- The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics
- Introduction: Eugenics and the Modern World
- The Darwinian Context: Evolution and Inheritance
- Anthropology, Colonialism, and Eugenics
- Race, Science, and Eugenics in the Twentieth Century
- Eugenics and the Science of Genetics
- Fertility Control: Eugenics, Neo-Malthusianism, and Feminism
- Disability, Psychiatry, and Eugenics
- Eugenics and the State: Policy-Making in Comparative Perspective
- Internationalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Eugenics
- Gender and Sexuality: A Global Tour and Compass
- Eugenics and genocide
- Eugenics in Britain: The View from the Metropole
- South Asia's Eugenic Past
- Eugenics in Australia and New Zealand: Laboratories of Racial Science
- Eugenics in China and Hong Kong: Nationalism and Colonialism, 1890s–1940s
- South Africa: Paradoxes in the Place of Race
- Eugenics in Colonial Kenya
- Eugenics in Postcolonial Southeast Asia
- German Eugenics and the Wider World: Beyond the Racial State
- Eugenics in France and the Colonies
- Eugenics in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies
- The Scandinavian States: Reformed Eugenics Applied
- The First-Wave Eugenic Revolution in Southern Europe: Science <i>sans frontières</i>
- Eugenics in Eastern Europe, 1870s–1945
- Eugenics in Russia and the Soviet Union
- Eugenics in Japan: Sanguinous Repair
- Eugenics in Interwar Iran
- Eugenics and the Jews
- Eugenics Policy and Practice in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Mexico
- The Path of Eugenics in Brazil: Dilemmas of Miscegenation
- Eugenics in the United States
- Eugenics in Canada: A Checkered History, 1850s–1990s
- Epilogue: where did eugenics go?
Abstract and Keywords
This article deals with the history of eugenics, which started as a science-based movement to combat threatening degeneration. It was initiated by idealistic scientists and was inspired by a humanistic Enlightenment ideal of science as the servant of human welfare. The general goal was to improve the biological heredity of human populations. The article considers the main scientific input to the birth of eugenics and looks at the Darwinian theory of evolution. Furthermore, it deals with the distinction between positive and negative eugenics that is central to eugenic policy discussions. It further discusses the dispute between eugenics and genetics that raised the possibility that race crossings could produce genetically unbalanced and thus inferior hybrids. Finally, it concludes with some implications that make the best out of eugenics by establishing effective democratic political control of its practical applications.
Nils Roll-Hansen is Professor Emeritus of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Oslo. He has published on Pasteur and spontaneous generation, the origins of classical Mendelian genetics, plant breeding, environmental science, and eugenics. The Lysenko Effect: The Politics of Science (2005) investigates how certain science policy doctrines undermined the rationality and autonomy of science. Eugenics and the Welfare State (1995, 2005), coedited with Gunnar Broberg, investigates eugenics and sterilization policy in Scandinavia. Major present interests include the formation of classical genetics around 1900, and the importance of distinguishing basic and applied research in the politics of science.
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