Article

Introduction: Eugenics and the Modern World

Philippa Levine and Alison Bashford

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373141
Published online September 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780195373141.013.0001

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Introduction: Eugenics and the Modern World

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This article summarizes both the history and the historiography of eugenics across the world and that indicates new lines of inquiry that have evolved in recent years. It demonstrates that eugenics rapidly has become a shared language and ambition in cultures and locations that were otherwise radically different. It discusses the complicated relationship between the unconditional advocacy of contraception by neo-Malthusians and the cautious ambivalence typical of eugenicists. This article extends the analysis of eugenics through gender by addressing the question of masculinity and the subjectivity of eugenic advocates. This article analyzes the transnational themes in eugenics and surveys the important question of place-based differences in eugenic aims, methods, policies, and outcome. Eugenics invokes a modern political history in which individuals have been subsumed within collectives and their perceived interests and soon became a signal for, and almost a symbol of, modernization.

Keywords: historiography; eugenics; political; transnational themes; modernization

Article.  10500 words. 

Subjects: History ; Contemporary History (Post 1945)

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