Introduction: Nellie's dance

Chloe Campbell

in Race and Empire

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780719071607
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700686 | DOI:
Introduction: Nellie's dance

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An aristocratic farmer-settler, ‘Nellie’ Grant, went to a ball and had a sit-out with Reverend Wright, and their conversation turned to some of the big issues of the day, religion and eugenics. Recent histories of eugenics in non-English speaking regions and comparative studies of eugenics in different countries have widened the understanding of eugenic thought. This chapter discusses the idea of empire as a cultural system through which thoughts and practices were exchanged and modified. It shows how eugenics and imperialism—two major forces in early twentieth-century cultural history—were intimately connected and how eugenics served as a scientific bulwark that fortified the ideology of imperialism. This study sheds light on the colonial mentalité and the complex ideological layers and affinities that rather uneasily merged to form a science that could defend the racial system upon which the Kenyan colonial state rested. It reveals how eugenics was intellectual ballast for the ideology of British imperialism.

Keywords: Nellie Grant; religion; eugenics; British imperialism; colonial mentalité

Chapter.  4306 words. 

Subjects: Colonialism and Imperialism

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