Eugenics in France and the Colonies

Richard S. Fogarty and Michael A. Osborne

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780195373141
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Eugenics in France and the Colonies


The pre-history of French eugenics resides in early modern and Enlightenment ideas on human perfectibility, theories of generation and inheritance, and considerations of demography and national strength. This article gives a brief discussion on the study of population and the surveys which enumerate attributes of colonial populations, including age, place of birth, numbers of slaves, health information, and much more. It addresses human heredity and breeding, and its use in scientific and political lexicons. It states that the origins of the modern French eugenics movement lie in multifaceted movements for regeneration through various social hygiene and pronatalist organizations. The French Eugenics Society's enthusiastic activity and coherence gives way to organizational atrophy and marginalization.

Keywords: eugenics; French; inheritance; human heredity; regeneration

Article.  6569 words. 

Subjects: History ; Colonialism and Imperialism

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