Ylva Söderfeldt

Visiting Postdoctoral Fellow (Aug 2016-Aug 2017)

Dr. Phil.

My primary research interests are directed towards the relationship between expertise and subjectivity, i. e. between those who produce knowledge and the ones they produce knowledge about. This has led me to study people who, due to some deviation from the norm, become objects of concern for various kinds of experts who study, describe, manage, and treat them in various ways.  Specifically, I am interested in how groups marked as “others” participate in defining themselves and how this process that affects both the “others” and the people, practices, institutions, and discourses surrounding them.

Following a Master’s degree in the History of Ideas at Stockholm University, I earned a doctorate (Dr. phil.) in History at Stuttgart University in November 2011 with a dissertation on the German deaf movement. In the thesis, I investigated how deaf people organized and formed a collective identity against the backdrop of emerging institutions and fields of knowledge concerned with deafness. Since earning my doctorate, I have further developed my research profile with publications on the role of emotions in the emergence and transformation of expertise relating to sensory disabilities.

My current research plans involve studying the early formation of patient organizations and their relationship to medical expertise. The self-governed organizations people with particular illnesses in common began forming in the late 19th century have in the 20th century grown into an influential social movement, where patients engage in self-help, sociability, lobbying, and knowledge generation. Over the next years, I intend to explore this phenomenon from different angles in a major study of the structure, impact, and discursive transformation of patient organizations from their late-19th-century origins to the 1960s rise of new social movements.


No current projects were found for this scholar.

Knowing and Being Known: Hay Fever and the Fieldwork of Medical Knowledge 1897–1968


Selected Publications

Söderfeldt, Ylva (2021). “The Truth Within: Making Medical Knowledge in the Hay Fever Association of Heligoland, 1899–1909.” Isis 112 (3): 531–547.

Read More

Groß, Dominik and Ylva Söderfeldt, eds. (2017). ‘Disability Studies’ meets ‘History of Science’: körperliche Differenz und soziokulturelle Konstruktion von Behinderung aus der Perspektive der Medizin-, Technik- und Wissenschaftsgeschichte. Studien…

Read More

Hörnig, Johannes Thomas and Ylva Söderfeldt (2017). Von Wechselbälgen und verkörperter Differenz: zwei Beiträge zu den Disability Studies. Stuttgart: Verlag der Evangelischen Gesellschaft.

Read More

Söderfeldt, Ylva (2014). From pathology to public sphere : the German deaf movement, 1848 - 1914. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag.

Read More