Technology and the Making of Europe

Fellows 2011

The Karen Johson Freeze Fellowships of 2011 have been awarded to Dora Vargha and Anna Kotomina, two promising early-career scholars in the history of technology.


Dora Vargha (Hungary) studies the transfer of Polio technologies in communist Hungary in the Fifties and early Sixties. She plans to use the Freeze Fellowship grant (Euro 2,000) to complete the remaining research for her dissertation Iron curtain, Iron Lungs: Governing Polio in Cold War Hungary 1952-1963. To fully explore the significance of iron lungs in the history of polio, and the way these devices shaped policies, medical hierarchies, and patient experiences, she will conduct additional interviews with iron lung patients and polio victims in Hungary. Furthermore, she will be collecting material in media archives in Budapest in order to round out the picture of the Cold War rhetoric applied in the public representation of cutting edge medical technology.


Anna Kotomina (Russia) received the grant to support her research project Pre-cinematic projection technology and the public sphere in Russian Imperia in 1863-1915. The topic of projection lanterns as a pre-cinematic technology is highly relevant. While many history of technology projects focus on the twentieth century, this particular late-nineteenth history of Czarist Russia promises to link the neglected nineteenth century history to the current history of the multimedia society. Kotomina, who works in Moscow at the State University for Human Sciences and at the Central State Museum of the Cinema, will use the fellowship for archival research in the Russian State Archives in St. Petersburg and Moscow.