When Does the Genius do the Chores? Knowledge, Auto/Biography and Gender

Introduction: Knowledge Making, Everyday Life, and Gendered Scientific/Scholarly Personae





knowledge, everyday life, scientific and scholarly persona, gender


Building on the growing literature on academic households and creative couples, this special issue aims to contribute to these discussions by taking a closer look at the connection between knowledge production, everyday life, and scientific and scholarly personae. This introductory article explains the concept of persona as a mediating link between individual biographies and social institutions and contextualizes the issue of academic and non-academic support for scientists and scholars. The chapter also introduces the five articles in the special issue that examine and discuss the lives and collaborative work of creative individuals from the late 19th to the late 20th century.

Author Biographies

Johanna Gehmacher, University of Vienna

Prof. Johanna Gehmacher teaches history at the Institute for Contemporary History at the University of Vienna. During the academic year 2018/19 she was Gerda Henkel Guest Professor at the Department for International History at the London School of Economics. In winter 2021/22, she was a Fernand Braudel Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. She has published widely in the fields of gender history and contemporary history as well as on biographical methods. Among her recent publications is a comprehensive biography of Käthe Schirmacher published together with Elisa Heinrich and Corinna Oesch. (http://www.boehlau-verlag.com/download/164990/978-3-205-20721-4_OpenAccess.pdf)

Kirsti Niskanen, Stockholm University

Kirsti Niskanen is Professor Emeritus of History in the Department of History at Stockholm University, Sweden, and principal investigator of the Scientific Personae in Cultural Encounters project. Her current research interests fall in the broad area of history of science and university history, in a feminist perspective. She is editor of the volume Gender, Embodiment, and the History of the Scholarly Persona. Incarnations and Contestations (Palgrave-McMillan 2021).

Katharina Prager, Wienbibliothek im Rathaus

DDr. Katharina Prager, historian and cultural scientist, heads the department for research and participation at the Wienbibliothek im Rathaus. Between 2012 and 2020 she worked as a researcher at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for the History and Theory of Biography and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute Digital History. She has published widely on life writing (with a focus on gender and digitization), on Vienna 1900 and on exile history. Among her recent publications is a comprehensive biography of Berthold Viertel.





When Does the Genius do the Chores? Knowledge, Auto/Biography and Gender