Talking Biopolitics with Rob Wilson and Milton Reynolds

Rob Wilson and Milton Reynolds
November 19


Photo of Robert Wilson

Rob Wilson, co-director of the just-released documentary Surviving Eugenics, will talk about the film and its implications with Milton Reynolds. This live online event is part of Talking Biopolitics 2015, a series of conversations with cutting-edge thinkers about the social meaning of human biotechnologies.

Surviving Eugenics explores the history of eugenic sterilization in Western Canada and its ongoing impacts today. Featuring narratives by survivors about their experiences in public institutions for the treatment of “feeble-mindedness,” the film also raises broader questions about disability, human variation, and contemporary social policies.

Daniel Kevles, professor of history at Yale University and author of In the Name of Eugenics, calls Surviving Eugenics “a sensitive tour de force -- the rare documentary that both movingly presents the human faces of a social movement’s victims and trenchantly conveys the flawed thinking and politics that produced such horrendous consequences.”

Photo of Milton Reynolds

About the Filmmaker

Rob Wilson is professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Alberta, Canada, and founding director of Philosophy for Children Alberta. His areas of specialization include the philosophy of mind and cognitive science, philosophy of biology, and disability studies. Rob is the author or editor of six books, including Boundaries of the Mind (2004) and Genes and the Agents of Life (2005); he is currently working on a new book on eugenics and another on kinship. He was also the team leader of Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada, a five-year project (2010-2015) that investigated the many aspects of the eugenics movement in western Canada. Among the project's accomplishments are the online resource, and the documentary Surviving Eugenics, which is Rob’s first venture into the world of film-making.

About the Interviewer

Milton Reynolds is Senior Program Associate at Facing History and Ourselves, an international organization that works with high school teachers to help them engage their students in an examining racism, antisemitism and discrimination. The American eugenics movement has been a particular area of interest in his work there. Milton has also been a middle school teacher, a diversity/communications consultant, and a curriculum design specialist, and has over 25 years of counseling experience.He serves as Vice Chair of the San Mateo Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Commission; he is the current Governing Board Chair for Literacy for Environmental Justice, an environmental justice/youth development non-profit; and is on the board of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University.