Start Date

20-4-2017 10:30 AM

End Date

20-4-2017 11:45 AM

Disciplines

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Subjects

Involuntary sterilization -- United States -- History, Human Betterment Foundation, Eugenics -- United States -- History, Eugenics -- Popular works -- Criticism and interpretation

Abstract

The sterilizations of over 200,000 Americans is an often forgotten part of Western science’s not so distant past. Sterilization was proposed as a eugenic solution to combat societal issues attributed to genetics, such as criminality, pauperism, and feeblemindedness. Sterilization laws began to be implemented in several American states. However, it was not until the 1920s, that eugenics advocates E.S. Gosney and Paul Popenoe created the Human Betterment Foundation to introduce the complex conjecture of eugenics to the layman. Drawing upon the original publications by the HBF, Sterilization for Human Benefit and “Human Sterilization Today”, and contemporary reviews, this paper explores the extent to which the documents impacted the sterilization movement. This paper posits that Gosney and Popenoe’s publications, Sterilization for Human Benefit and “Human Sterilization Today,” propelled widespread implementation of sterilization as a eugenic solution, nationally and globally, by generating credible and accessible analysis of California’s sterilization successes and eugenic propaganda that destigmatized human sterilization.

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Persistent Identifier

http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/20239

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Apr 20th, 10:30 AM Apr 20th, 11:45 AM

The Escalation of Human Sterilization in the 1900s

The sterilizations of over 200,000 Americans is an often forgotten part of Western science’s not so distant past. Sterilization was proposed as a eugenic solution to combat societal issues attributed to genetics, such as criminality, pauperism, and feeblemindedness. Sterilization laws began to be implemented in several American states. However, it was not until the 1920s, that eugenics advocates E.S. Gosney and Paul Popenoe created the Human Betterment Foundation to introduce the complex conjecture of eugenics to the layman. Drawing upon the original publications by the HBF, Sterilization for Human Benefit and “Human Sterilization Today”, and contemporary reviews, this paper explores the extent to which the documents impacted the sterilization movement. This paper posits that Gosney and Popenoe’s publications, Sterilization for Human Benefit and “Human Sterilization Today,” propelled widespread implementation of sterilization as a eugenic solution, nationally and globally, by generating credible and accessible analysis of California’s sterilization successes and eugenic propaganda that destigmatized human sterilization.