Using Primary Sources to Understand the American Eugenics Movement

nerc46-presbannerTuesday, Seminar I, 1:45–2:45

Using Primary Sources to Understand the American Eugenics Movement

Dana Waring and Lauren Tomaselli, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Explore the history of the American eugenics movement using primary and secondary materials. Eugenics argues it is possible to improve the human race through selective breeding of certain groups, and discouraging reproduction by others. We examine why these ideas were popularized in the early part of the 20th century, and illustrate the global impact and current concerns that still persist as a result of a government program that performed sterilizations without knowledge or consent.

Target Audience: High School, College/University

Strand Identification: U.S. History, Civics/Government, Diversity Issues