 1890-2015,28.-29. Mai, Praha.

February 2016

- Ruthenian, Ukrainian, Russian: (Re)writing Ukrainian Scientific Language in the Long 1920s, Naming the Nation: Practices of Naming in Between the Conflicting Spheres of Politics, Society and Science, Collegium Carolinum, 4.5. Februar, München

Mai 2016

- Linguisten schreiben Chemie: Debatten um Chemische Terminologie und Anfänge der Interdisziplinarität um 1900, LIII. Jahrestagung der Gesellschaft für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Wissenschaft schreiben, 5.-7. Mai, Düsseldorf.

September 2016

- Habsburg Postcolonial? Postcolonial Perspectives on Entangled Spaces, Relocating Central Europe in Early Modern and Modern Communication Networks, Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub, 21-23. September, Wrocław.

- Positivism, Psychology, Occultism: Julian Ochorowicz and his quest for scientification of the spiritualism, 7th International Conference of the European Society for the History of Science “Science and power, science as power”, 22.-24. September, Prague.

- Universitäten in Zentraleuropäischen Imperien: Versuch eines Vergleichs, Festsymposium an der Universität Wien anlässlich der Emeritierung von o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mitchell G. Ash „Wissenschaft, Politik und Kultur im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert“, 27. September, Universität Wien.

November 2016

- Linguists Writing Chemistry: Debates about Chemical Terminology and the Beginning of Interdisciplinarity around 1900, History of Science Society Annual Meeting, 3–6 November, Atlanta, Georgia.

Juli 2017

Esperanto en Scienco kaj Tekniko: Central European Visions of Esperanto as Language of International Scientific Communication in the early 20th Century, 25th International Congress of History of Science and Technology, 23-29 July, Rio de Janeiro.

Oktober 2017

Ukrainian Science 1914-1939: Age of Revolutions?, Academic Revolutions?” Understanding conceptual renewal and institutional innovation in the Modern World, Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities — National Research University “Higher School of Economics”, Moskau 12.-13. Oktober 2017

November 2017

Do Professors walk? Academic commuting and urban development in the Habsburg Metropolis 1848-1918, Wissenschaft und Metropole. Räume und Konstellationen wissenschaftlichen Wissens 1848-1918, Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Kommission Geschichte und Philosophie der Wissenschaften, 15.-17. November 2017

Dezember 2017

Between Nation, Bloc and Scientific Community: Translation Policies in the Soviet Bloc, Genealogies of Knowledge I: Translating Political and Scientific Thought across Time and Space, The University of Manchester, 7.-9. Dezember 2017

September 2018

Volodymyr Yurynec’s Philosophy and Aesthetics, European Society for the History of Science

Biennial Conference 2018, London, 14-17 September 2018

Employment history

At HSE from 2017

  • Junior Research Fellow, Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften, Vienna (October 2017-February 2018)
  • Fellow, Max Weber Kolleg, Erfurt (April-September 2017)
  • Visiting Researcher, The Program in History of Science at Princeton University (March 2015)
  • Postdoctoral researcher, Herder-Institute for Historical Research on East Central Europe –Institute of the Leibniz Association, Marburg, 2014-2017
  • Research Fellow, German Historical Institute, Warsaw (January 2014-March 2014)
  • Leibniz-DAAD Research Fellow, Herder-Institute Marburg (October 2012-October 2013)
  • Post-Doc Fellow, Leibniz Graduate School for Cultures of Knowledge in Central European Transnational Contexts (April-Mai 2012)
  • Visiting Scholar, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Department I (March 2011 – August 2011)
  • Visiting Scholar, Instytut Historii Nauki Polskiej Akademii Nauk (Institute for History of Science of Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw) (October 2010 – February 2011)
  • CAS/BMWF Research Fellow, Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota (01.10.2009-31.07.2010)
  • MOEL Scholarship (Österreichische Forschungsgemeinschaft) 01.02.2008-30.06.2008
  • Research Assistant, Initiativkolleg “Sciences in historical contexts,” Vienna University, 2007-2010
  • Erasmus Scholarship (Paris IV, Sorbonne) – 01.07.2006-28.02.2007

Membership in Journal Redactions


Prace Komisji Historii Nauki PAU / Studia Historiae Scientiarum (since 2015)

Nauka Polska: Jej potrzeby, organizacja i rozwój (since 2016)

Dějiny věd a techniky (since 2017)

Práce z Dějin Akademie Věd (since 2018)




International: European Review of History / revue européenne d’histoire; East/West Journal

Poland: Acta Polonia Historica; Historyka. Studia Metodologiczne; Kwartalnik Historyczny; Stan Rzeczy; Studia Historyczne; Stan Rzeczy

Czechia: Acta Universitatis Carolinae: Historia Universitatis Carolinae Pragensis ; Dějiny věd a techniky

Hungary: Hungarian Historical Review

What Does the Lens of Gender Reveal?

In June, faculty members from HSE’s School of Cultural Studies, the School of Philosophy, and the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities met with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh (USA) and a Russian art historian to participate in a round table on the importance of gender studies in the humanities. The researchers discussed questions such as what historians, philosophers, and historians can achieve when approaching their fields of study from the standpoint of gender studies, and what the state of gender studies is in contemporary Russia and abroad.

Where Is the Truth in Post-Truth Time?

On June 3-4, a conference entitled ‘Beyond Post-Truth: Media Landscapes in the “Age of Insecurity”’ was held in St. Petersburg. The conference was jointly organized by the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities (IGITI) at HSE University, the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe at GWZO Leipzig, the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, and Justus Liebig University Giessen.

Asking Questions Together with Students

International faculty at HSE are involved not only in research and teaching, but some also combine it with active participation in the city’s public discussion spaces. The HSE Look took an interview with Jan Surman, Research Fellow at Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities (IGITI), about his research and Cultures of Critique project.

Monograph by Jan Surman is now out

A book by IGITI Research Fellow Jan Surman, "Universities in Imperial Austria 1848–1918: A Social History of a Multilingual Space", was published by Purdue University Press. See the description and preview.

Jan Surman has participated in academic events in Frankfurt and Budapest

IGITI Research Fellow Jan Surman took part in a conference “Problems of Scientific Freedom in Modern and Contemporary History” in Frankfurt (November 2-3), “Academic Freedom in Historical Perspective – Anniversary Conference of the European Review of History” in Budapest (8-10 November), and a series of public lectures on recent research in Habsburg history at CEU, Budapest.  

An article by Jan Surman was published in the History of Science journal

Article "Science and Terminology in-between Empires: Ukrainian Science in a Search for its Language in the nineteenth century", written by IGITI Research Fellow Jan Surman, is available online in the History of Science journal.

International Scholars to Discuss Political Epistemologies and Marxism

On June 21-22, the HSE Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities will host a conference on ‘Soviet States and Beyond: Political Epistemologies of/and Marxism 1917-1945-1968’. The event is the second in a series of three conferences organized by an international group of scholars, including Friedrich Cain of the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, Alexander Dmitriev at the HSE Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities, Dietlind Hüchtker of the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO) in Leipzig, and Jan Surman, Research Fellow at the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities.

Welcome Aboard: Post-Doc Introductions

Every year, HSE hires post-doctoral researchers from all over the world. And in 2017-18, more than 30 of them started work at laboratories and research centres in a large range of fields and specializations. The HSE Lookis pleased to introduce this year’s international researchers, so that you can learn more about your colleagues and find out about opportunities for potential collaboration.