Rethinking the Public Fetus

Boydell & Brewer, January 2024. Edited by Elisabet Björklund and Solveig Jülich

Cover image ©Dea Trier Mørch/Bildupphovsrätt 2023.

Images of pregnant and fetal bodies are today visible everywhere. Through ultrasound screenings at maternity clinics, birth videos on social media platforms, or antiabortion propaganda, visualizations of pregnancy are available and accessible as never before.

The origins of today’s visual culture of pregnancy are often traced back to the 1960s, when Swedish photographer Lennart Nilsson’s stunning photographs of human development were published in Life magazine and widely disseminated over the world. But the public display of pregnant and fetal bodies actually has a much longer and more complex history.

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