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

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Cornell University Press, 1991 - Science - 210 pages
3 Reviews
Eugenics was a term coined in 1883 to name the scientific and social theory that 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 the problems of race, gender, reproduction, and public health in a time of intensified searching for new national identities. Drawing upon a rich body of evidence concerning the technical publications and professional meetings of Latin American eugenists, she traces a vibrant picture of how they adapted eugenic principles to their varying local contexts between the world wars. Stepan demonstrates that the eugenists of Latin America diverged considerably from their counterparts in Britain and the United States in their ideological approaches and their interpretations of key texts concerning heredity. "The Hour of Eugenics" raises crucial questions about the relationship between social and cultural identity and the nature of scientific discourse. It will be essential reading for historians of science and medicine, Latin Americanists, and others interested in cultural history and women's history.

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User Review  - lisamunro - LibraryThing

i'm using this book as a text for an undergraduate class that I'm teaching on race and class in Latin America. Its a very accessible text for undergraduates and generally free of confusing academic ... Read full review

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

User Review  - Iain McNab - Goodreads

Solid account of how eugenic ideas were received and elaborated in Latin America - and how they influenced developments in social policy, especially in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil. A major theme is ... Read full review


The New Genetics and the Beginnings of Eugenics
Its Origins and Institutional
Racial Poisons and the Politics of Heredity in Latin
Gender and the Construction
National Identities and Racial Transformations
U S Pan American and Latin Visions of Eugenics
Science and the Politics of Interpretation

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About the author (1991)

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.

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