Helena Franzén

PhD student at Department of History of Science and Ideas

+4618-471 3583
Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3P

Postal address:
Box 629
751 26 UPPSALA

Short presentation

I am a doctoral student at the department since February 2016 and my research is mainly situated within the field of History of Medicine.

The working title of my thesis is "Bodies in Transformation: Obstetrical and Embryological Collections at Uppsala University"
These collections and their contents of preserved pelves, fetuses and embryos, along with models, casts, and instruments have a long history as scientific objects at the Medical faculty, starting in the mid-eighteenth-century. Over time, items were added and destroyed, and their placement shifted depending on notions about their purpose. By the late-twentieth-century the collections had been re-imagined as historical objects and instead situated as a problematic heritage. In my dissertation I explore how and why the collections were assembled, used, and how their meaning changed over time by contextualising them within societal trends.
By examining the processes of knowledge production; mainly collecting, use of instruments, collection-management, preparing specimens, and specimen-imaging, I investigate the links between the collections and broader themes such as ideas about race, pathology/normality, and development. I aim to analyse and nuance how these collections were shaped by, and shaping, understandings of reproduction and its consequences in the 19th-century and early 20th-century Swedish medical community.
My research is part of Medicine at the Borders of Life

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Helena Franzén