The Hour of Eugenics": Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America by Nancy Leys StepanThe Hour of Eugenics": Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America by Nancy Leys Stepan

The Hour of Eugenics": Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America

byNancy Leys Stepan

Paperback | November 14, 1996

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Eugenics was a term coined in 1883 to name the scientific and social theory which advocated "race improvement" through selective human breeding. In Europe and the United States the eugenics movement found many supporters before it was finally discredited by its association with the racist ideology of Nazi Germany. Examining for the first time how eugenics was taken up by scientists and social reformers in Latin America, Nancy Leys Stepan compares the eugenics movements in Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina with the more familiar cases of Britain, the United States, and Germany.

In this highly original account, Stepan sheds new light on the role of science in reformulating issues of race, gender, reproduction, and public health in an era when the focus on national identity was particularly intense. Drawing upon a rich body of evidence concerning the technical publications and professional meetings of Latin American eugenicists, she examines how they adapted eugenic principles to local contexts between the world wars. Stepan shows that Latin American eugenicists diverged considerably from their counterparts in Europe and the United States in their ideological approach and their interpretations of key texts concerning heredity.

Nancy Leys Stepan is Professor Emeritus of History at Columbia University. She is the author of Eradication, "The Hour of Eugenics": Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin America and Picturing Tropical Nature, all from Cornell.
Title:The Hour of Eugenics": Race, Gender, and Nation in Latin AmericaFormat:PaperbackDimensions:248 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.24 inPublished:November 14, 1996Publisher:Cornell University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801497957

ISBN - 13:9780801497957

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Science and Social Knowledge

1. The New Genetics and the Beginnings of Eugenics

2. Eugenics in Latin America: Its Origins and Institutional Ecology

3. Racial Poisons and the Politics of Heredity in Latin America in the 1920s

4. "Matrimonial Eugenics": Gender and the Construction of Negative Eugenics

5. National Identities and Racial Transformations

6. U.S., Pan American, and Latin Visions of Eugenics

7. Conclusion: Science and the Politics of Interpretation


From Our Editors

This book addresses the scientific and social movement known as eugenics, a word invented in 1883 (from the Greek eugenes, meaning 'wellborn') by the British scientist Francis Galton to encompass the social uses to which knowledge of heredity could be put in order to achieve the goal of 'better breeding'.

Editorial Reviews

"Race is the primary focus in Nancy Leys Stepan's fascinating account of the fortunes of eugenic ideas and policies in the racially mixed setting of Latin America. . . . Stepan has now made a significant contribution to an international picture of the development of race and population policies. It is particularly useful in showing the remarkable plasticity of racist discourses on reproduction."—Signs