An interesting article in Dissent on the pro-choice movement and the “new” eugenics, found by way of Arts & Letters Daily. There are some thorny issues here, which the author effectively touches on. What isn’t discussed is the situation outside North America, which has a distinct flavor depending on the country concerned. Eugenics is one of those things that amalgamates uniquely in different cultural contexts. That is to say that like everything else, it has a history.
A poorly understood issue, and one I’ve talked about before. For those who might be curious to do some digging, I’m also including another [patented] bibliography; a tight, one-page synthesis of the key texts perused in preparation for a research proposal written in 2004 to do public policy work (I was a different person then, I swear…) relating to the issue of eugenics. One caveat…The proposal made it past the first couple of cuts, but didn’t get selected. Maybe that’s because I slapped it together in a week while riding the commuter train from the banlieu of Paris during a research trip…
The “New” Eugenics: State, Sterilization and the Individual
Mark B. Adams, ed., The Wellborn Science: Eugenics in Germany, France, Brazil, and Russia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990).
Edwin Black, War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003).
Gunnar Broberg and Nils Roll-Hansen, eds., Eugenics and the Welfare State: Sterilization Policy in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland (East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 1996).
G. K. Chesterton, Eugenics and Other Evils (London: Cassell, 1922).
Troy Duster, Backdoor to Eugenics (London: Routledge, 2003).
Francis Galton, Inquiries into Human Faculty and its Development (London: Macmillan, 1883).
Allen E. Garland, “Is a New Eugenics Afoot?” Science 294 (2001), 59-61.
Joseph L. Graves, The Emperor’s New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2001).
Jürgen Habermas, The Future of Human Nature (Malden, MA: Polity, 2003).
J. B. S. Haldane, Human Biology and Politics (London: British Science Guild, 1934).
Marouf Arif Hasian, The Rhetoric of Eugenics in Anglo-American Thought (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996).
Daniel J. Kevles, In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (New York: Knopf, 1985).
Daniel J. Kevles, “Eugenics and Human Rights,” British Medical Journal 319 (1999), 435-38.
Daniel J. Kevles and Leroy Hood, eds., The Code of Codes: Scientific and Social Issues in the Human Genome Project (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1992).
Edward J. Larson, Sex, Race, and Science: Eugenics in the Deep South (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995).
Thomas Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population: As it Affects the Future Improvement of Society, With Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers (London: J. Johnson, 1798).
Pauline M. H. Mazumdar, Eugenics, Human Genetics and Human Failings: The Eugenics Society, its Source and its Critics in Britain (London: Routledge, 1992).
Angus McLaren, Our Own Master Race: Eugenics in Canada, 1885-1945 (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1990).
Diane B. Paul, The Politics of Heredity: Essays on Eugenics, Biomedicine, and the Nature-Nurture Debate (New York: State University of New York Press, 1998).
Dorothy Porter, Health, Civilization, and the State: A History of Public Health from Ancient to Modern Times (London: Routledge, 1999).
Nils, Roll-Hansen, “Eugenics in Scandinavia after 1945: Change of Values and Growth in Knowledge,” Scandinavian Journal of History 24 (1999), 199-213.
Nancy Stepan, The Hour of Eugenics: Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1991).
Alexandra Stern, Mestizophilia, Biotypology, and Eugenics in Post-revolutionary Mexico: Towards a History of Science and the State, 1920-1960 (Chicago: Dept. of History, University of Chicago, n.d.).
Stephen Trombley, The Right to Reproduce: A History of Coercive Sterilization (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1988).
Peter Weingart, “Science and Political Culture: Eugenics in Comparative Perspective,” Scandinavian Journal of History 24 (1999), 163-177.
As you may have surmised, there was going to be some specific focus on Scandinavia…