Praise for Martha Collins:
“A dazzling poet whose poetry is poised at the juncture between the lyric and ethics, Martha Collins has addressed some of the most traumatic social issues of the twentieth century . . . in supple and complex poems. . . .[N]o subject is off limits for her piercing intellect.”
—Cynthia Hogue, AWP Chronicle
Traces the history of eugenics ideology in the United States and its ongoing presence in contemporary life.
The Nazis may have given eugenics its negative connotations, but the practice--and the "science" that supports it--is still disturbingly alive in America in anti-immigration initiatives, the quest for a "gay gene," and theories of collective intelligence. Tracing the historical roots and persistence of eugenics in the United States, Nancy Ordover explores the political and cultural climate that has endowed these campaigns with mass appeal and scientific legitimacy.
American Eugenics demonstrates how biological theories of race, gender, and sexuality are crucially linked through a concern with regulating the "unfit." These links emerge in Ordover's examination of three separate but ultimately related American eugenics campaigns: early twentieth-century anti-immigration crusades; medical models and interventions imposed on (and sometimes embraced by) lesbians, gays, transgendered people, and bisexuals; and the compulsory sterilization of poor women and women of color. Throughout, her work reveals how constructed notions of race, gender, sexuality, and nation are put to ideological uses and how "faith in science" can undermine progressive social movements, drawing liberals and conservatives alike into eugenics-based discourse and policies.
"In this compact, far-ranging cultural critique, Ordover invites us to make connections between anti-immigrant panics, sterilization campaigns and the search for the genetic roots of sexual desire. Eugenics, she argues, is like a â€˜scavenger' that collects and exploits anxieties about national identity, consigning the politically disenfranchised to the garbage dump. It uses the value-free language of â€˜science' and â€˜public health' to mask its political agenda." --Los Angeles Times Book Review
Nancy Ordover is an independent scholar who lives in New York City.
Over the course of human history, the sciences, and biology in particular, have often been manipulated to cause immense human suffering. For example, biology has been used to justify eugenic programs, forced sterilization, human experimentation, and death camps—all in an attempt to support notions of racial superiority. By investigating the past, the contributors to Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins hope to better prepare us to discern ideological abuse of science when it occurs in the future.
Denis R. Alexander and Ronald L. Numbers bring together fourteen experts to examine the varied ways science has been used and abused for nonscientific purposes from the fifteenth century to the present day. Featuring an essay on eugenics from Edward J. Larson and an examination of the progress of evolution by Michael J. Ruse, Biology and Ideology examines uses both benign and sinister, ultimately reminding us that ideological extrapolation continues today. An accessible survey, this collection will enlighten historians of science, their students, practicing scientists, and anyone interested in the relationship between science and culture.
Most closely associated with the Nazis and World War II atrocities, eugenics is sometimes described as a government-orchestrated breeding program, other times as a pseudo-science, and often as the first step leading to genocide. Less frequently it is recognized as a movement having links to theUnited States. But eugenics does have a history in this country, and Mark A. Largent tells that story by exploring one of its most disturbing aspects, the compulsory sterilization of more than 64,000 Americans.
The book begins in the mid-nineteenth century, when American medical doctors began advocating the sterilization of citizens they deemed degenerate. By the turn of the twentieth century, physicians, biologists, and social scientists championed the cause, and lawmakers in two-thirds of the United States enacted laws that required the sterilization of various criminals, mental health patients, epileptics, and syphilitics. The movement lasted well into the latter half of the century, and Largent shows how even today the sentiments that motivated coerced sterilization persist as certain public figures advocate compulsory birth control—such as progesterone shots for male criminals or female welfare recipients—based on the same assumptions and motivations that had brought about thousands of coerced sterilizations decades ago.
Scientific breakthroughs have led us to a point where soon we will be able to make specific choices about the genetic makeup of our offspring. In fact, this reality has arrived—and it is only a matter of time before the technology becomes widespread.
Much like past arguments about stem-cell research, the coming debate over these reproductive genetic technologies (RGTs) will be both political and, for many people, religious. In order to understand how the debate will play out in the United States, John H. Evans conducted the first in-depth study of the claims made about RGTs by religious people from across the political spectrum, and Contested Reproduction is the stimulating result.
Some of the opinions Evans documents are familiar, but others—such as the idea that certain genetic conditions produce a “meaningful suffering” that is, ultimately, desirable—provide a fascinating glimpse of religious reactions to cutting-edge science. Not surprisingly, Evans discovers that for many people opinion on the issue closely relates to their feelings about abortion, but he also finds a shared moral language that offers a way around the unproductive polarization of the abortion debate and other culture-war concerns. Admirably evenhanded, Contested Reproduction is a prescient, profound look into the future of a hot-button issue.
Creating Born Criminals
Nicole Hahn Rafter University of Illinois Press, 1997 Library of Congress HV6047.R33 1997 | Dewey Decimal 364.24
Genetic screening, new reproductive technologies, gene therapies, and the reality of cloning all make biological solutions to human social problems seem possible. Creating Born Criminals shows how history can guide us in our response to the reemergence of eugenics. The first social history origins and content, showing their undue influence on crime control in the United States.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman Duke University Press, 2003 Library of Congress PS1744.G57C78 2003 | Dewey Decimal 813.4
Long out of print, Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s novel The Crux is an important early feminist work that brings to the fore complicated issues of gender, citizenship, eugenics, and frontier nationalism. First published serially in the feminist journal The Forerunner in 1910, The Crux tells the story of a group of New England women who move west to start a boardinghouse for men in Colorado. The innocent central character, Vivian Lane, falls in love with Morton Elder, who has both gonorrhea and syphilis. The concern of the novel is not so much that Vivian will catch syphilis, but that, if she were to marry and have children with Morton, she would harm the "national stock." The novel was written, in Gilman’s words, as a "story . . . for young women to read . . . in order that they may protect themselves and their children to come." What was to be protected was the civic imperative to produce "pureblooded" citizens for a utopian ideal.
Dana Seitler’s introduction provides historical context, revealing The Crux as an allegory for social and political anxieties—including the rampant insecurities over contagion and disease—in the United States at the beginning of the twentieth century. Seitler highlights the importance of The Crux to understandings of Gilman’s body of work specifically and early feminism more generally. She shows how the novel complicates critical history by illustrating the biological argument undergirding Gilman’s feminism. Indeed, The Crux demonstrates how popular conceptions of eugenic science were attractive to feminist authors and intellectuals because they suggested that ideologies of national progress and U.S. expansionism depended as much on women and motherhood as on masculine contest.
Horst Biesold’s Crying Hands treats a neglected aspect of the Holocaust: the fate of the deaf in Nazi Germany. His book covers a story that has remained almost unknown. In the United States, even in Germany, few are aware that during the Nazi era human beings–men, women, and children–with impaired hearing were sterilized against their will, and even fewer know that many of the deaf were also murdered.
--From the Foreword by Henry Friedlander
When the Nazis assumed power in Germany in 1933, they wasted no time in implementing their radical policies, first by securing passage of the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases. Among those designated by this law as “congenitally disabled” were deaf people. Horst Biesold’s newly translated book examines this neglected aspect of Nazi “racial hygiene” through interviews with more than 1,000 deaf survivors of this brutal law that authorized forced sterilizations, abortions, and eventually murder. Crying Hands meticulously delineates the antecedents of Nazi eugenics, beginning with Social Darwinism (postulated in the mid-nineteenth century) and tracing the various sterilization laws later initiated throughout the world, including many passed and practiced in the United States. This exceptional scholarship is movingly paralleled by the human faces fixed to the numbing statistics, as in story after story those affected recount their irretrievable loss, pain, and misplaced shame imposed upon them by the Nazi regime. Through their stories, told to Biesold in German Sign Language, they have given voice to the countless others who died from the specious science practiced by the Third Reich. And now their own trails finally have been acknowledged.
Inspired by the conference “Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe, 1933–1945,” hosted jointly by Gallaudet University and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1998, this extraordinary collection, organized into three parts, integrates key presentations and important postconference research.
Henry Friedlander begins “Part I: Racial Hygiene” by analyzing the assault on deaf people and people with disabilities as an integral element in the Nazi attempt to implement their theories of racial hygiene. Robert Proctor documents the role of medical professionals in deciding who should be sterilized or forbidden to marry, and whom the Nazi authorities would murder. In an essay written especially for this volume, Patricia Heberer details how Nazi manipulation of eugenics theory and practice facilitated the justification for the murder of those considered socially undesirable.
“Part II: The German Experience” commences with Jochen Muhs’s interviews of deaf Berliners who lived under Nazi rule, both those who suffered abuse and those who, as members of the Nazi Party, persecuted others, especially deaf Jews. John S. Schuchman describes the remarkable 1932 film Misjudged People, which so successfully portrayed the German deaf community as a vibrant contributor to society that the Nazis banned its showing when they came to power. Horst Biesold’s contribution confirms the complicity of teachers who denounced their own students, labeling them hereditarily deaf and thus exposing them to compulsory sterilization. The section also includes the reprint of a chilling 1934 article entitled “The Place of the School for the Deaf in the New Reich,” in which author Kurt Lietz rued the expense of educating deaf students, who could not become soldiers or bear “healthy children.”
In “Part III: The Jewish Deaf Experience,” John S. Schuchman discusses the plight of deaf Jews in Hungary. His historical analysis is complemented by a chapter containing excerpts from the testimony of six deaf Jewish survivors who describe their personal ordeals. Peter Black’s reflections on the need for more research conclude this vital study of a little-known chapter of the Holocaust.
Immigration history has largely focused on the restriction of immigrants by race and ethnicity, overlooking disability as a crucial factor in the crafting of the image of the “undesirable immigrant.” Defectives in the Land, Douglas C. Baynton’s groundbreaking new look at immigration and disability, aims to change this.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Baynton explains, immigration restriction in the United States was primarily intended to keep people with disabilities—known as “defectives”—out of the country. The list of those included is long: the deaf, blind, epileptic, and mobility impaired; people with curved spines, hernias, flat or club feet, missing limbs, and short limbs; those unusually short or tall; people with intellectual or psychiatric disabilities; intersexuals; men of “poor physique” and men diagnosed with “feminism.” Not only were disabled individuals excluded, but particular races and nationalities were also identified as undesirable based on their supposed susceptibility to mental, moral, and physical defects.
In this transformative book, Baynton argues that early immigration laws were a cohesive whole—a decades-long effort to find an effective method of excluding people considered to be defective. This effort was one aspect of a national culture that was increasingly fixated on competition and efficiency, anxious about physical appearance and difference, and haunted by a fear of hereditary defect and the degeneration of the American race.
Scholars have labeled Madison Grant everything from the “nation’s most influential racist” to the “greatest conservationist that ever lived.” His life illuminates early twentieth-century America as it was heading toward the American Century, and his legacy is still very much with us today, from the speeches of immigrant-bashing politicians to the international efforts to arrest climate change. This insightful biography shows how Grant worked side-by-side with figures such as Theodore Roosevelt to found the Bronx Zoo, preserve the California redwoods, and save the American bison from extinction. But Grant was also the leader of the eugenics movement in the United States. He popularized the infamous notions that the blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordics were the “master race” and that the state should eliminate members of inferior races who were of no value to the community. Grant’s behind-the-scenes machinations convinced Congress to enact the immigration restriction legislation of the 1920s, and his influence led many states to ban interracial marriage and sterilize thousands of “unworthy” citizens. Although most of the relevant archival materials on Madison Grant have mysteriously disappeared over the decades, Jonathan Spiro has devoted many years to reconstructing the hitherto concealed events of Grant’s life. His astonishing feat of detective work reveals how the founder of the Bronx Zoo wound up writing the book that Adolf Hitler declared was his “bible.”
A little-known fact about the prominent US psychologist and educator Carl E. Seashore (1866–1949) is that he was deeply involved in the American eugenics movement. He was among the US academics to support eugenics long before German Nazis embraced it. A titan in a host of disciplines and a proponent of radical education reform, Seashore used his positional power to promote a constellation of education reforms consistent with central precepts of eugenics. Many of these reforms, including tracking, gifted and talented programs, and high-stakes standardized testing, were adopted and remain standard practice in the United States today. He promulgated the idea that musical talent is biologically inheritable, and he developed the first standardized tests of musical talent; these tests were used by early-twentieth-century researchers in their attempts to determine whether there are race differences in musical talent. Seashore’s ideas and work profoundly shaped music education’s research trajectory, as well as enduring “commonsense” beliefs about musical ability. An intersectional analysis, “Destined to Fail” focuses on the relationship between eugenics and Seashore’s views on ability, race, and gender. Koza concludes that Seashore promoted eugenics and its companion, euthenics, because he was a true believer. She also discusses the longstanding silences surrounding Seashore’s participation in eugenics. As a diagnosis and critique of the present, “Destined to Fail” identifies resemblances and connections between past and present that illustrate the continuing influence of eugenics—and the systems of reasoning that made early-twentieth-century eugenics imaginable and seem reasonable—on education discourse and practice today. It maps out discursive, citational, and funding connections between eugenicists of the early twentieth-century and contemporary White supremacists; this mapping leads to some of Donald Trump’s supporters and appointees.
In North America, immigration has never been about immigration. That was true in the early twentieth century when anti-immigrant rhetoric led to draconian crackdowns on the movement of bodies, and it is true today as new measures seek to construct migrants as dangerous and undesirable. This premise forms the crux of Jay Timothy Dolmage’s new book Disabled Upon Arrival: Eugenics, Immigration, and the Construction of Race and Disability, a compelling examination of the spaces, technologies, and discourses of immigration restriction during the peak period of North American immigration in the early twentieth century.
Through careful archival research and consideration of the larger ideologies of racialization and xenophobia, Disabled Upon Arrival links anti-immigration rhetoric to eugenics—the flawed “science” of controlling human population based on racist and ableist ideas about bodily values. Dolmage casts an enlightening perspective on immigration restriction, showing how eugenic ideas about the value of bodies have never really gone away and revealing how such ideas and attitudes continue to cast groups and individuals as disabled upon arrival.
Eugenics movements gained momentum throughout Eastern Europe between World Wars I and II. Maria Bucur demonstrates that the importance of the eugenics movement in Romania rests not so much in the contributions made to the study of science as in the realm of nationalist ideology and social policy making.
The notion that the quality and quantity of the human species could and should be controlled manifested itself through social engineering projects ranging from reshaping gender roles and isolating ethnic undesirables to introducing broad public health measures and educational reform. Romanian eugenicists sought to control such modernization processes as urbanization and industrialization without curbing them, yet they also embraced attitudes more typically identified with anti-modernists in Romanian politics and culture.
Bucur is the first historian to explore the role of eugenics as a response to the challenges of nation- and state-building in Eastern Europe. She presents a balanced assessment of the interwar eugenics movement’s success and failures and identifies connections and discontinuities between the movement and the post-war communist regime.
In 1997 Eugenics and the Welfare State caused an uproar with international repercussions. This edition contains a new introduction by Broberg and Roll-Hansen, addressing events that occurred following the original publication. The four essays in this book stand as a chilling indictment of mass sterilization practices, not only in Scandinavia but in other European countries and the United States--eugenics practices that remained largely hidden from the public view until recently. Eugenics and the Welfare State also provides an in-depth, critical examination of the history, politics, science, and economics that led to mass sterilization programs in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Finland; programs put in place for the "betterment of society" and based largely on the "junk science" of eugenics that was popular before the rise of Nazism in Germany. When the results of Broberg's and Roll-Hansen's book were widely publicized in August 1997, the London Observer reported, "Yesterday Margot Wallstrom, the Swedish Minister for Social Policy, issued a belated reaction to the revelations. She said: 'What went on is barbaric and a national disgrace.' She pledged to create a law ensuring that involuntary sterilisation would never again be used in Sweden, and promised compensation to victims." Ultimately, the Swedish government not only apologized to the many thousands who had been sterilized without their knowledge or against their will, but also put in place a program for the payment of reparations to these unfortunate victims.
In paperback for the first time, From Racism to Genocide is an explosive, richly detailed account of how Nazi anthropologists justified racism, developed practical applications of racist theory, and eventually participated in every phase of the Holocaust.
Using original sources and previously unpublished documentation, Gretchen E. Schafft shows the total range of anti-human activity from within the confines of a particular discipline. Based on seven years of archival research in the United States and abroad, the work includes many original photos and documents, most of which have never before been published. It uses primary data and original texts whenever possible, including correspondence written by perpetrators. The book also reveals that the United States was not merely a bystander in this research, but instead contributed professional and financial support to early racial research that continued through the first five years of Hitler’s regime.
The Pioneer Fund, established in 1937 by Wickliffe Preston Draper, is one of the most controversial nonprofit organizations in the United States. Long suspected of misusing social science to fuel the politics of oppression, the fund has specialized in supporting research that seeks to prove the genetic and intellectual inferiority of blacks while denying its ties to any political agenda.This powerful and provocative volume proves that the Pioneer Fund has indeed been the primary source for scientific racism. Revealing a lengthy history of concerted and clandestine activities and interests, The Funding of Scientific Racism examines for the first time archival correspondence that incriminates the fund's major players, including Draper, recently deceased president Harry F. Weyher, and others.Divulging evidence of the Pioneer Fund's political motivations, William H. Tucker links Draper to a Klansman's crusade to repatriate blacks in the 1930s. Subsequent directors and grantees are implicated in their support of campaigns organized in the 1960s to reverse the Brown decision, prevent passage of the Civil Rights Act, and implement a system of racially segregated private schools.Tucker shows that these and other projects have been officially sponsored by the Pioneer Fund or surreptitiously supervised by its directors. This evidence demonstrates that any results of genuine, scientific value produced with the fund's support have been a salutary, if incidental, consequence of its actual purpose: to provide ammunition for what has essentially been a lobbying campaign to prevent the full participation of blacks in society and the polity.
Heredity and Hope
Ruth Schwartz COWAN Harvard University Press, 2008 Library of Congress RB155.65.C69 2008 | Dewey Decimal 616.042
Neither minimizing the difficulty of the choices that modern genetics has created for us nor fearing them, Cowan argues that we can improve the quality of our own lives and the lives of our children by using the modern science and technology of genetic screening responsibly.
During the first half of the twentieth century, supporters of the eugenics movement offered an image of a racially transformed America by curtailing the reproduction of “unfit” members of society. Through institutionalization, compulsory sterilization, the restriction of immigration and marriages, and other methods, eugenicists promised to improve the population—a policy agenda that was embraced by many leading intellectuals and public figures. But Catholic activists and thinkers across the United States opposed many of these measures, asserting that “every man, even a lunatic, is an image of God, not a mere animal."
In An Image of God, Sharon Leon examines the efforts of American Catholics to thwart eugenic policies, illuminating the ways in which Catholic thought transformed the public conversation about individual rights, the role of the state, and the intersections of race, community, and family. Through an examination of the broader questions raised in this debate, Leon casts new light on major issues that remain central in American political life today: the institution of marriage, the role of government, and the separation of church and state. This is essential reading in the history of religion, science, politics, and human rights.
The Faustian bargain—in which an individual or group collaborates with an evil entity in order to obtain knowledge, power, or material gain—is perhaps best exemplified by the alliance between world-renowned human geneticists and the Nazi state. Under the swastika, German scientists descended into the moral abyss, perpetrating heinous medical crimes at Auschwitz and at euthanasia hospitals. But why did biomedical researchers accept such a bargain?
The Nazi Symbiosis offers a nuanced account of the myriad ways human heredity and Nazi politics reinforced each other before and during the Third Reich. Exploring the ethical and professional consequences for the scientists involved as well as the political ramifications for Nazi racial policies, Sheila Faith Weiss places genetics and eugenics in their larger international context. In questioning whether the motives that propelled German geneticists were different from the compromises that researchers from other countries and eras face, Weiss extends her argument into our modern moment, as we confront the promises and perils of genomic medicine today.
The motto “Eugenics is the self-direction of human evolution” was part of the logo of the Second International Congress of Eugenics, held in 1921. However, by the 1930s, the disturbing legacy of this motto had started to reveal itself in the construction of national identities in countries throughout the world. Popular Eugenics is a fascinating look at how such tendencies emerged within the rhetoric, ideology, and visual aesthetics of U.S. mass culture during the 1930s, offering detailed analysis of the way that eugenics appeared within popular culture and images of modernity, particularly during the Depression era.
The essays in this generously illustrated collection demonstrate how, after the scientific foundations of the eugenics movement had been weakened in the 1930s, eugenic beliefs spread into the popular media, including newspapers, movies, museum exhibits, plays, and novels, and even fashion shows and comic strips.
Popular Eugenics shows 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. Popular Eugenics will be of interest to scholars and students in a broad range of disciplines, especially American literature and history, popular culture, media studies, and the history of science.
Properly analyzed, the collective mythological and religious writings of humanity reveal that around 1500 BC, a comet swept perilously close to Earth, triggering widespread natural disasters and threatening the destruction of all life before settling into solar orbit as Venus, our nearest planetary neighbor.
Sound implausible? Well, from 1950 until the late 1970s, a huge number of people begged to differ, as they devoured Immanuel Velikovsky’s major best-seller, Worlds in Collision, insisting that perhaps this polymathic thinker held the key to a new science and a new history. Scientists, on the other hand, assaulted Velikovsky’s book, his followers, and his press mercilessly from the get-go. In The Pseudoscience Wars, Michael D. Gordin resurrects the largely forgotten figure of Velikovsky and uses his strange career and surprisingly influential writings to explore the changing definitions of the line that separates legitimate scientific inquiry from what is deemed bunk, and to show how vital this question remains to us today. Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished material from Velikovsky’s personal archives, Gordin presents a behind-the-scenes history of the writer’s career, from his initial burst of success through his growing influence on the counterculture, heated public battles with such luminaries as Carl Sagan, and eventual eclipse. Along the way, he offers fascinating glimpses into the histories and effects of other fringe doctrines, including creationism, Lysenkoism, parapsychology, and more—all of which have surprising connections to Velikovsky’s theories.
Science today is hardly universally secure, and scientists seem themselves beset by critics, denialists, and those they label “pseudoscientists”—as seen all too clearly in battles over evolution and climate change. The Pseudoscience Wars simultaneously reveals the surprising Cold War roots of our contemporary dilemma and points readers to a different approach to drawing the line between knowledge and nonsense.
Recent scholarship has argued that "race" is a fairly recent concept in Western thought and arose concurrently with modern science. Yet, in recent decades, science has been a powerful tool employed against racialist thinking. How is it that science has been a factor for both the rise of racialist thinking and its demise? This volume of essays, drawn from the journals Isis and Osiris, demonstrates that race and political and social ideologies have interacted in complex and unexpected ways.
Using testimonies, Nazi documents, memoirs, and artistic representations, this volume broadens and deepens comprehension of Jewish women’s experiences of rape and other forms of sexual violence during the Holocaust. The book goes beyond previous studies, and challenges claims that Jewish women were not sexually violated during the Holocaust. This anthology by an interdisciplinary and international group of scholars addresses topics such as rape, forced prostitution, assaults on childbearing, artistic representations of sexual violence, and psychological insights into survivor trauma. These subjects have been relegated to the edges or completely left out of Holocaust history, and this book aims to shift perceptions and promote new discourse.
A clear explanation and provocative look at the impact of new technologies on world society.
In our complex and multicultural society, racial identity is often as much a matter of family background, economic opportunity, and geographic location as it is determined by skin color or hair texture. And yet study after study is released and reported in the media regarding African American test scores, Asian American social mobility, and the white domination of our political institutions. In short, there is a fundamental disconnect between the nuanced understanding many people have of race and the ways it is studied and quantified by researchers.
In this timely and hard-hitting volume, Tukufu Zuberi offers a concise account of the historical connections between the development of the idea of race and the birth of social statistics. Zuberi describes the ways race-differentiated data is misinterpreted in the social sciences and asks essential questions about the ways racial statistics are used: What is the value of knowing the income disparities or differences in crime and incarceration rates, differences in test scores, infant mortality rates, abortion frequencies, or choices of sexual partner between different racial groups? When these data are available, what should the principles be guiding their dissemination, interpretation, and analysis? How does the availability of this information shape public discourse, alter scientific research agendas, inform political decision making, and ultimately influence the very social meaning of racial difference?
When statistics are interpreted in a racist manner, no matter how inadvertent the racism may be, the public is exposed to seemingly neutral information that in its effect is anything but neutral. Zuberi argues that statistical analysis can and must be deracialized, and that this deracialization is essential to the goal of achieving social justice for all. He concludes by putting forward a principle of racially conscious social justice, offering an incendiary and necessary correction to the inaccuracies that have plagued this topic at the center of American life.
"Zuberi, who was named one of Philadelphia's 76 smartest people by Philadelphia Magazine, has written a brilliant new book, Thicker Than Blood. One of the most powerful claims of the book is that instead of being a fixed biological reality, race is instead a socially produced phenomenon. His point is to show just how vicious-especially through the use of statistics-the notion of race has been when it has been employed to protect the interest of those in power (whites), especially those who say that because race does not exist, racism is not real." Michael Eric Dyson in The Chicago Sun-Times
"A call to action and, Zuberi hopes, a precursor to a conversation about the real meaning of race, ethnicity, and political power in America." Time Magazine
"Tukufu Zuberi's critical assessment of the analysis of racial data in Thicker Than Blood is a tour de force. His discussion and evaluation of the use of racial statistics in historical and cross-cultural contexts is original and important. I strongly feel that all students and scholars in
the social sciences should read this thoughtful book." William Julius Wilson
Tukufu Zuberi is professor of sociology and director of the African Census Analysis Project at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (1995).
Since the defeat of the Nazi Third Reich and the end of its horrific eugenics policies, battles over the politics of life, sex, and death have continued and evolved. Dagmar Herzog documents how reproductive rights and disability rights, both latecomers to the postwar human rights canon, came to be seen as competing—with unexpected consequences.
Bringing together the latest findings in Holocaust studies, the history of religion, and the history of sexuality in postwar—and now also postcommunist—Europe, Unlearning Eugenics shows how central the controversies over sexuality, reproduction, and disability have been to broader processes of secularization and religious renewal. Herzog also restores to the historical record a revelatory array of activists: from Catholic and Protestant theologians who defended abortion rights in the 1960s–70s to historians in the 1980s–90s who uncovered the long-suppressed connections between the mass murder of the disabled and the Holocaust of European Jewry; from feminists involved in the militant "cripple movement" of the 1980s to lawyers working for right-wing NGOs in the 2000s; and from a handful of pioneers in the 1940s–60s committed to living in intentional community with individuals with cognitive disability to present-day disability self-advocates.
The "Vanity of the Philosopher" continues the themes introduced in Levy's acclaimed book How the Dismal Science Got Its Name.
Here, Peart and Levy tackle the issues of racism, eugenics, hierarchy, and egalitarianism in classical economics and take a broad view of classical economics' doctrine of human equality. Responding to perennial accusations from the left and the right that the market economy has created either inequality or too much equality, the authors trace the role of the eugenics movement in pulling economics away from the classical economist's respect for the individual toward a more racist view at the turn of the century.
The "Vanity of the Philosopher" reveals the consequences of hierarchy in social science. It shows how the "vanity of the philosopher" has led to recommendations that range from the more benign but still objectionable "looking after" paternalism, to overriding preferences, and, in the extreme, to eliminating purportedly bad preferences. The authors suggest that an approach that abstracts from difference and presumes equal competence is morally compelling.
"People in the know on intellectual history and economics await the next book from Peart and Levy with much the same enthusiasm that greets a new Harry Potter book in the wider world. This book delivers the anticipated delights big time!"
-William Easterly, Professor of Economics and Africana Studies, NYU, and non-resident Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development
"In their customary idiosyncratic manner, Sandra Peart and David Levy reexamine the way in which the views of classical economists on equality and hierarchy were shifted by contact with scholars in other disciplines, and the impact this had on attitudes towards race, immigration, and eugenics. This is an imaginative and solid work of scholarship, with an important historical message and useful lessons for scholars today."
-Stanley Engerman, John Munro Professor of Economics and Professor of History, University of Rochester
Sandra J. Peart, Professor of Economics at Baldwin-Wallace College, has published articles on utilitarianism, the methodology of J. S. Mill, and the transition to neoclassicism. This is her fourth book. David M. Levy is Professor of Economics at George Mason University and Director of the Center for Study of Public Choice. This is his third book.