Debunking Eugenics Reader

By Mike Isaacson

Back in August, I wrote an article for Red Pepper magazine asserting the synonymy of the alt-right and its historical antecedents in the eugenics movement. The breadth of the movement’s influence at its height in late 2016 had it reaching in political spheres well beyond its original core in the white nationalist movement connected to Richard Spencer. That I catalogued this reach into GamerGate earned me quite a bit of impotent ire on the r/KotakuInAction Reddit where they claimed I didn’t know what eugenics, the alt-right, or GamerGate are.

One of the more worrying claims on the Reddit was that my account and rejection of eugenics rejects evolutionary biology and sociology. Barring a restriction to literature from before 1950, little could be further from the truth. In actuality, these disciplines widely reject the key claims of biological determinism made by eugenicists by accounting for existing legal, economic, and political institutions. What follows is a list of readings that articulate contemporary critiques of eugenics.

Jean Belkhir – Intelligence and Race, Gender, Class: The Fallacy of Genetic Determinism

Francis Collins – What We Do and Don’t Know About ‘Race’, ‘Ethnicity’, Genetics, and Health at the Dawn of the Genome Era

Audrey Smedley – “Race” and the Construction of Human Identity

Michael Barnshad et al. – Deconstructing the Relationship Between Genetics and Race

Graham Baker – Christianity and Eugenics: The Place of Religion in the British Eugenics Education Society and the American Eugenics Society, c.1907–1940

Article has been republished with permission from author’s blog, Vulgar Economics

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