Dr. Merle Weßel

Merle Weßel has left the division by 30 September 2023.

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


Seit 3/2019 Research associate in the Division of Ethics in Medicine at the Department of Health Services Research of the School of Medicine and Health Sciences of the Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
5/2018 Promotion in Area and Culture Studies/ Nordic Studies, University of Helsinki
2/2018-2/2019 Research associate at the History Institut/Nordic History, University of Greifswald
1/2016-1/2018 PhD student within the PhD-programm “Political, Societal, and Regional Change”, University of Helsinki
3/2015-12/2015 Scholarship holder of the Finnish Cultural Foundation
5/2014 Master of Arts – European Studies, University of Helsinki
3/2012 Bachelor of Arts – History and literature, University of Bielefeld
10/2005-5/2014 Study of history, literature, philosophy, business administration and European Studies in Göttingen, Bielefeld and Helsinki

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Research Focus

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



Articles (selection)

  • Mirjam Faissner, Kris Vera Hartmann, Isabella Marcinski-Michel, Regina Müller, Merle Weßel. 2022. Feministische Perspektiven in der deutschsprachigen Medizin- und Bioethik: eine Bestandsaufnahme und drei Thesen. Ethik in der Medizin. doi.org/10.1007/s00481-022-00724-8
  • Weßel, Merle & Mark Schweda. 2023. Recognizing the Diverse Faces of Later Life. Old Age as a Category of Intersectional Analysis in Medical Ethics. Journal of Philosophy & Medicine (accepted).
  • Weßel, Merle, Ellerich-Groppe, Niklas, Frauke Koppelin & Mark Schweda. 2022. Gender and Age Stereotypes in Robotics for Eldercare. Ethical Implications of Stakeholder Perspectives from Technology Development, Industry, and Nursing. Science and Engineering Ethics 28, 34. doi.org/10.1007/s11948-022-00394-1
  • Weßel, Merle, Ellerich-Groppe, Niklas & Mark Schweda. 2021. Gender stereotyping of robotic systems in eldercare: An explorative analysis of ethical problems and possible solutions. International Journal of Social Robotics. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-021-00854-x
  • Weßel, Merle. 2021. Feminist Approach to Geriatric Care. Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment, Diversity and Intersectionality. Journal of Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11019-021-10052-1
  • Weßel, Merle, & Christina Lang. 2020. Rechtliche und Medizin-Ethische Fragen zur Freiwilligkeit der Kastration bei Sexualstraftätern. Medizinrecht 38: 106-111.

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