Pictorial Evidence: the Image as Scientific Tool in the Work of the Swedish Institute of Racial Biology

The Section for Maps and Pictures of the Uppsala University Library holds a unique photo collection brought together by the Swedish Institute of Racial Biology that was active in Uppsala 1922-1959. The aim of the Institute was to survey different ethnic [Swedish] groups in terms of environment and heredity in order to lay a basis for a rational and scientific eugenic population policy. The source and research material, amongst others photographs, was collected during gathering expeditions around the country. The photographic material not only constitute a unique documentation of the Swedish eugenic project, but show also the instrument importance the photography had in the scientific work of the institute. In many ways the photographs were determinative when it came to promote physiognomy, i.e. how psychological traits and what to expect from a person?s life could be determined from the study of his/hers facial and bodily features. The objective of the present project is to study the photographic work of the Institute, specifically the scientific function of the images and how these were utilized in the scientific process.the Image as Scientific Tool in the work of the Institute of Racial Biologythe Image as Scientific Tool in the work of the Institute of Racial Biology.


Publications

Ulrika Kjellman (2013) "A Whiter Shade of Pale: Visuality and race in the work of the Swedish State Institute for Race Biology" in: Scandinavian Journal of History. Version of record first published: 27 Feb 2013: http://www.tandfonline.com/eprint/yr8A7b6pDdzm9HcMUd9Q/full