Building a Better Race

Author: Wendy Kline
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520246748
Format: PDF, Docs
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"Building a Better Race powerfully demonstrates the centrality of eugenics during the first half of the twentieth century. Kline persuasively uncovers eugenics' unexpected centrality to modern assumptions about marriage, the family, and morality, even as late as the 1950s. The book is full of surprising connections and stories, and provides crucial new perspectives illuminating the history of eugenics, gender and normative twentieth-century sexuality."—Gail Bederman, author of Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the US, 1880-1917 "A strikingly fresh approach to eugenics.... Kline's work places eugenicists squarely at the center of modern reevaluations of females sexuality, sexual morality in general, changing gender roles, and modernizing family ideology. She insists that eugenic ideas had more power and were less marginal in public discourse than other historians have indicated."—Regina Morantz-Sanchez, author of Conduct Unbecoming a Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn

Building a Better Race

Author: Wendy Kline
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520939318
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Wendy Kline's lucid cultural history of eugenics in America emphasizes the movement's central, continuing interaction with popular notions of gender and morality. Kline shows how eugenics could seem a viable solution to problems of moral disorder and sexuality, especially female sexuality, during the first half of the twentieth century. Its appeal to social conscience and shared desires to strengthen the family and civilization sparked widespread public as well as scientific interest. Kline traces this growing public interest by looking at a variety of sources, including the astonishing "morality masque" that climaxed the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition; the nationwide correspondence of the influential Human Betterment Foundation in Pasadena, California; the medical and patient records of a "model" state institution that sterilized thousands of allegedly feebleminded women in California between 1900 and 1960; the surprising political and popular support for sterilization that survived initial interest in, and then disassociation from, Nazi eugenics policies; and a widely publicized court case in 1936 involving the sterilization of a wealthy young woman deemed unworthy by her mother of having children. Kline's engaging account reflects the shift from "negative eugenics" (preventing procreation of the "unfit") to "positive eugenics," which encouraged procreation of the "fit," and it reveals that the "golden age" of eugenics actually occurred long after most historians claim the movement had vanished. The middle-class "passion for parenthood" in the '50s had its roots, she finds, in the positive eugenics campaign of the '30s and '40s. Many issues that originated in the eugenics movement remain controversial today, such as the use of IQ testing, the medical ethics of sterilization, the moral and legal implications of cloning and genetic screening, and even the debate on family values of the 1990s. Building a Better Race not only places eugenics at the center of modern reevaluations of female sexuality and morality but also acknowledges eugenics as an essential aspect of major social and cultural movements in the twentieth century.

Building a Better Race

Author: Wendy Kline
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520225022
Format: PDF, Docs
Download Now
"Building a Better Race powerfully demonstrates the centrality of eugenics during the first half of the twentieth century. Kline persuasively uncovers eugenics' unexpected centrality to modern assumptions about marriage, the family, and morality, even as late as the 1950s. The book is full of surprising connections and stories, and provides crucial new perspectives illuminating the history of eugenics, gender and normative twentieth-century sexuality."--Gail Bederman, author of Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the US, 1880-1917 "A strikingly fresh approach to eugenics.... Kline's work places eugenicists squarely at the center of modern reevaluations of females sexuality, sexual morality in general, changing gender roles, and modernizing family ideology. She insists that eugenic ideas had more power and were less marginal in public discourse than other historians have indicated."--Regina Morantz-Sanchez, author of Conduct Unbecoming a Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn

Bodies of Knowledge

Author: Wendy Kline
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226443086
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, women argued that unless they gained access to information about their own bodies, there would be no equality. In Bodies of Knowledge, Wendy Kline considers the ways in which ordinary women worked to position the female body at the center of women’s liberation. As Kline shows, the struggle to attain this knowledge unified women but also divided them—according to race, class, sexuality, or level of professionalization. Each of the five chapters of Bodies of Knowledge examines a distinct moment or setting of the women’s movement in order to give life to the ideas, expectations, and pitfalls encountered by the advocates of women’s health: the making of Our Bodies, Ourselves (1973); the conflicts surrounding the training and practice of women’s pelvic exams; the emergence of abortion as a feminist issue; the battles over contraceptive regulation at the 1983 Depo-Provera FDA hearings; and the rise of the profession of midwifery. Including an epilogue that considers the experiences of the daughters of 1970s feminists, Bodies of Knowledge is an important contribution to the study of the bodies—that marked the lives—of feminism’s second wave.

The Sterilization Movement and Global Fertility in the Twentieth Century

Author: Ian R. Dowbiggin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190293330
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Many would be surprised to learn that the preferred method of birth control in the United States today is actually surgical sterilization. This book takes an historical look at the sterilization movement in post-World War II America, a revolution in modern contraceptive behavior. Focusing on leaders of the sterilization movement from the 1930's through the turn of the century, this book explores the historic linkages between environment, civil liberties, eugenics, population control, sex education, marriage counseling, and birth control movements in the 20th-century United States. Sterilization has been variously advocated as a medical procedure for defusing the "population bomb," expanding individual rights, liberating women from the fear of pregnancy, strengthening marriage, improving the quality of life of the mentally disabled, or reducing the incidence of hereditary disorders. From an historical standpoint, support for free and unfettered access to sterilization services has aroused opposition in some circles, and was considered a "liberal cause" in post-World War II America. This story demonstrates how a small group of reformers helped to alter traditional notions of gender and sexuality.

Segregation s Science

Author: Gregory Michael Dorr
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
ISBN: 0813930340
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Blending social, intellectual, legal, medical, gender, and cultural history, Segregation's Science: Eugenics and Society in Virginia examines how eugenic theory and practice bolstered Virginia's various cultures of segregation--rich from poor, sick from well, able from disabled, male from female, and black from white and Native American. Famously articulated by Thomas Jefferson, ideas about biological inequalities among groups evolved throughout the nineteenth century. By the early twentieth century, proponents of eugenics--the "science" of racial improvement--melded evolutionary biology and incipient genetics with long-standing cultural racism. The resulting theories, taught to generations of Virginia high school, college, and medical students, became social policy as Virginia legislators passed eugenic marriage and sterilization statutes. The enforcement of these laws victimized men and women labeled "feebleminded," African Americans, and Native Americans for over forty years. However, this is much more than the story of majority agents dominating minority subjects. Although white elites were the first to champion eugenics, by the 1910s African American Virginians were advancing their own hereditarian ideas, creating an effective counter-narrative to white scientific racism. Ultimately, segregation's science contained the seeds of biological determinism's undoing, realized through the civil, women's, Native American, and welfare rights movements. Of interest to historians, educators, biologists, physicians, and social workers, this study reminds readers that science is socially constructed; the syllogism "Science is objective; objective things are moral; therefore science is moral" remains as potentially dangerous and misleading today as it was in the past.

Reframing Rights

Author: Sheila Jasanoff
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262015951
Format: PDF, ePub
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Legal texts have been with us since the dawn of human history. Beginning in 1953, life too became textual. The discovery of the structure of DNA made it possible to represent the basic matter of life with permutations and combinations of four letters of the alphabet, A, T, C, and G. Since then, the biological and legal conceptions of life have been in constant, mutually constitutive interplay--the former focusing on life's definition, the latter on life's entitlements. Reframing Rights argues that this period of transformative change in law and the life sciences should be considered "bioconstitutional."Reframing Rights explores the evolving relationship of biology, biotechnology, and law through a series of national and cross-national case studies. Sheila Jasanoff maps out the conceptual territory in a substantive editorial introduction, after which the contributors offer "snapshots" of developments at the frontiers of biotechnology and the law. Chapters examine such topics as national cloning and xenotransplant policies; the politics of stem cell research in Britain, Germany, and Italy; DNA profiling and DNA databases in criminal law; clinical trials in India and the United States; the GM crop controversy in Britain; and precautionary policymaking in the European Union. These cases demonstrate changes of constitutional significance in the relations among human bodies, selves, science, and the state.

Eugenic Design

Author: Christina Cogdell
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812221222
Format: PDF, Mobi
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In 1939, Vogue magazine invited commercial designer Raymond Loewy and eight of his contemporaries—including Walter Dorwin Teague, Egmont Arens, and Henry Dreyfuss—to design a dress for the "Woman of the Future" as part of its special issue promoting the New York World's Fair and its theme, "The World of Tomorrow." While focusing primarily on her clothing and accessories, many commented as well on the future woman's physique, predicting that her body and mind would be perfected through the implementation of eugenics. Industrial designers' fascination with eugenics—especially that of Norman Bel Geddes—began during the previous decade, and its principles permeated their theories of the modern design style known as "streamlining." In Eugenic Design, Christina Cogdell charts new territory in the history of industrial design, popular science, and American culture in the 1930s by uncovering the links between streamline design and eugenics, the pseudoscientific belief that the best human traits could—and should—be cultivated through selective breeding. Streamline designers approached products the same way eugenicists approached bodies. Both considered themselves to be reformers advancing evolutionary progress through increased efficiency, hygiene and the creation of a utopian "ideal type." Cogdell reconsiders the popular streamline style in U.S. industrial design and proposes that in theory, rhetoric, and context the style served as a material embodiment of eugenic ideology. With careful analysis and abundant illustrations, Eugenic Design is an ambitious reinterpretation of one of America's most significant and popular design forms, ultimately grappling with the question of how ideology influences design.

Facing Eugenics

Author: Erika Dyck
Publisher: University of Toronto Press
ISBN: 1442699345
Format: PDF
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Facing Eugenics is a social history of sexual sterilization operations in twentieth-century Canada. Looking at real-life experiences of men and women who, either coercively or voluntarily, participated in the largest legal eugenics program in Canada, it considers the impact of successive legal policies and medical practices on shaping our understanding of contemporary reproductive rights. The book also provides deep insights into the broader implications of medical experimentation, institutionalization, and health care in North America. Erika Dyck uses a range of historical evidence, including medical files, court testimony, and personal records to place mental health and intelligence at the centre of discussions regarding reproductive fitness. Examining acts of resistance alongside heavy-handed decisions to sterilize people considered “unfit,” Facing Eugenics illuminates how reproductive rights fit into a broader discussion of what constitutes civil liberties, modern feminism, and contemporary psychiatric survivor and disability activism.