Sunday, February 21, 2010


Washington's blog today has an interesting post arguing that eugenics was an American idea. I have researched eugenics during the course of writing my 3 books. Eugenics was indeed popularized in the US. However, my readings of old nineteenth century journals found examples of eugenic discourses--although they were not labeled as such--in English academic journals from at least the 1840s forward.

Why should we look back in time to see how eugenics emerged and was popularized?

I believe there is a new eugenic discourse emerging in behavioral genetics and psychopharmacology as researchers attempt to link gene alleles with behaviors, traits, and dispositions. This research is problematic for ignoring the synergy across environment and biology and it is dangerous because it introduces the idea that some people carry "risky," "dangerous," or "bad" genes.

This argument is most thoroughly developed in my book on governmentality and biopower. I am hardly alone in making this argument. There is an entire literature of excellent critiques of genetic reductionism....

As the U.S. culture is menaced by creeping fascism we must vigilantly scan for and debunk eugenic discourses and practices...

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