By Wendy Kline
Wendy Kline's lucid cultural background of eugenics in the US emphasizes the movement's primary, carrying on with interplay with well known notions of gender and morality. Kline exhibits how eugenics could appear a potential technique to difficulties of ethical illness and sexuality, particularly girl sexuality, in the course of the 1st 1/2 the 20 th century. Its attract social judgment of right and wrong and shared wants to enhance the relations and civilization sparked frequent public in addition to clinical curiosity. Kline lines this becoming public curiosity by means of various assets, together with the fantastic "morality masque" that climaxed the 1915 Panama Pacific foreign Exposition; the national correspondence of the influential Human Betterment beginning in Pasadena, California; the scientific and sufferer files of a "model" nation establishment that sterilized millions of allegedly feebleminded girls in California among 1900 and 1960; the amazing political and renowned help for sterilization that survived preliminary curiosity in, after which disassociation from, Nazi eugenics rules; and a commonly publicized court docket case in 1936 concerning the sterilization of a filthy rich younger girl deemed unworthy via her mom of getting teenagers. Kline's enticing account displays the shift from "negative eugenics" (preventing procreation of the "unfit") to "positive eugenics," which inspired procreation of the "fit," and it finds that the "golden age" of eugenics truly happened lengthy after so much historians declare the flow had vanished. The middle-class "passion for parenthood" within the '50s had its roots, she reveals, within the confident eugenics crusade of the '30s and '40s. Many concerns that originated within the eugenics stream stay debatable this day, similar to using IQ trying out, the scientific ethics of sterilization, the ethical and felony implications of cloning and genetic screening, or even the controversy on relations values of the Nineteen Nineties. development a greater Race not just areas eugenics on the middle of contemporary reevaluations of woman sexuality and morality but in addition recognizes eugenics as an important point of significant social and cultural pursuits within the 20th century.
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Additional info for Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom
61 It was thus in opposition to normality that mental deWciency came to be understood by physicians and psychologists. In the quest to categorize and diagnose the feebleminded, a new language and a framework for “normal” intellectual development emerged as a focal point. Developed by psychologists and eugenicists, this language tapped into a burgeoning twentieth-century interest in the concept of normality and the centrality of intelligence to human progress. Though the western frontier of the United States was closing, Progressivism emphasized a new natural resource that required not land but mental cultivation: intelligence.
43 Social observers in the early twentieth century, concerned about what they believed to be the destructive forces on the home front, made the same assumption that Darwin had. The “inferior members of society” were more promiscuous and therefore more proliWc than their superiors, they believed, and this promiscuity created the increase of mental and moral defectives. The most visible new Wgure challenging the manners and morals of Victorian culture—the working-class “woman adrift” or “charity girl”—took much of the blame.
The expansion of the Sonoma State Home reXected this “girl problem” and one possible solution: segregation. California’s State Commission in Lunacy, the State Board of Charities and Corrections, and Sonoma medical superintendent William Dawson targeted women as potential social problems as early as 1904.