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.

• 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.

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

Mediating reproduction: Medicine, pregnancy and fetuses in Swedish film and television, 1960s–1980s. Project leader: Elisabet Björklund.

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

Regulating reproductive research: The emergence of ethical guidelines and committees. Project leader: Helena Tinnerholm Ljungberg.

Standardizing abnormality: How the abnormal became standardized. Project leader: Francis Lee.

• The Swedish abortion pill: Examining controversial research spaces and practices. PhD-project: Morag Ramsey.

• The trouble of sex: Political debates about prenatal diagnosis and sex-information in Sweden. Project leader: Helena Tinnerholm Ljungberg.

Visualizing the early stages of life: Images of generation and development in nineteenth-century comparative anatomy. Project leader: Eva Åhrén.