Eugenics in Eastern Europe, 1870s–1945 - Oxford Handbooks
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date: 30 November 2015

Abstract and Keywords

Eugenics is a powerful tool used both for imperial control and for nationalist anti-imperial challenges from the Baltic to the Balkans. This article deals with the role of race theories and eugenics that has become a subject of scholarly engagement. Eugenics serves as a rationale for separating communities according to their national identity and to redistribute resources along ethnocentric lines as part of an imperial discourse. It presents an array of institutional developments connected to eugenics in this region. It shows that as the medical profession flourished in post-imperial eastern Europe, doctors of the new ethnic majorities saw opportunities open up—professionally, economically, and socially. Finally, it examines the importance of constructing a discourse that focuses on preserving and strengthening the potentialities of the underprivileged, poor, uneducated peasants for the purpose of making a persuasive argument with the political and social elites.

Keywords: eugenics, imperial control, ethnic majorities, eastern Europe, medical profession

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