Eugenics

Eugenics refers to beliefs and practices aimed at controlling reproduction in order to “improve” the characteristics of human populations. In the early 20th century, eugenic beliefs were intertwined with the developing science of genetics. These ideas were popular across the political spectrum in many countries, providing scientific cover for practices and policies targeting society’s most vulnerable communities. In the U.S., these included the forced sterilization of tens of thousands of people considered “unfit,” stringent immigration restrictions, and public policies that encouraged “fitter families” to produce more children. In Germany, the Nazis used similar concepts to justify their extermination of Jews, people with disabilities, homosexuals, and other groups. A century later, many social justice advocates and scholars are concerned that a new form of eugenics – guided by market dynamics and individual choice, rather than government policies – may emerge alongside new human genetic technologies.


Biopolitical Times

Photo from Belly of the Beast, used by permission

Yesterday, California became the third state in the nation to provide reparations to survivors of coerced sterilization under 20th century eugenics laws, and the first state to both notify and compensate those sterilized involuntarily in state women’s prisons. Governor Newsom signed a budget that includes $7.5 million for this program, which will provide up to $25,000 per survivor, as well as funds for plaques and markers raising awareness about...

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Last month, Caltech announced that the names of six men with historical ties to the university would be removed from all“campus buildings, assets, and honors.”This unnaming came as the institution renounced its historical connections to the Human Betterment...

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At the turn of the 20th century, U.S. scientists proposed the control of reproduction to advance society based on the...

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In late 2018, UC Berkeley bioethics professor Osagie K. Obasogie received a campus email about a research fund available to...

"Stop forced sterilization" poster

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Cover of "The Genetic Lottery" by Kathryn Page Harden

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Images of  cells, including sickle cell

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Biopolitical Times
Uyghurs in an internment camp

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Science article on eugenics 1921

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The Confront Eugenics logo

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