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Eugenics Part One: Gene Genies

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This week, Ian Dunt and Dorian Lynskey get started on the history of eugenics, the idea of finding biological solutions to social problems. Say the word now and it calls to mind skull-measuring cranks or Nazi death camps but for decades it was a mainstream project in many parts of the world, attracting not just white supremacists and elitist snobs but liberals, socialists and feminists. Winston Churchill, HG Wells, Nikola Tesla and John Maynard Keynes all expressed an interest. How did bad science and dangerous politics become so popular?

Dorian and Ian explore how Francis Galton and Herbert Spencer’s fascination with inherited characteristics was supercharged by Victorian science, from Darwin’s theory of evolution to early breakthroughs in genetics. They talk about how Galton’s voluntary “positive eugenics” led to the authoritarian “negative eugenics” of compulsory sterilisation, and how hardcore American eugenicists drew up a blueprint for Hitler. Also: the birth of scientific racism, the sinister history of IQ tests, how GK Chesterton helped save Britain from eugenics laws, and, yes, the people who thought you could identify criminals by the shape of their skulls. It’s a disturbing and complicated story which mangles your political preconceptions.

Support Origin Story on Patreon for exclusive benefits.

Reading list

Alison Bashford and Philippa Levine (eds) - The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (2010)

Edwin Black — War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race (2003)

Elof Axel Carlson — The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea (2001)

GK Chesterton — Eugenics and Other Evils (1922)

Charles Darwin — The Descent of Man (1871)

Lyndsay Andrew Farrall — The Origins and Growth of the English Eugenics Movement 1865-1925 (1969)

Francis Galton – Hereditary Genius (1869)

Henry H Goddard – The Kallikak Family (1912)

Stephen Jay Gould — The Mismeasure of Man (1981/1996)

Madison Grant – The Passing of the Great Race (1916)

Philippa Levine — Eugenics: A Very Short Introduction (2017)

Gina Maranto — Quest for Perfection: The Drive to Breed Better Human Beings (1996)

Adam Rutherford — Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics (2022)

Lothrop Stoddard – The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy (1920)

HG Wells – Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901)

Online:

Quinn Slobodian — ‘The rise of the new tech right’, The New Statesman (2023)

Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production by Simon Williams. Music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. Lead Producer is Anne-Marie Luff. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production.

Follow Origin Story on X

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Eugenics Part One: Gene Genies

Origin Story

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Manage episode 386026508 series 3352139
Treść dostarczona przez Podmasters. Cała zawartość podcastów, w tym odcinki, grafika i opisy podcastów, jest przesyłana i udostępniana bezpośrednio przez Podmasters lub jego partnera na platformie podcastów. Jeśli uważasz, że ktoś wykorzystuje Twoje dzieło chronione prawem autorskim bez Twojej zgody, możesz postępować zgodnie z procedurą opisaną tutaj https://pl.player.fm/legal.

This week, Ian Dunt and Dorian Lynskey get started on the history of eugenics, the idea of finding biological solutions to social problems. Say the word now and it calls to mind skull-measuring cranks or Nazi death camps but for decades it was a mainstream project in many parts of the world, attracting not just white supremacists and elitist snobs but liberals, socialists and feminists. Winston Churchill, HG Wells, Nikola Tesla and John Maynard Keynes all expressed an interest. How did bad science and dangerous politics become so popular?

Dorian and Ian explore how Francis Galton and Herbert Spencer’s fascination with inherited characteristics was supercharged by Victorian science, from Darwin’s theory of evolution to early breakthroughs in genetics. They talk about how Galton’s voluntary “positive eugenics” led to the authoritarian “negative eugenics” of compulsory sterilisation, and how hardcore American eugenicists drew up a blueprint for Hitler. Also: the birth of scientific racism, the sinister history of IQ tests, how GK Chesterton helped save Britain from eugenics laws, and, yes, the people who thought you could identify criminals by the shape of their skulls. It’s a disturbing and complicated story which mangles your political preconceptions.

Support Origin Story on Patreon for exclusive benefits.

Reading list

Alison Bashford and Philippa Levine (eds) - The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (2010)

Edwin Black — War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race (2003)

Elof Axel Carlson — The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea (2001)

GK Chesterton — Eugenics and Other Evils (1922)

Charles Darwin — The Descent of Man (1871)

Lyndsay Andrew Farrall — The Origins and Growth of the English Eugenics Movement 1865-1925 (1969)

Francis Galton – Hereditary Genius (1869)

Henry H Goddard – The Kallikak Family (1912)

Stephen Jay Gould — The Mismeasure of Man (1981/1996)

Madison Grant – The Passing of the Great Race (1916)

Philippa Levine — Eugenics: A Very Short Introduction (2017)

Gina Maranto — Quest for Perfection: The Drive to Breed Better Human Beings (1996)

Adam Rutherford — Control: The Dark History and Troubling Present of Eugenics (2022)

Lothrop Stoddard – The Rising Tide of Color Against White World Supremacy (1920)

HG Wells – Anticipations of the Reaction of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought (1901)

Online:

Quinn Slobodian — ‘The rise of the new tech right’, The New Statesman (2023)

Written and presented by Dorian Lynskey and Ian Dunt. Audio production by Simon Williams. Music by Jade Bailey. Logo art by Mischa Welsh. Lead Producer is Anne-Marie Luff. Group Editor: Andrew Harrison. Origin Story is a Podmasters production.

Follow Origin Story on X

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices

  continue reading

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