Improving the Race: The Eugenics Movement in America
Eugenics--an attempt to improve the human race by controlled selective reproduction--became a powerful movement in America in the early twentieth century. Many Americans today know that these ideas were adopted by Nazi eugenicists in the years leading up to World War II, but far fewer know that Nazi scientists closely collaborated with American eugenicists. This presentation by Karen Keely outlines the surprising history of the eugenics movement in America, explores its connections with Nazi eugenicists, and looks at illustrations of eugenics in American popular culture, from women's magazines to the "Better Baby" and "Fitter Family" contests that were popular in state fairs. Requires a slide projector and screen. Adult audiences.
Karen A. Keely is Assistant Professor of English and American Studies at Mount Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg. She holds a B.A. in English & Economics from the College of William and Mary, an M.A. in English from the University of Minnesota, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles.