3c2009Eugenics

3c2009Eugenics - Science and Technology in the 20th...

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1 Science and Technology in the 20 th Century History 3c, Fall 2009 Week 3: Genetics and the uses of heredity Lecture 5: The eugenics movement Soraya de Chadarevian What is eugenics? term coined by Francis Galton (1883) literal meaning: ‘well-born’, good in stock, hereditarily endowed with noble qualities later meaning: the improvement of the human race by better breeding movement gains momentum in early 20 th century Positive and negative eugenics
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2 Why is it important to deal with the history of eugenics? World-wide movement; involved leading scientists And yet included practices and policies we now find deeply problematic (e.g. scientifically sanctioned involuntary sterilization of large number of people; at least 60.000 in the US alone) disturbing connections with Nazi racial hygiene movement current debates about ‘new eugenics’ Methodology We will discuss the eugenics movements in various countries to understand the similarities and differences between the movements. We will include a discussion of the German racial hygiene movement that culminated in the extermination of millions of Jews and other groups of undesirable people. Doing so we will consider the double dilemma of its normalization vs bracketing it out as exceptional. Throughout we will try to understand the role of science and scientists in the eugenics movement. Not question of use and abuse of science but intimate relationship; science involved in defining problems and solutions
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3 Outline 1. Introduction: what is eugenics? why study it? 2. Early history of eugenics 3. Eugenics in the US (including California) 4. Eugenics in Russia 5. Race hygiene in Germany 6. Eugenic legacies as seen today Have heard about social and political upheaval of early 20 th century and the trust put in science to solve problems of the time also heard about the debates on heredity and evolution following Darwin’s publication of The Origins (1859) In Descent of Man (1871) Darwin expressed worries about the fact that natural selection no longer operated in human societies but restrained from proposing any measures to prevent reproduction of those deemed inferior. 2. Early history of eugenics.
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4 Francis Galton applies Darwin’s theory to humans and postulates that hereditary material is transmitted unaltered from generation to generation To prove his point Galton engaged in family studies to show that high achievement was transmitted from generation to generation . Early history of eugenics – Galton cont. Family tree published by Galton in Nature
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5 He also used questionnaires (eg to Fellows of the Royal Society to find out if their interest in science was innate or encouraged) and proposed adoption and twin studies. Analyzed traits included tuberculosis; longevity; madness;
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This note was uploaded on 02/19/2011 for the course HIST 3C taught by Professor Porter during the Fall '07 term at UCLA.

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3c2009Eugenics - Science and Technology in the 20th...

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