Disrupting the Legacies of Eugenics

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on September 21, 2021

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Second International Eugenics Congressone of a series that took place between the years of 1912 and 1932 where global leaders in academia, policy, and medicine came together to advance their view of humanity. At this time, eugenics was a new branch of scientific inquiry that advanced the notion that some human groups are superior to others and that, ultimately, the inferior groups ought to be eliminated from the population through various means. It was at this second gatheringheld at the American Museum of Natural History in New York Citythat a political program centered around “eliminating the unfit” and encouraging reproduction only amongst particular populations was articulated on the global stage and operationalized in policy. Eugenics would be leveraged to give a host of oppressive policies like anti-miscegenation and forced sterilization laws a veneer of scientific legitimacy. In connection with these events, a number of parallel practices surrounding immigration and even intelligence testing gained increasing currency, leaving an enduring mark on a wide variety of peoples and societies around the world.

Read More

Topics: Eugenics/Race Science

How One Student Is Removing His School's Ties to the Eugenics Movement

Posted by Stacey Perlman on September 20, 2017

Kobi Johnsson knows the importance of a name. That’s why he felt he needed to take action when he learned his middle school’s namesake was an influential leader in the Eugenics movement. He and his father, Lars, set out on a three-year journey to change David Starr Jordan Middle School to something more inclusive.

Read More

Topics: Eugenics/Race Science

Short Films on Race and Racism from the New York Times

Posted by Adam Strom on November 6, 2015

In an interview with Facing History and Ourselves, sociologist Claude Steele explained that “stereotypes are one way in which history affects present life.” Stereotypes about race are among the most common. The challenge many of us face is that there are few opportunities to talk about the impact of stereotypes, where they come from, and how to break them down. Schools can provide opportunities for these important discussions, yet teachers too often lack both resources and professional development to help them navigate what can be difficult terrain.

Read More

Topics: Classrooms, Race and Membership, Teaching Resources, Video, Eugenics/Race Science, New York Times

At Facing History and Ourselves, we value conversation—in classrooms, in our professional development for educators, and online. When you comment on Facing Today, you're engaging with our worldwide community of learners, so please take care that your contributions are constructive, civil, and advance the conversation.


Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all