Symposium: Perspectives on the Eugenic Mind

May 25th: “Perspectives on the Eugenic Mind”, supported by the ARC Laureate project “A Philosophy of Medicine for the 21st Century” and the Politics, Governance and Ethics Program of the Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney.

This is half-day symposium features Rob Wilson (philosophy), Lynette Russell (history, indigenous studies), Evelleen Richards (history of science), Hans Pols (history of medicine and decolonization), and Adam Hochman (philosophy of race).

Part science and part social movement, eugenics emerged in the late nineteenth century as a tool for human improvement. In response to perceived threats of criminality, moral degeneration, feeble-mindedness, and “the rising tide of color,” eugenic laws and social policies aimed to better the human race by regulating reproductive choice through science and technology. In his new book The Eugenic Mind Project, Rob Wilson examines eugenic thought and practice — from forced sterilization to prenatal screening — drawing on his experience working with eugenics survivors.

Using the social sciences’ standpoint theory as a framework to understand the intersection of eugenics, disability, social inclusiveness, and human variation, Wilson focuses on those who have lived through a eugenic past and those confronted by the legacy of eugenic thinking today.  By doing so, he brings eugenics from the distant past to the ongoing present. In this symposium Australian scholars offer their perspective on eugenics, its history and its contemporary relevance.


Posted in Workshop.