The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (Oxford Handbooks) 1st Edition, Kindle Edition
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About the Author
Alison Bashford is Professor of Modern History at the University of Sydney. She has published widely on the modern history of science and medicine, including Purity and Pollution and Imperial Hygiene, and has co-edited Contagion, Isolation, and Medicine at the Border.
Philippa Levine is the Mary Helen Thompson Centennial Professor in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin. Her books include Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire, and The British Empire, Sunrise to Sunset.
--This text refers to the hardcover edition.
- ASIN : B009PKTRRI
- Publisher : Oxford University Press; 1st edition (September 24, 2010)
- Publication date : September 24, 2010
- Language : English
- File size : 8154 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 610 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,511,047 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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It most obvious failure comes from the fact that eugenics underwent radical changes after 2000 and these changes are not covered in this book. The American eugenics society renamed itself the Society of Biodemography and Social Biology in 2010 following a long power struggle which began in 2000. Biodemography is a new form of eugenics which is being sponsored by a unit of the US government - the Biological and Social Research division of the National Institute of Aging at NIH. The Handbook does not even explain the term - biodemography, let alone discuss the significance of a government sponsoring eugenics for the first time since the Nazi debacle. Granted that the changes in eugenics were not complete in 2003 when the Handbook was published, it remains the case that the book completely misses the change.
Moreover, the English society responded to the changes in the American society though in a somewhat subtle way. Beginning in 2006 a series of conferences were initiated by the Galton Institute which are directly connected to the biodemographical movement.(The Galton Institute is the British eugenics society which renamed itself in 1979.) One such conference in Bristol in 2008 was sponsored by the Max Planck Institute of Demographic Research, which is the Vatican of the field of biodemography. The Galton Institute is also sponsoring the conferences of the European Human Behavior Association which was founded by Tom Dickins, currently a Galton Institute Council member. An interest in behavior genetics is a characteristic of biodemography. The Handbook does not discuss any of this. Nor are similarities and differences between the British and American versions of biodemography discussed.
Another point is that there would not be a new version of eugenics if the old version were not flawed in the eyes of the eugenicists themselves. But the Handbook does not even discuss issues which, it turns out, were so important to eugenicists themselves that disputes over them tore the American society apart. (No new Officers or Directors of the American society were elected between 1999 and 2008 according to the society journal whereas new Officers and Directors were being elected in from 2004 on according to IRS filings and the CV's of current Board members.)
One such dispute centers on the failure of the Theory of the Demographic Transition to predict the demographic realities of the year 2000 - increasing life expectancy and low, low fertility. The Handbook does not discuss this. There are others.
Another flaw in the Handbook is the presence of unacknowledged members of the various eugenics societies who are allowed by the authors of the Handbook to make statements without acknowledging their eugenic connections. This vitiates all the history presented. Lesley Hall, for instance, who wrote the chapter on English eugenics, is in 2011 a member of the Galton Institute Council. David J Galton who is quoted frequently in the Handbook, is a vice president of the Institute in 2011.
I do not think that a book which purports to be Handbook can be considered a good book when it misses so many important issues and when it blindly follows the interpretation of eugenic history offered by eugenic society members. As a period piece it has value.