Alexander Graham Bell is best known for inventing the telephone, a device that has connected mankind on a global scale since its conception. Strangely enough, this same man spent a portion of his life working to keep people apart. Bell was a firm believer in eugenics, which has been defined as the science of better […]Read more "Inventor and Oppressor: Alexander Graham Bell, Eugenics, and the Deaf Community"
Class discussion on Tuesday, March 24th left me with quite a few unanswered questions about the nature of humanity and science. We discussed our perceived differences between historians and scientists. Are historians inherently more introspective, pessimistic about the world, and more willing to discuss the dark side of society than scientists? I wanted to know […]Read more "Scientists and Society"
I left last Tuesday’s discussion ready to more deeply discuss disability/ability as it relates to eugenics. While all of our conversations are respectful, this topic began to ignite some debate towards the end of class. A contentious point was how modern medicine does or does not factor into the disability and eugenics discussion. Should science […]Read more "Humanity Before Perfection"
On Tuesday we were faced with the question, what are we doing with science now that we will look back at in fifty years and be unnerved by? This was in response to the discussion on America’s history surrounding eugenics. Where I was headed with my comment was Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). There is research […]Read more "The Justifications We Make"
Imagine a perfect human being: physically strong, immune to disease, intelligent, law-abiding. Eugenics, the science of better breeding to improve the human race, aimed to create a race of such ideal humans. Sir Francis Galton first coined the term in 1883, and it quickly gathered widespread support across the world.  Although the term eugenics has […]Read more "The Quest for Perfection and the Legacy of Eugenics"
Many of us fully believe and trust in science, after all science has been responsible for discovering life saving medicines and eradicating diseases. It is tested and proven by highly educated individuals who have dedicated their lives to improving the quality of the lives of all people. Scientists have made incredible discoveries for centuries that […]Read more "Dangerous Science: The Abuse of Human Rights Through Eugenics"
Normally, when we think of Eugenics, we think of Nazi Germany. What many people may not know is that Eugenics was a phenomena that started in the United States in the early twentieth century. Eugenics is a concept that refers to the “intentional and selective breeding of humans or animals” with traits that are deemed […]Read more "Justice for N.C. Sterilization Victims"
What does it look like when the state only partially recognizes an individual as a person with basic human rights? Like they’re only half there and their opinion is not worth considering. To answer that question we can look at The United States. According to Ellen Bush, the editor of the University of North Carolina […]Read more "Fadeaway Girls: Victims Twice Over"
Reading about eugenics this week reminded me of this scene from The Great Gatsby. 1 I have included a shortened version of this scene from the book, published in 1925, below: “Civilization’s going to pieces,” broke out Tom violently. “I’ve gotten to be a terrible pessimist about things. Have you read ‘The Rise of the […]Read more "Eugenics, Class, and The Great Gatsby"
“What is your ancestry?” Chances are, we’ve all heard this question from time to time. Often, we’ll respond to this line of inquiry with something similar to: “oh, I’m about three-quarters Scottish, one quarter Danish.” But have you ever stopped to consider just where the idea came from? At some point, someone came up with […]Read more "When Racism Is Policy"