Event Title

Perceived Differences: Twentieth Century Eugenics and Scientific Racism in the West

Presenter Information

Ashlynn BeairdFollow

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Colin Snider

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Date of Publication

April 2021

Abstract

In this research, I explored the relationship between scientific racism and eugenics in association with white supremacy. I studied the origins of these practices by starting at the ideological and intellectual frameworks on which these harmful concepts were founded upon. For instance, scientific racism has its roots going back centuries, all the way back to the Age of Enlightenment in terms of its foundation. The primary question I formulated to potentially guide my research was: How did notions from the Enlightenment era develop into and come to influence scientific racism and eugenics in Western nations in the 20th century and beyond? I tackled this question by starting with analyzing documents and writings from Enlightenment thinkers and their evolution, then sought to answer the questions of: Who connected these ideas with racial superiority? Who and how did they take it further? Who were the first to bring these ideas into physical manifestation? Where did it start and where did it end? Has it actually ended? I wanted to look at this subject under the scope of how this influenced cultural and social history going from the 20th century into modern times and perhaps explore how ideas of scientific racism and eugenics looked in politics at the time, both in Europe and the US. I wanted to study the elements of the "scientific" racial line made evident among studies made by contemporary epidemiological scientists and geneticists, who still utilize race as an agent for environmental and social factors. Essentially, I wanted to create a timeline of scientific discrimination that include factors of racism and ableism.

Keywords

History, scientific racism, eugenics

Persistent Identifier

http://hdl.handle.net/10950/3096

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Perceived Differences: Twentieth Century Eugenics and Scientific Racism in the West

In this research, I explored the relationship between scientific racism and eugenics in association with white supremacy. I studied the origins of these practices by starting at the ideological and intellectual frameworks on which these harmful concepts were founded upon. For instance, scientific racism has its roots going back centuries, all the way back to the Age of Enlightenment in terms of its foundation. The primary question I formulated to potentially guide my research was: How did notions from the Enlightenment era develop into and come to influence scientific racism and eugenics in Western nations in the 20th century and beyond? I tackled this question by starting with analyzing documents and writings from Enlightenment thinkers and their evolution, then sought to answer the questions of: Who connected these ideas with racial superiority? Who and how did they take it further? Who were the first to bring these ideas into physical manifestation? Where did it start and where did it end? Has it actually ended? I wanted to look at this subject under the scope of how this influenced cultural and social history going from the 20th century into modern times and perhaps explore how ideas of scientific racism and eugenics looked in politics at the time, both in Europe and the US. I wanted to study the elements of the "scientific" racial line made evident among studies made by contemporary epidemiological scientists and geneticists, who still utilize race as an agent for environmental and social factors. Essentially, I wanted to create a timeline of scientific discrimination that include factors of racism and ableism.