Alison Frank

Alison Frank Johnson’s teaching and research focus on transnational approaches  to the history of central and eastern Europe. She teaches courses on  the global history of commodities and European environmental history as  well as courses on the Habsburg Empire and its successor states in the  nineteenth and twentieth centuries. 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. Her second book (now in progress), Invisible Empire: A New Global History of Austria, argues that the Habsburg Monarchy was an imperial power, if not a colonizing power. Austria-Hungary’s engagement with maritime commerce created welcome opportunities to solidify Austria-Hungary’s position as a great power — but also unforeseen challenges, as Austria became entangled in trafficking, smuggling, and the slave trade.  Additional  interests include the transformation of the Alpine environment,  religiosity and conversion, and late imperial Vienna. Frank Johnson offers  general exam fields in German-speaking Europe (modern), Eastern or  Central Europe (modern), and European Environmental History (modern and/or early modern).

Selected Publications

  • “The Children of the Desert and the Laws of the Sea: Austria, Great Britain, the Ottoman Empire, and the Mediterranean Slave Trade in the Nineteenth Century,” American Historical Review 117, no. 3 (June 2012), forthcoming
  • “The Air Cure Town: Commodifying Mountain Air in Alpine Central Europe,” Central European History 44, no. 2 (June 2012), forthcoming
  • "Continental and Maritime Empires in an Age of Global Commerce," East  European Politics and Societies 25, no. 4 (November 2011)  
  • “Environmental, Economic, and Moral Dimensions of Sustainability in the Petroleum Industry in Austrian Galicia,” Modern Intellectual History 8, no. 1 (April 2011)
  • "The Petroleum War of 1910: Standard Oil, Austria, and the Limits of the Multinational Corporation," American Historical Review 114, no. 1 (February 2009)
  • “The Pleasant and the Useful: Pilgrimage and Tourism in Habsburg Mariazell,” Austrian History Yearbook 40 (2009)
  • Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press (2005)
Alison Frank Johnson

Position: Professor of History

Field: Modern Europe; International

Modern Central European History, International History; European Environmental History

Fall 2013:
- History 1266: German Empires, 1848-1948
- History 2260: Central Europe: Seminar

Spring 2014:
History 79e: Commodities in International History

Contact Info

Center for European Studies

Room 404

27 Kirkland Street

Cambridge, MA 02138

617.495.4303 ext. 281


Office Hours: Wednesday 10:00-12:00