Postdoctoral researcher

Dr. Merle Weßel

+49 (0)441 798 - 4304


Postal address

Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
Faculty VI - Medicine and Health Services
Department of Health Services Research
Medical Ethics Division
Ammerländer Heerstr. 114-118
26129 Oldenburg

Visting address

Campus Haarentor, Building V04 (1-106)
Ammerländer Heerstraße 140 
26129 Oldenburg

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Dr. Merle Weßel

Merle Weßel studied history and literary studies (B.A.) in Göttingen and Bielefeld and European Studies (M.A.) in Helsinki. She obtained her PhD in Area and Culture Studies with a focus on Nordic Studies at the University of Helsinki in 2018. The title of her dissertation is “An Unholy Union? Eugenic Feminism in the Nordic Countries, ca. 1890-1940.” In 2017, she was associate research student at the Centre for Medical Humanities at the Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, Great Britain. After having attained her doctorate, she worked as postdoctoral researcher at the chair of Nordic History at the University of Greifswald (2018-2019). Since March 2019, she is postdoctoral researcher in the section Ethics in Medicine.

Her main research interests are in gender studies, feminist theory, medical humanities and medical history. She takes a special interest in the intersection of gender and medicine in the historical, cultural and social context. The focus is here on how feminist theories may contribute to a better understanding of social categories such as gender, ethnicity, class or age in the field of medical and bioethics. Furthermore, she researches sexuality, sexual violence, and eugenics within the medical context.


Curriculum Vitae

Research Focus

  • Gender studies and feminist theory
  • Intersectionality
  • Medical history of the 19th and 20th century
  • Sexuality and sexual violence
  • Eugenics and racial hygiene


Publications (selection)


  • An Unholy Union? Eugenic Feminism in der Nordic Countries, ca. 1890-1940, Dissertation, Helsinki 2018.
  • Kananen, Johannes, Bergenheim, Sophy, Wessel, Merle (eds.), Conceptualising Public Health. Historical and Contemporary Struggles over Key Concepts, London, 2018.


  • "Water under the Bridge? A Historical Argument for Regulatory Failure in the Case of Primodos and other 'Hormone Pregnancy Test' Drugs (HPTs)", mit Olszynko-Gryn, Jesse, Jülich, Solveig, Bjørvik, Eira, Cyrille, Jean. In: Reproductive Biomedicine & Society 6 (2018) S. 34-44. 
  • "Feminismi ja positiivinen eugeniikka Pohjoismaissa maailmansotien välisenä aikana." (Feminism and Positive Eugenics in the Nordic Countries in the Interwar Period) In: Sukupuolentutkimus - Genusforskning lehti 31 (2018), S. 65-70. 
  • "Primodos - Hormonaalinen raskaustestaus Suomessa." (Primodos – Hormonal Pregnancy Testing in Finland) In: Tieteessä tapahtuu 2 (2018), S. 15-22.
  • "Concept of ´Nordic race` in German and Nordic Racial-Theoretical Research in the 1920s." In: Nordeuropaforum (2016), S. 29-49. 
  •  "Castration of Male Sex Offenders in the Nordic Welfare State in the Context of Homosexuality and Heteronormativity; 1930- 1955." In: Scandinavian Journal of History 40/5 (2015), S. 591-609.  
  • "Female Doctors, Public Health and Prophylactic Health Care." In: Kananen, Johannes, Bergenheim, Sophy, Wessel, Merle (eds.), Conceptualising Public Health. Historical and Contemporary Struggles over Key Concepts, London 2018, S. 33-45.

Download List of Publications


(Changed: 2021-04-30)