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

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U of Minnesota Press, 2003 - Medical - 297 pages
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Traces the history of eugenics ideology in the United States and its ongoing presence in contemporary life. The Nazis may have given eugenics its negative connotations, but the practice--and the "science" that supports it--is still disturbingly alive in America in anti-immigration initiatives, the quest for a "gay gene, " and theories of collective intelligence. Tracing the historical roots and persistence of eugenics in the United States, Nancy Ordover explores the political and cultural climate that has endowed these campaigns with mass appeal and scientific legitimacy. American Eugenics demonstrates how biological theories of race, gender, and sexuality are crucially linked through a concern with regulating the "unfit." These links emerge in Ordover's examination of three separate but ultimately related American eugenics campaigns: early twentieth-century anti-immigration crusades; medical models and interventions imposed on (and sometimes embraced by) lesbians, gays, transgendered people, and bisexuals; and the compulsory sterilization of poor women and women of color. Throughout, her work reveals how constructed notions of race, gender, sexuality, and nation are put to ideological uses and how "faith in science" can undermine progressive social movements, drawing liberals and conservatives alike into eugenics-based discourse and policies.
 

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Contents

National Hygiene TwentiethCentury Immigration and the Eugenics Lobby
1
ImagiNation
3
Calculating Hysteria
9
The Immigrant Within
32
Scientific Racism and the Eugenic Endowment
45
Indiscriminate Kindness and Maudlin Sentimentalism Fighting the Philanthropic Impulse
51
The Abiding Panic
54
Queer Anatomy One Hundred Years of Diagnosis Dissection and Political Strategy
57
AIDS Backlash and the Myth of Liberatory Biologism
119
Sterilization and Beyond The Liberal Appeal of the Technofix
125
Liberal Loopholes
127
Buck v Bell and Before
133
Margaret Sanger and the Eugenic Compact
137
Racism Eugenics and Liberal Accomplices after World War II
159
Norplant and Beyond
179
The Constant Consensus
195

Science as Savior
59
Moral Imperatives Hereditarian Hypotheses and the Letter of the Law
70
Appeals and Miscalculations
83
Gender Race and the Strategy of Metaphor
88
An Additive Model of Causation Theories
102
Quinacrine the Next Wave
202
Conclusion
206
Notes
217
Index
275
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