If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

I am currently a Doctroal student at the Centre for Nordic Studies (2014-) and I hold a doctoral position in the Doctoral Programme Political, Societal and Regional Change (2016-2019).

My PhD project "An Unholy Union? Eugenic Feminism in the Nordic Countries, ca. 1890-1940" discusses how Nordic feminists used eugenic rhetoric to include or exclude women from civil and political rights, and to position the female body and sexuality in the societal discourse. My thesis contributes to the field or eugenic and gender research in the Nordic countries with an international and comparative scope. By taking theories of the body by Susan Bordo and Elizabeth Grosz into account, as well as approaches to intersectionality by Leslie McCall and theories concerning biopolitics of gender, for instance Jemima Repo, I show the importance of eugenic feminism (Ziegler 2008) in the development of welfare state ideas in the Nordic countries and the positioning of the female role as mother of the nation in the welfare state through feminists.

Research interests:

  • Gender history, body and sexuality
  • Cultural history
  • Nordic history, history of the welfare state
  • History of ideas
  • European History
  • Social History

I have published articles in Scandinavian Journal of History and Nordeuropaforum. I am co-editing the anthology Conceptualising Public Health. Historical and Contemporary Struggles over Key Concepts (Routledge/ London 2018).

I conduct teaching, single lectures and full course, about the history of eugenics, feminism and gender. I was member of the organization committee of the conference Conceptualizing Public Health. Nordic and International Contexts (University of Helsinki, 2015) and 3rd Annual Conference for the Doctoral Programme in Political, Societal and Regional Change and the Doctoral Programme in Social Sciences (University of Helsinki, 2016). I organized the regular research seminar Nordic Studies Research Seminar by CENS (2015-2016).

My research is funded by Niilo Helander Säätio and Suomen Kulttuurirahasto.

Keywords

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • Area and Cultural Studies
  • Nordic Studies

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2015 2018

An Unholy Union? Eugenic Feminism in the Nordic Countries, ca. 1890-1940

Weßel, M., 2018, Helsinki: Helsingin yliopisto.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph

Conceptualising public health: An introduction

Bergenheim, S. M. C., Edman, J., Kananen, J. K. & Wessel, M., 2018, Conceptualising Public Health : Historical and Contemporary Struggles over Key Concepts. Kananen, J., Bergenheim, S. & Wessel, M. (eds.). Abingdon: Routledge, p. 1–17 17 p. (Routledge Studies in Public Health).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Conceptualising Public Health: Historical and Contemporary Struggles over Key Concepts

Kananen, J. K. (ed.), Bergenheim, S. M. C. (ed.) & Wessel, M. (ed.), 1 Mar 2018, Abingdon: Routledge, Taylor & Francis. 227 p. (Routledge Studies in Public Health)

Research output: Book/ReportAnthology or special issueScientificpeer-review

Editors’ notes: Transitions in the conceptual history of public health

Kananen, J. K., Bergenheim, S. M. C. & Wessel, M., 2018, Conceptualising Public Health: Historical and Contemporary Struggles over Key Concepts. Kananen, J., Bergenheim, S. & Wessel, M. (eds.). Abingdon: Routledge, p. 204–215 12 p. (Routledge studies in public health).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Projects 2014 2014

Prizes

Grant for PhD-project

Merle Wessel (Recipient), 2015

Prize: Prizes and awards

Grant for PhD-Project

Merle Wessel (Recipient), 2014

Prize: Prizes and awards

Activities 2014 2017

  • 25 Organisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars
  • 4 Supervision of other thesis (Master's, Licentiate)
  • 1 Academic visit to other institution

History of Race and Eugenics Seminar

Merle Wessel (Speaker: Presenter)
13 Oct 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

The Contested History of Hormone Pregnancy Tests

Merle Wessel (Speaker: Presenter)
27 Jan 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

Gender, Writing, and Textuality

Merle Wessel (Speaker: Presenter)
18 Jan 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars

MA Thesis Gökce Sandal (MES)

Merle Wessel (Co-supervisor)
2017 → …

Activity: Examination typesSupervision of other thesis (Master's, Licentiate)

European Conference on Politics and Gender

Merle Wessel (Speaker: Presenter)
8 Jun 201710 Jun 2017

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesOrganisation and participation in conferences, workshops, courses, seminars