Eugenics in Interwar Iran

Cyrus Schayegh

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 Interwar Iran

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This article outlines the hygiene roots of eugenics and puériculture in Iran and points out the social and political reasons why both arose in the 1920s. It explains Iran's demographic problem, and lists the variety of measures intended to tackle it, and demonstrates eugenics' explicit role in, and implicit effects on, these measures. It further explains why modern middle-class physicians were the dominant socio-professional group responsible for the adaptation particularly of puériculture; and shows how Iran's semi-colonial position affected its adaptation of eugenics. This placed Iran at the margins of international networks of scientific research and, at the same time, turned France into its paramount source of biomedical education and social reformism.

Keywords: eugenics; puériculture; Iran; demographic problem; socio-professional group

Article.  5948 words. 

Subjects: History ; Asian History

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