Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from by Wendy Kline

By Wendy Kline

Wendy Kline's lucid cultural historical past of eugenics in the United States emphasizes the movement's imperative, carrying on with interplay with well known notions of gender and morality. Kline exhibits how eugenics could appear a conceivable technique to difficulties of ethical illness and sexuality, specially girl sexuality, in the course of the 1st 1/2 the 20 th century. Its entice social moral sense and shared wants to enhance the kinfolk and civilization sparked common public in addition to medical curiosity. Kline lines this growing to be public curiosity through taking a look at various assets, together with the outstanding "morality masque" that climaxed the 1915 Panama Pacific foreign Exposition; the national correspondence of the influential Human Betterment origin in Pasadena, California; the clinical and sufferer files of a "model" country establishment that sterilized millions of allegedly feebleminded girls in California among 1900 and 1960; the astonishing political and well known help for sterilization that survived preliminary curiosity in, after which disassociation from, Nazi eugenics regulations; and a commonly publicized courtroom case in 1936 related to the sterilization of a prosperous younger girl deemed unworthy via her mom of getting young ones. Kline's attractive account displays the shift from "negative eugenics" (preventing procreation of the "unfit") to "positive eugenics," which inspired procreation of the "fit," and it finds that the "golden age" of eugenics really happened lengthy after so much historians declare the circulation had vanished. The middle-class "passion for parenthood" within the '50s had its roots, she reveals, within the confident eugenics crusade of the '30s and '40s. Many concerns that originated within the eugenics move stay arguable at the present time, comparable to using IQ checking out, the scientific ethics of sterilization, the ethical and criminal implications of cloning and genetic screening, or even the controversy on kinfolk values of the Nineties. construction a larger Race not just locations eugenics on the middle of contemporary reevaluations of lady sexuality and morality but in addition recognizes eugenics as a necessary point of significant social and cultural activities within the 20th century.

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Extra info for Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom

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The turn-of-the-century working-class “woman adrift,” who embraced independence and sexual desire, merely foreshadowed a larger shift in the meaning of womanhood that included the legitimation of female sexual desire. Institutional segregation had failed to curb this desire. Eugenicists gave up this battle and instead attempted to channel this newly accepted form of female sexuality into the appropriate places. 4 For the white middle class, sexuality should be limited to marriage and motherhood, they argued.

The Foundation estimated that a total of ten thousand persons attended its various programs. In addition, the conference received greater attention from the press than all other exhibits and conferences at the Exposition. The Associated and United Presses generated over one million lines of publicity, and every session received media coverage. ”39 The Race Betterment Conference and Exposition exhibit were highly successful because they tapped into speciWc concerns of its predominantly white middle-class audience.

3 The eugenic strategies implemented at the Sonoma State Home—segregation and sterilization—dramatically increased the inXuence and popularity of negative eugenics in America. The shifting strategies implemented at Sonoma also reveal the changing response to the “girl problem” between 1890 and 1930. Beginning in the 1910s, eugenicists took part in a cultural debate over the meaning of womanhood in modern America by positing a connection between female sexuality, race suicide, and mental deWciency.

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