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date: 19 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses largely on Italy as a case study of eugenics in Catholic southern Europe. It shows the extent of transnational linkages and interconnectedness within eugenics, not only at the level of international science congresses, but also, through the formation of a “Latin” federation of eugenic organizations, spanning Europe and Latin America. It also examines Catholic responses to eugenics within a comparative context. Italian culture probably plays a large part in encouraging Italian eugenicists to question the absolute certainties and collectivist ambitions of some of their colleagues abroad. This article further discusses “social eugenics” used by social eugenicists to describe their aims and to distinguish their movement from those with a more hereditarian, selectionist, or eliminationist orientation.

Keywords: eugenics, southern Europe, Italian culture, social eugenics, Catholic responses

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