Building a Better Race

Author: Wendy Kline
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520246748
Format: PDF, ePub
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"Building a Better Race powerfully demonstrates the centrality of eugenics during the first half of the twentieth century. Kline persuasively uncovers eugenics' unexpected centrality to modern assumptions about marriage, the family, and morality, even as late as the 1950s. The book is full of surprising connections and stories, and provides crucial new perspectives illuminating the history of eugenics, gender and normative twentieth-century sexuality."—Gail Bederman, author of Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the US, 1880-1917 "A strikingly fresh approach to eugenics.... Kline's work places eugenicists squarely at the center of modern reevaluations of females sexuality, sexual morality in general, changing gender roles, and modernizing family ideology. She insists that eugenic ideas had more power and were less marginal in public discourse than other historians have indicated."—Regina Morantz-Sanchez, author of Conduct Unbecoming a Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn

Building a Better Race

Author: Wendy Kline
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520939318
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Wendy Kline's lucid cultural history of eugenics in America emphasizes the movement's central, continuing interaction with popular notions of gender and morality. Kline shows how eugenics could seem a viable solution to problems of moral disorder and sexuality, especially female sexuality, during the first half of the twentieth century. Its appeal to social conscience and shared desires to strengthen the family and civilization sparked widespread public as well as scientific interest. Kline traces this growing public interest by looking at a variety of sources, including the astonishing "morality masque" that climaxed the 1915 Panama Pacific International Exposition; the nationwide correspondence of the influential Human Betterment Foundation in Pasadena, California; the medical and patient records of a "model" state institution that sterilized thousands of allegedly feebleminded women in California between 1900 and 1960; the surprising political and popular support for sterilization that survived initial interest in, and then disassociation from, Nazi eugenics policies; and a widely publicized court case in 1936 involving the sterilization of a wealthy young woman deemed unworthy by her mother of having children. Kline's engaging account reflects the shift from "negative eugenics" (preventing procreation of the "unfit") to "positive eugenics," which encouraged procreation of the "fit," and it reveals that the "golden age" of eugenics actually occurred long after most historians claim the movement had vanished. The middle-class "passion for parenthood" in the '50s had its roots, she finds, in the positive eugenics campaign of the '30s and '40s. Many issues that originated in the eugenics movement remain controversial today, such as the use of IQ testing, the medical ethics of sterilization, the moral and legal implications of cloning and genetic screening, and even the debate on family values of the 1990s. Building a Better Race not only places eugenics at the center of modern reevaluations of female sexuality and morality but also acknowledges eugenics as an essential aspect of major social and cultural movements in the twentieth century.

Building a Better Race

Author: Wendy Kline
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520225022
Format: PDF, Mobi
Download Now
"Building a Better Race powerfully demonstrates the centrality of eugenics during the first half of the twentieth century. Kline persuasively uncovers eugenics' unexpected centrality to modern assumptions about marriage, the family, and morality, even as late as the 1950s. The book is full of surprising connections and stories, and provides crucial new perspectives illuminating the history of eugenics, gender and normative twentieth-century sexuality."--Gail Bederman, author of Manliness and Civilization: A Cultural History of Gender and Race in the US, 1880-1917 "A strikingly fresh approach to eugenics.... Kline's work places eugenicists squarely at the center of modern reevaluations of females sexuality, sexual morality in general, changing gender roles, and modernizing family ideology. She insists that eugenic ideas had more power and were less marginal in public discourse than other historians have indicated."--Regina Morantz-Sanchez, author of Conduct Unbecoming a Woman: Medicine on Trial in Turn-of-the-Century Brooklyn

The Sterilization Movement and Global Fertility in the Twentieth Century

Author: Ian R. Dowbiggin
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190293330
Format: PDF, Mobi
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Many would be surprised to learn that the preferred method of birth control in the United States today is actually surgical sterilization. This book takes an historical look at the sterilization movement in post-World War II America, a revolution in modern contraceptive behavior. Focusing on leaders of the sterilization movement from the 1930's through the turn of the century, this book explores the historic linkages between environment, civil liberties, eugenics, population control, sex education, marriage counseling, and birth control movements in the 20th-century United States. Sterilization has been variously advocated as a medical procedure for defusing the "population bomb," expanding individual rights, liberating women from the fear of pregnancy, strengthening marriage, improving the quality of life of the mentally disabled, or reducing the incidence of hereditary disorders. From an historical standpoint, support for free and unfettered access to sterilization services has aroused opposition in some circles, and was considered a "liberal cause" in post-World War II America. This story demonstrates how a small group of reformers helped to alter traditional notions of gender and sexuality.

Bodies of Knowledge

Author: Wendy Kline
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226443086
Format: PDF, ePub
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Throughout the 1970s and ’80s, women argued that unless they gained access to information about their own bodies, there would be no equality. In Bodies of Knowledge, Wendy Kline considers the ways in which ordinary women worked to position the female body at the center of women’s liberation. As Kline shows, the struggle to attain this knowledge unified women but also divided them—according to race, class, sexuality, or level of professionalization. Each of the five chapters of Bodies of Knowledge examines a distinct moment or setting of the women’s movement in order to give life to the ideas, expectations, and pitfalls encountered by the advocates of women’s health: the making of Our Bodies, Ourselves (1973); the conflicts surrounding the training and practice of women’s pelvic exams; the emergence of abortion as a feminist issue; the battles over contraceptive regulation at the 1983 Depo-Provera FDA hearings; and the rise of the profession of midwifery. Including an epilogue that considers the experiences of the daughters of 1970s feminists, Bodies of Knowledge is an important contribution to the study of the bodies—that marked the lives—of feminism’s second wave.

Eugenic Design

Author: Christina Cogdell
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
ISBN: 0812221222
Format: PDF
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In 1939, Vogue magazine invited commercial designer Raymond Loewy and eight of his contemporaries—including Walter Dorwin Teague, Egmont Arens, and Henry Dreyfuss—to design a dress for the "Woman of the Future" as part of its special issue promoting the New York World's Fair and its theme, "The World of Tomorrow." While focusing primarily on her clothing and accessories, many commented as well on the future woman's physique, predicting that her body and mind would be perfected through the implementation of eugenics. Industrial designers' fascination with eugenics—especially that of Norman Bel Geddes—began during the previous decade, and its principles permeated their theories of the modern design style known as "streamlining." In Eugenic Design, Christina Cogdell charts new territory in the history of industrial design, popular science, and American culture in the 1930s by uncovering the links between streamline design and eugenics, the pseudoscientific belief that the best human traits could—and should—be cultivated through selective breeding. Streamline designers approached products the same way eugenicists approached bodies. Both considered themselves to be reformers advancing evolutionary progress through increased efficiency, hygiene and the creation of a utopian "ideal type." Cogdell reconsiders the popular streamline style in U.S. industrial design and proposes that in theory, rhetoric, and context the style served as a material embodiment of eugenic ideology. With careful analysis and abundant illustrations, Eugenic Design is an ambitious reinterpretation of one of America's most significant and popular design forms, ultimately grappling with the question of how ideology influences design.

Hideous Progeny

Author: Angela M. Smith
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231527853
Format: PDF, ePub, Docs
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Twisted bodies, deformed faces, aberrant behavior, and abnormal desires characterized the hideous creatures of classic Hollywood horror, which thrilled audiences with their sheer grotesqueness. Most critics have interpreted such traits as symptoms of sexual repression, or as metaphors for other kinds of marginalized identities, but Angela M. Smith conducts a richer investigation into the period's social and cultural preoccupations. Presenting an altogether different reading, she finds in the narrative and spectacle of classic 1930s horror a fascination with eugenics and physical and cognitive debility, heightened by viewers' own desire for visions of vulnerability and transformation.

Pregnancy and Power

Author: Rickie Solinger
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 0814741193
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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A sweeping chronicle of women's battles for reproductive freedom throughout American history, Pregnancy and Power explores the many forces—social, racial, economic, and political—that have shaped women’s reproductive lives in the United States. Leading historian Rickie Solinger argues that a woman’s control over her body involves much more than the right to choose an abortion. Reproductive politics were at play when slaveholders devised breeding schemes, when the U.S. government took Indian children from their families in the nineteenth century, and when doctors pressed Latina women to be sterilized in the 1970s. Tracing the diverse plot lines of women’s reproductive lives throughout American history, Solinger redefines the idea of reproductive freedom, putting race and class at the center of the effort to control sex and pregnancy in America over time. Solinger asks which women have how many children under what circumstances, and shows how reproductive experiences have been encouraged or coerced, rewarded or punished, honored or exploited over the last 250 years. Viewed in this way, the debate over reproductive rights raises questions about access to sex education and prenatal care, about housing laws, about access to citizenship, and about which women lose children to adoption and foster care. Pregnancy and Power shows that a complete understanding of reproductive politics must take into account the many players shaping public policy—lawmakers, educators, employers, clergy, physicians—as well as the consequences for women who obey and resist these policies. Tracing the diverse plotlines of women's reproductive lives throughout American history, Solinger redefines the idea of reproductive freedom, putting race and class at the center of the struggle to control sex and pregnancy in America.

Popular Eugenics

Author: Susan Currell
Publisher: Ohio University Press
ISBN: 082141691X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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In a series of revealing essays, Popular Eugenics demonstrates that eugenic thought persisted in science and culture as well as in social policy and goes a long way toward explaining the durability of eugenic thinking and its effects on social policy in the United States.

Health in the City

Author: Tanya Hart
Publisher: NYU Press
ISBN: 1479873063
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Shortly after the dawn of the twentieth century, the New York City Department of Health decided to address what it perceived as the racial nature of health. It delivered heavily racialized care in different neighborhoods throughout the city: syphillis treatment among African Americans, tuberculosis for Italian Americans, and so on. It was a challenging and ambitious program, dangerous for the providers, and troublingly reductive for the patients. Nevertheless, poor and working-class African American, British West Indian, and Southern Italian women all received some of the nation’s best health care during this period. Health in the City challenges traditional ideas of early twentieth-century urban black health care by showing a program that was simultaneously racialized and cutting-edge. It reveals that even the most well-meaning public health programs may inadvertently reinforce perceptions of inferiority that they were created to fix.