Projects

The program’s research is organized in a series of subprojects that explore various episodes of the production, uses, meanings and circulation of fetal matter in Sweden from the seventeenth century to the 1970s. The long-term perspective is crucial to investigate cultural continuities and discontinuities as well as material connections between pre-modern and modern views of fetal life. In addition, the research team does more focused work on the post-war era, when scientific inquiry of fetuses expanded and became ethically questioned. At a particular historical juncture, fetal research brought the complex issues about pregnancy, abortion, birth defects, and disabilities to the forefront of the Swedish medical, political, religious and media cultures, as well as to the public attention. These subprojects are the following:

• Bodies in transformation: Embryological/fetal specimens in Swedish museum collections and their social worlds. PhD-project: Helena Franzén.

• Embryological spaces: The collections of the Tornblad Institute of Comparative Embryology at Lund University. Project leader: Solveig Jülich, in collaboration with Malin E Nilsson.

• Exposing the fetus: The thalidomide scandal and its effects. Project leader: Maria Björkman.

• A moral guide, an offence or absolutely central? Extraordinary births and their value in Swedish medicine, 1660–1830. Project leader: Maja Bondestam.

• Fetal development and evolution: Expanding boundaries of science in early nineteenth century medicine. Project leader: Eva Åhrén.

• The rise and fall of the fetoplacental empire: Reproductive research in post-war Sweden. Project leader: Solveig Jülich.

• Fetuses as instruments of health: The uses and exchanges of fetal tissues for vaccine research in postwar Sweden. Project leader: Isabelle Dussauge.

• From the personal to the global: Swedish population policy in the post-war period. PhD-project: Morag Ramsey.

• Images of life and death: The Lennart Nilsson industry, ca 1940–2010. Project leader: Solveig Jülich.

• Negotiating normality: A comparative study of ethical debates on prenatal diagnostics. Project leader: Annika Berg.

• Audiovisual representations of pregnancy and fetuses during the Swedish post-war era. Project leader: Elisabet Björklund.

• Valuing research animals: Primates and fetuses in reproductive research. Project leader: Francis Lee.