Eva Åhren, Ph.d.

Eva ÅhrénEva Åhrén is a Research Fellow affiliated with NIAID (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases), studying the life and work of Joseph J. Kinyoun (1860-1919). In 1887 Kinyoun started the first Hygienic Laboratory in the US at the Marine Hospital Service station on Staten Island. This laboratory is now considered the starting point of what was later to become the National Institute of Health. Kinyoun’s work as bacteriologist, public health officer, inventor, and educator will be explored within the larger frameworks of (1) the emerging science and practice of microbiology in Europe and the Americas, and (2) the evolution of public health initiatives in the United States, on the local, state, and federal levels. 

Eva Åhrén is a Swedish historian whose previous research has mainly focused the history of anatomy in modern Europe. Most recently, she has studied the collections of specimens and models in the anatomy museum of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, 1810-1940: how specimens were used in the production and communication of knowledge, and how collection practices and displays changed over time in relation to the processes of specialization and professionalization within academic medicine. Another of Åhrén’s research interests is the history of sex education, sexology, and the co-construction of gender, race and sexual identities in popular and scientific media in the early twentieth century. Åhrén’s book Death, Modernity, and the Body, Sweden 1870-1930 (2009), is a study of changing attitudes to death and the dead body, focusing in particular on dissection and autopsy practices; popular and professional anatomy museums; post mortem photography; rituals of preparing the body for burial; and the history of cremation.

After receiving her PhD in 2002 from the multidisciplinary Dept. of Health and Society, Linköping University, Åhrén was a Postdoctoral Fellow at Yale University; Senior Curator and Head of Research at the Nobel Museum in Stockholm; and Research Fellow at Uppsala University, Dept. of the History of Science and Ideas. As a teacher, she has specialized in modern European intellectual and scientific history; the body in science, culture and philosophy; phenomenology and hermeneutics for historians; and relating scientific history to media history as well as visual culture and museum studies.


RECENT PUBLICATIONS [translations of titles in brackets]


Death, Modernity, and the Body: Sweden 1870—1940, Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 2009.

Döden, kroppen och moderniteten [Death, Modernity and the Body], Stockholm: Carlssons, 2002.


“Museerna: Vetenskapshistoria i tre dimensioner” [The Museums: Science in Three Dimensions], Medicinen blir till vetenskap: Karolinska Institutet under två århundraden [Medicine Becomes a Science: The Karolinska Institute During Two Centuries], eds. Karin Johannisson, Ingemar Nilsson & Roger Qvarsell, Stockholm: Karolinska Institutet University Press, 2010.

”Kroppar av vax: Modeller och preparat i konst och vetenskap” [Bodies in Wax: Models and Specimens in Art and Science], Kroppen: Konst och vetenskap [The Body: Art and Science], ed. Lena Holger, Stockholm: Nationalmuseum, 2005.

”Människokroppen som spektakel: Om vaxkabinett och deras marknadsföring kring sekelskiftet 1900” [The Human Body as Spectacle: The Advertising of Wax Museums around 1900], Reklam och hälsa: Levnadsideal, skönhet och hälsa i den svenska reklamens historia [Health On the Market: Ideals, Beauty and Health in the History of Swedish Commercial Advertising] eds. Roger Qvarsell & Ulrika Torell, Stockholm: Carlssons, 2005.

”Känn dig själv: Vaxkabinett och medicinska studiesamlingar kring 1900” [Know Thyself: Wax Museums and Medical Collections around 1900], Den mediala vetenskapen: Vetenskap, medier och publik 1850–2000 [Science, its Media and Audiences 1850–2000] ed. Anders Ekström, Nora: Nya Doxa, 2004.

”Minnesbilder: Om fotografier av de döda” [Memorial Pictures: On Postmortem Photography], Visuella spår: Bilder i kultur- och samhällsanalys, eds. Anna Sparrman, Ulrika Torell & Eva Åhrén Snickare, Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2003.


Eva Åhrén and Ulrika Nilsson, ”Blickar och begär: Några reflexioner kring Karin Johannissons bildvärld” [Gazes and Desires: Some Reflections on Karin Johannisson’s Imagery], In på bara huden: Medicinhistoriska studier tillägnade Karin Johannisson [To the Very Skin: Studies in the History of Medicine, Dedicated to Karin Johannisson], eds: Maja Bondestam & Torbjörn Gustafsson Chorell, Nora: Nya Doxa, 2010.

Eva Åhrén and Michael Sappol, “The Strange Space of the Body: Two Dialogues”, Strange Spaces: Explorations into Mediated Obscurity, eds. Amanda Lagerkvist & André Jansson, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2009.

Eva Åhrén Snickare, Anna Sparrman and Ulrika Torell, ”Bild och kunskapssökande” [Images and knowledge production], Visuella spår: Bilder i kultur- och samhällsanalys, Lund: Studentlitteratur 2003.

edited works

Medicinhistoria idag: Perspektiv på det samtida svenska forskningsfältet [Medical History Today: Contemporary Swedish Research Perspectives], Nobel Museum Occasional Papers 4, Stockholm: Nobel Museum, 2007.

Visuella spår: Bilder i kultur- och samhällsanalys [Visual Traces: Images in Culture and Society (A Visual Culture Studies textbook)], co-editor with Anna Sparrman & Ulrika Torell, Lund: Studentlitteratur, 2003.

series editor

Nobel Museum Occasional Papers, Stockholm: Nobel Museum, 2005-2007.


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Last updated: 25 April 2011
First published: 2 February 2005
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