Sterilized by the State: Eugenics in Post-War Segregationist America”
Professor Desmond King
Straus Fellow, NYU School of Law;
Andrew W. Mellon Professor of American Government, University of Oxford
Date: Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 at 6pm
Time: 6:00-7:30pm Lecture
7:30-8:30pm Post-lecture Reception
Vanderbilt Hall, 3rd Floor
40 Washington Square S.
New York, NY 10012
Please kindly RSVP, if you would like to attend.
Lecture Synopsis: The influence and application of eugenic ideas and polices are considered to have been definitively discredited by the Second World War because of their association with racism and Nazism. However, in North America involuntary eugenic sterilization policies persisted after 1945 and continued into the late 1970s. Indeed as recently as July 2013 the North Carolina state legislature passed a law awarding $10 million to be shared amongst surviving victims of the state’s policy and following other states such as Oregon formally apologized to those victims. In the United States eugenic sterilization got entangled with the great reforms of the 1960s including the developing welfare state. Drawing on his new book (co-authored with Randall Hansen), Sterilized by the State: Eugenics, Race and the Population Scare in Twentieth-Century North America (Cambridge UP) Desmond King shows why eugenic sterilization policy persisted after the 1940s in the United States and Canada. Drawing on new archival research and interviews King argues that pro-sterilization advocates repositioned themselves after 1945. Consequently both eugenic arguments ad committed eugenicists informed population, welfare, and birth control policy in post-war North America.