By Wendy Kline
Wendy Kline's lucid cultural background of eugenics in the US emphasizes the movement's principal, carrying on with interplay with renowned notions of gender and morality. Kline indicates how eugenics could appear a plausible technique to difficulties of ethical illness and sexuality, particularly girl sexuality, in the course of the 1st 1/2 the 20th century. Its entice social judgment of right and wrong and shared wants to enhance the relatives and civilization sparked frequent public in addition to medical curiosity. Kline strains this transforming into public curiosity by means of taking a look at various resources, together with the outstanding "morality masque" that climaxed the 1915 Panama Pacific overseas Exposition; the national correspondence of the influential Human Betterment starting place in Pasadena, California; the scientific and sufferer documents of a "model" country establishment that sterilized millions of allegedly feebleminded girls in California among 1900 and 1960; the impressive political and renowned aid for sterilization that survived preliminary curiosity in, after which disassociation from, Nazi eugenics guidelines; and a greatly publicized court docket case in 1936 regarding the sterilization of a prosperous younger girl deemed unworthy through her mom of getting youngsters. 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 really happened lengthy after such a lot historians declare the stream had vanished. The middle-class "passion for parenthood" within the '50s had its roots, she unearths, within the optimistic eugenics crusade of the '30s and '40s. Many concerns that originated within the eugenics circulation stay arguable this day, corresponding to using IQ trying out, the scientific ethics of sterilization, the ethical and felony implications of cloning and genetic screening, or even the talk on kin values of the Nineties. development a greater Race not just locations eugenics on the middle of recent reevaluations of lady sexuality and morality but in addition recognizes eugenics as a vital point of significant social and cultural events 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
10 The state found a permanent site for the Home in 1891: on 1,753 acres of land near Glen Ellen in Sonoma County, where it continues to operate today as the Sonoma Developmental Center. 11 Within this rural setting, patients were sheltered from the vice and corruption of urban society. ”13 Because of widespread concern that the feebleminded were a Wnancial burden on society, superintendents emphasized the importance of education and productivity within the Home. Instead of costing taxpayers money, they sug- Kline_001_208_text 8/3/01 2:44 PM Page 36 36 CHAPTER TWO gested, the institution would beneWt society by reducing the burden of the feebleminded.
44 As the play opens, Mankind emerges as “conqueror of the world,” overly conWdent in his ability to subdue the forces of nature. ” But Mankind does not heed her call; instead, he chooses to indulge in pleasure and prepares for a dance. Initially opposed to the idea, Womankind is lured by her “love of Wnery” as Mankind oVers her beautiful clothes for the dance, and she relents. 45 The price they pay for indulging in pleasure is great; their son, Neglected Child, has become crippled by disease “through their own neglect and excesses,” and he soon dies.
Like that sculpture at the entrance of the Exposition, Womankind was portrayed in the masque as the moral force that would redeem the race. Untainted by warfare, she had the strength and virtue to build a uniWed, healthy family and instill husbands and sons with morality. Moreover, she recognized the signiWcance of her role as mother and did not question her position within the family. The mother of tomorrow reaYrmed the nineteenth-century “cult of true womanhood,” which positioned women as arbiters of morality within the home and dissuaded women from asserting too much social and sexual independence.
Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom by Wendy Kline