Queer teeth: exploring traumatic health legacies

Olu Jenzen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceeding with ISSN or ISBNChapter


This chapter highlights the ‘messy’ nature of trauma by examining Sweden’s Vipeholm dental experiments archival material to give an account of the sugar experiments mental health inpatients were subjected to in the 1940s to 1950s and examines enforced sterilisations of transgender people. The text explores the potential of queer responses to a medical archive as an archive of feelings where the non-pathologising ethos of queer culture is bound up with other feelings, including those relating to desire and pleasure. In an attempt to politicise trauma, she moves away from an individualising perspectives, insisting that the individual’s lived experience is tied to ‘structural social injustice, discrimination and violence’. The chapter makes visible gestures of resistance imprinted on archive material, as well as a refusal to map the sugar experiments and enforced sterilisation of transgender people as a contained moment in time, and thereby questions the taken for granted notion that healthcare systems protect vulnerable citizens. Queer theorisation adds to health discourses, policies and practices that ‘serve as a resource for a demedicalised and depathologised model of trauma.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationQueering health: critical challenges to normative health and healthcare
EditorsL. Zeeman, K. Aranda, A. Grant
Place of PublicationRoss-on-Wye
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9781906254711
Publication statusPublished - 30 May 2014


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