Petter Hellström

Researcher at Department of History of Science and Ideas

Visiting address:
Engelska parken, Thunbergsvägen 3P

Postal address:
Box 629
751 26 UPPSALA

Short presentation

I am a historian of science, and a specialist in the visual culture of knowledge. My research explores the productive role of images – metaphors, models, diagrams, maps – in the generation and circulation of scientific knowledge, particularly in relation to notions of natural order and hierarchy.

Academic qualifications: PhD, MPhil, BA Hons

Keywords: history of racism science and religion visual culture metaphors and models history of science historical epistemology diagrams maps evolutionary theory history of biology

I have a strong interest in research communication and outreach. While the majority of my interventions are only available in Swedish, two have been published in English by The Guardian.

I hold a PhD degree in the History of Science and Ideas from Uppsala University, an MPhil degree in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Cambridge, and a BA Honours degree in Arabic and the Study of Religions from the University of London.

Apart from a number of positions at Uppsala University, I have also been employed by Södertörn University, Karolinska Institutet, and the University of Lucerne. I have been an invited guest at the universities of Cambridge and Lucerne, at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and the Centre Alexandre-Koyré.

I defended my doctoral dissertation, titled “Trees of Knowledge: Science and the Shape of Genealogy”, in 2019. The examiner’s report is available online, as is the Uppsala University press release. A revised and expanded version of the dissertation is forthcoming with Zone Books.

Since 2022, I am the principal investigator in the project “Unmapping Africa: Enlightenment Geography and the Making of Blank Spaces”, funded by the Riksbankens Jubileumsfond for the Advancement of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Because a significant portion of the work is carried out in France, and in cooperation with French colleagues, I will remain a recurrent visiting researcher at the Centre Alexandre-Koyré in Paris for the duration of the project period.

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Petter Hellström