Spotlight on Young Scholar Award

Karl Bruno discusses his winning paper

The paper for which WAHVM kindly awarded me the Young Scholars Award considers a very particular piece of Swedish veterinary history. It analyses the special training course in animal reproduction for (primarily) Indian vets that the Veterinary College of Sweden’s professor of obstetrics-gynecology, Nils Lagerlöf, initiated in 1954 with funding from FAO and the Swedish development aid authorities. This research was not, originally, motivated by a specific interest in veterinary history but was part of a broader research project about Swedish agrarian expertise in the context of development aid. As such, my studies in veterinary history were juxtaposed with studies of forestry and rural development assistance in my doctoral dissertation, which I successfully defended in June 2016.

I found, however, that the veterinary part of the study was the one I kept coming back to. The case is fascinating in itself, but it also opened my eyes to veterinary history as a highly intriguing field that connects the history of science and medicine to agrarian and rural history. The encouragement implied by the award has highly contributed to my interest in a follow-up project that I am currently sketching, which would explore such connections in greater detail. In this proposed work, I want to examine the creation and development of Swedish veterinary reproductive expertise and its impact on Swedish agriculture, but also its connections to human medical research. With this I hope not only to create important new knowledge about the role of veterinarians in twentieth century agricultural transformations and in the development of human reproductive medicine, but also to demonstrate how the history of science, technology and medicine, veterinary history, and agrarian and rural history can contribute to and enrich one another.