Helena Franzén

helena_franzenFranzén is a doctoral student at the Department of History of Science and Ideas at Uppsala University. She has training in archaeology and she holds her previous degrees in that field. Her fields of interest include the history of medicine, medical anthropology and the material culture of medicine and science. She has a special interest in the practices, infrastructures and knowledge production of embryology and anatomy in the nineteenth century. In this project, Franzén will focus on the procedures of collecting specimens and the possible stakeholders involved in that process, specifically looking at the intersections between these spheres.



Bodies in transformation: Embryological/fetal specimens in Swedish museum collections and their social worlds

My line of research is the specimens of fetuses and embryos in the collection of the department of anatomy at Uppsala university. I am interested in under which circumstances the bodies were collected and how they were used for knowledge production in the medical sciences.

Publications and presentations:

The materiality of teratology”, paper presentation, History of medicine today and tomorrow, Karolinska institutet, Stockholm, Sweden, October 2, 2017.

• “From embryonic bodies to scientific objects”, paper presentation, Nordic Science and Technology Studies Conference, Göteborg, Sweden, 31 May–2 June, 2017.

• “Kroppar i transformation: Mänskliga embryon/foster i museisamlingar och deras sociala världar”, paper presentation at the workshop Medical Humanities at Uppsala University, Uppsala University, April 14, 2016.


• The coming of age of the public fetus: Exploring pregnant and fetal bodies in visual culture, an international workshop at Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, May 15-17, 2019, co-organized with Elisabet Björklund and Solveig Jülich. Read more

Valuations of life: Birth defects, prenatal diagnosis, and disability. An international workshop at Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, September 25–26, 2018, co-organized with Annika Berg and Maria Björkman. Read more

Extraordinary bodies in early modern nature and culture. An international workshop at Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden, October 26-27, 2017, co-organized with Maja Bondestam. Read more

Email: helena.franzen@idehist.uu.se