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American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of by Nancy Ordover

By Nancy Ordover

The Nazis can have given eugenics its unfavourable connotations, however the practice-and the "science" that helps it-is nonetheless disturbingly alive in the United States in anti-immigration tasks, the search for a "gay gene," and theories of collective intelligence. Tracing the old roots and patience of eugenics within the usa, Nancy Ordover explores the political and cultural weather that has endowed those campaigns with mass charm and medical legitimacy.
American Eugenics demonstrates how organic theories of race, gender, and sexuality are crucially associated via a priority with regulating the "unfit." those hyperlinks emerge in Ordover's exam of 3 separate yet eventually similar American eugenics campaigns: early twentieth-century anti-immigration crusades; clinical types and interventions imposed on (and occasionally embraced through) lesbians, gays, transgendered humans, and bisexuals; and the obligatory sterilization of negative girls and ladies of colour. all through, her paintings finds how built notions of race, gender, sexuality, and kingdom are placed to ideological makes use of and the way "faith in science" can undermine innovative social pursuits, drawing liberals and conservatives alike into eugenics-based discourse and rules.
Nancy Ordover is an self sustaining student who lives in ny urban.

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Additional resources for American Eugenics: Race, Queer Anatomy, and the Science of Nationalism

Sample text

Certainly, journal contributors, desirous of self-promotion, tended to exaggerate their sphere 6 ImagiNation of political influence (their manipulation of statistics is particularly striking). Their words alone are not sufficient to judge their impact on the legislative process. At the same time, their bent toward self-aggrandizement made them diligent chroniclers of both the eugenics movement and the major anti-immigrant campaigns of their day. 4 But the physical and ideological construction of the nation is a project that can never be completed, requiring constant monitoring and patrolling of literal and figurative borders.

As Balibar ImagiNation 7 has written, it cannot be disentangled from racism6 or from xenophobia— both of which it absorbed, both of which marked the same immigrant groups as inadmissible. The nationalism cultivated by early twentiethcentury eugenicists relied largely upon a default mechanism. ”8 In constructing entire racialized categories of demonized others, eugenicists put forth an ideologically purified America—purged of past sins and guarded against future menace. The eugenics project revolved around imagining the nation: what it was (now threatened) and what it might be (with and without government and medical intervention).

These “peculiarities” included “nerve storms, poorly controlled grief, . . untimely mirth, sensual morbidity and perversion, sullenness, facial tic . . sick headaches . . signs of genius in certain lines . . ’. . ” In 1914 Knox wrote that “the number of alien insane in the country is much larger than is generally supposed. . ”14 Given the unqualified tabulations being offered in those years, it is difficult to take Knox’s claim of an undercount too seriously. S. 15 This was not, of course, a comment on which groups were the most likely to get ensnared in the asylum system and why.

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