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date: 19 September 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Eugenics is central to the history of disability in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Recently, scholars in a number of disciplines have debated whether the biopolitical regime that emerged in the waning decades of the twentieth century can be called “eugenic.” Some scholars claim that although distinctions can be made between an “old” eugenics (1860s–1950s) and a “new” eugenics (1960s–present), the basic tenets of eugenics have endured. Other scholars, Nikolas Rose being the most prominent among them, assert that the biopolitics at the turn of the twenty-first century is significantly different from the “old” eugenics and must be analyzed on its own terms. The question of whether one can write a “long” history of eugenics has animated a lively debate among historians. When viewed through the lens of disability, important continuities emerge between the history of eugenics and the current biopolitical regime.

Keywords: biopolitics, disability, eugenics, old eugenics, new eugenics, Nikolas Rose, genetics

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