slides of the JSM round table

Here are the slides I built as support of my discussion, inspired by readings like Kevles’ In the Name of Eugenism and others listed on the final slide, as well as Wikipedia entries. Nothing original or new, to be sure.

4 Responses to “slides of the JSM round table”

  1. Jean-Louis FOULLEY Says:

    A possible explanation for France to have been out of this eugenic (raciologist) movement has been put forward by Jean-Pierre Bocquel-Appel, in a 1996 article commenting an interview of Henri Victor Valois, an eminent French anthropologist and of Gustave Malécot, the 4th mousketeer of mathematical population genetics founders . Bocquel-Appel hypothesized that Lamarckism which has been the dominant doctrine in France up to the mid twentieth century (Neo-Lamarckism of Pierre-Paul Grassé) would have saved the French anthropology from racial drifting as it happened in Germany. As a matter of fact, German anthropologists and geneticists were highly influenced by a mixture a physical (raciologist) orientation of anthropology and by social Darwinism. As pointed out by Bocquel-Appel, the purpose was the same in both cases i.e., to change phenotypes either by modifying gene frequencies or by improving environmental conditions. This debate between Heredity and Environment (Nature vs Nurture) has never stopped and is coming back regularly on the scene since that time, disguised under new names (Mendelian Genetics vs Epigenetics, nowadays) but still very alive.

    • Merci, Jean-Louis. I also read this explanation, but note there were also notable French extreme eugenists as well such as the 1912 Nobel Prize Alexis Carrel, friend to Charles Lindbergh . And the 1913 Nobel Prize Charles Richet.

  2. roger koenker Says:

    In a world of either/or (like/dislike) these slides constitute a refreshingly balanced, unanachronistic perspective.

    • Thank you! Mind however that quotes therein are not particularly objective in that they have been selected to illustrate my point which was trying to set the eugenics story of the firt part of the 20th Century within the relevant historical time frame.

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