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Coming dissertations at Uppsala university

  • Towards a New Language : Christology in Early Modern Marathi, Konkani, and Hindustani Author: Pär Eliasson Link: Publication date: 2022-01-20 12:12

    This study examines the development of Christological discourses in Konkani, Marathi, and Hindustani in the 16th, 17th, and early 18th century. It explores a great deal of both Hindu and Christian sources, of which many are unedited and largely overlooked manuscripts. Applying a hermeneutic method complemented with insights from conceptual history and other fields, the study presents literature written by European authors in the abovementioned languages as results of a process of understanding and translation. The missionaries tried to understand Indian languages and religion and translate and express Christian thought in the words and discourses of those languages. 

    The source material discussed in the first part of the study includes transliterations, translations, and descriptions of Hindu literature made and studied by early modern missionary workers in and outside of the colonial territories. These texts help us to understand some of the earliest informed European conceptions of Hindu thought and practice and follow the strategical choices missionaries made in translating Christian thought into languages dominated by other religions and philosophies. The second part of the study analyses a selection of early modern works produced by Christian authors: dictionaries, catechisms, and other prose texts in variants of Konkani, Marathi, and Hindustani; and poetic literature in Marathi. The authors of these works include Jesuits of various European nationalities, a French Capuchin priest, and an officer of the Dutch East India Company. More specifically, the focus is on terminology and language use pertaining to Christology, a theological discourse comprising a conceptual field meticulously carved out through centuries of Greco-Roman philosophy and Christian theology. It is therefore particularly well suited for highlighting semantic changes – translation loss or translation gain – occurring when a system of ideas is translated into a new language for the first time. 

  • Genomics and metabolomics in the North Atlantic deep-sea sponge Geodia barretti Author: Karin Steffen Link: Publication date: 2022-01-19 12:35

    Sponges are among the earliest diverging taxa in the animal tree of life. They are sessile, filter-feeding animals found in marine and freshwater habitats. Many species are characterized by a close, specific and consistent association with microbes, mainly Bacteria and Archaea. This feature has been known for a long time and is suggested to be a factor contributing to the rich and diverse chemical output of the sponges. This thesis explored the effect of the habitat, specifically water mass or depth on sponges, their associated microbes, and their combined chemical output. The focal species of this thesis was the North Atlantic deep-sea high microbial abundance (HMA) demosponge Geodia barretti.

    In Paper I, 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and untargeted metabolomics were used to quantify variation in prokaryotic community composition and chemical output in three sponge species. Water masses structured the prokaryotic community composition in the HMA species G. barretti and Stryphnus fortis. The community composition of the low microbial abundance (LMA) sponge Weberella bursa was unaffected by depth. Untargeted metabolomic data was modelled by depth. This allowed for identification of individual compounds varying with depth. Among those compounds were many putative osmolytes as well as diketopiperazines. Bioactive peptides and brominated tryptophan derivatives were unaffected by depth.

    In Paper II the diversity of the barrettide peptide family was explored in DNA sequencing data and chemical profiles across a wide selection of sponge species and G. barretti in particular. Five new barrettides were predicted and one sequence, barrettide C, was confirmed by solid phase peptide synthesis and co-elution with a native extract, antifouling bioassays and NMR structure elucidation. The confidence gained from sequence analysis and validating predictions lead us to suggest barrettides are a family of antifouling peptides in G. barretti.

    In Paper III, a reduced representation sequencing approach was used to evaluate the Stacks de novo pipeline in HMA sponges with the help of a whole genome assembled for this purpose. With this data, gene flow and connectivity were investigated in G. barretti populations sampled across the North Atlantic. The de novo pipeline was found to assemble and retain many putatively microbial loci and should thus only be used with reservations in HMA sponges. However, regarding biological inferences, strong population structure was recovered despite the apparent contamination.

  • Kroppar i förvandling : Obstetriska och embryologiska samlingar vid Uppsala universitet, ca 1830–1930 Author: Helena Franzén Link: Publication date: 2022-01-19 12:26

    Today, some of Uppsala University’s museums contain old specimens of embryos, fetuses, newborns, and women’s pelves. These have survived from obstetrical and embryological collections assembled in the “age of museum medicine,” when museum collections were central sites of medical research and education, alongside clinics and laboratories.

    The purpose of this compilation thesis is to examine how medical knowledge of fetal development, pregnancy, and labor were produced and communicated through such collection objects, along with models and surgical instruments, at Uppsala University circa 1830–1930. Collections are conceptualized as materializations of medical knowledge and the investigation is organized as four research articles: two are studies of the obstetrical collection and two deal with the embryological collection. Based on analyses of the materiality of the objects, as well as the surrounding system of information (e. g. museum catalogues and labels), together with scientific and popular publications, the case studies shed light on the making of the collections, but also on their shifting uses and meanings over time. Using a wide definition of knowledge, this thesis explores the dynamic relationships between the collections and a heterogeneous set of historical actors, including medical men, midwives, patients, and priests. The social networks and different social worlds these actors belonged to are shown to have impacted the understanding of collection objects, which became contested boundary objects.

    Building on previous research about medical collections and drawing on previously unexamined empirical material, the study shows how the actors involved in the formation and uses of Uppsala University’s obstetrical and embryological collections produced a wide range of medical knowledge on reproduction. This included expanding expertise in managing complicated labors and pregnancies, knowledge of fetal malformations and normal development, and also contributed to constructions of race, nation, and sex. In addition, this thesis demonstrates that the embryological collection was used to introduce a biological view of life to audiences outside of the university, such as schoolteachers and secondary school pupils, thus constituting a form of public science.

    Contributing to the growing historical scholarship on medical collections, Kroppar i förvandling argues that while obstetrical and embryological collections tend to be investigated separately, there is much to be gained in examining them together: the collections co-produced each other as well as the categories they represented, such as the pregnant and laboring woman and the fetus.