Björn Wittrock

Permanent Fellow, Founding Director and Former Principal (1996 - 2018), SCAS.
University Professor, Uppsala University

Björn Wittrock was one of three founding Directors of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study
in 1985 and became the Principal of the Collegium in 1996. He became University Professor at Upp-
sala University in 1999. Prior to that he had been Professor of Political Science at Stockholm Univer-
sity since 1986 and holder of the Lars Hierta Chair of Government at the same university since 1994.

He is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and of the European Academy/Academia
Europaea as well as an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
In the European Academy he serves on the editorial board of its journal, The European Review. In 2017
he became Chair of one of the four classes of the Academy, namely the Class of Social Sciences.

Björn Wittrock has written widely on the transformation of human societies in history but also on the
history and sociology of the social and human sciences and of universities. He has contributed to the
sociology of modernity and global history, including the Cambridge World History. He has published five
monographs and fourteen edited books. The latter include Nordic Paths to Modernity (with J. P. Arnason,
Berghahn Books, 2012 and 2014); Frontiers of Sociology (with P. Hedström, Brill, 2009); Eurasian Trans-
formations, Tenth to Thirteenth Centuries
(with J. P. Arnason, Brill, 2004 and 2011); Axial Civilizations
and World History
(with J. P. Arnason and S. N. Eisenstadt, Brill, 2005); Public Spheres and Collective
Identities
(with S. N. Eisenstadt and W. Schluchter, Transaction, 2001); The Rise of the Social Sciences
and the Formation of Modernity: Conceptual Change in Context, 1750–1850
(with J. Heilbron and L.
Magnusson, Kluwer, 1998 and 2001). Earlier books include The European and American University since
1800
(with S. Rothblatt, Cambridge University Press, 1993 and 2006); and Social Sciences and Modern
States
(with P. Wagner et al., Cambridge University Press, 1991 and 2008).

Wittrock has been a panel member at the European Research Council and Deputy Chair of the SH2 Panel for
Consolidators. In 2014 he became one of the five members of the committee for the Holberg Prize. In 2015
he was a member of the committee for the Max-Planck-Forschungspreis (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and
Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung). He is Chair of the Academic Advisory Board of Lichtenberg-Kolleg (Georg-
August-Universität Göttingen), a member of the Board of Directors of Institut d’études avancées de Paris,
and a member of the Steering Committee of the International Panel on Social Progress (IPSP).

Björn Wittrock has held visiting positions at the University of California, Berkeley; Wissenschaftszentrum
Berlin; Collegium Budapest; the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University;
the University of California, Los Angeles; the National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, NC; the
Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Wassenaar; and Institut
für Höhere Studien, Vienna. He has been serving on the Academic Advisory Boards of many institutions,
including the following ones: Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Collegium Budapest, Zentrum für inter-
disziplinäre Forschung (Universität Bielefeld), Max-Weber-Kolleg (Universität Erfurt), European University
Institute (Florence), Réseau français des instituts d’études avancées, School of History/Freiburg Institute
for Advanced Studies (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg), Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies (Uni-
versity of Helsinki), and Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies (University of British Columbia, Vancouver).
His professional service includes membership in panels for the Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, Max-
Planck-Gesellschaft, Volkswagen-Stiftung, International Social Science Council, Leibniz Gemeinschaft, Rocke-
feller Foundation, Economic and Social Research Council (UK), Wissenschaftsrat (Germany) and others. He
has been a member of the Science Advisory Board of the Government of Sweden for two periods. Between
2005 and 2013, he was President of the International Institute of Sociology (founded in Paris in 1893).

In 2010, he received the Festschrift The Benefit of Broad Horizons: Intellectual and Institutional Preconditions
for a Global Social Science
(eds. H. Joas and B. Klein, Brill). The book Social Theory: Twenty Introductory
Lectures
(Cambridge University Press, 2009) by Hans Joas and Wolfgang Knöbl is dedicated to him. In 1999,
Björn Wittrock was awarded the Torgny Segerstedt Medal by Uppsala University. In 2003, he became honorary
doctor at the University of Tartu. In 2008, he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz,
1. Kl) by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, and in 2009 The King’s Medal for ‘significant
contributions to Swedish social science research’. In 2017 he was awarded The Elder Gustavus Adolphus Medal
in gold by Uppsala University for being the person “who as Principal of SCAS and its driving force ever since its
creation in 1986 has contributed more than anyone else to the strong position of the institute as an internationally
renowned institute for advanced study … and for having made great contributions to the social sciences and
the humanities in Sweden and in Europe”.


This information is accurate as of the academic year 2017-18.