June 10-12, 2004 in Stony Brook Manhattan, New York City Apply: SUSB
There is a current dispute on the interpretation of eugenics. One school initiated by Daniel Kevles and, in its extreme form by Edwin Black, argues that eugenics was a largely selfish movement in which those with power and middle class or monied values trampled the rights of those who were working class, poor or “unsocial.” The other school, represented by William Schneider, Wendy Kline, and myself, argues that eugenics was a worldwide movement that embraced the public health movement and inspired many idealists into improving humanity through selective breeding. It was, in this second view, also a hodge-podge of often conflicting movements that united in a common eugenics umbrella. We will discuss the views of the different authors and their supporters in their interpretation of the eugenics movement from it s inceptions to the end of WWII. We will then discuss the rise of human genetic services and those who attack it as “eugenics through a backdoor.” Finally we will discuss the implications of the human genome project, comparative genomics, proteomics, and transcriptomics in relation to imagined (likely and unlikely) transformations of humanity and to what degree these might be called the future of eugenics.
For college teachers in all disciplines. Prerequisites: none
Dr. Carlson is a geneticist and historian of science. He is the author of several books in the history of genetics, including most recently, The Unfit: A History of a Bad Idea (2001) and Mendel’s Legacy: The Origin of Classical Genetics (2004). He taught at Queens University (Ontario) and UCLA before coming to Stony Brook University in 1968 where he stayed until his retirement in 2001. He is the recipient of the Harbison Award for gifted teaching of the Danforth Foundation and a Fellow of the AAAS. Carlson also has written a newspaper column on the life sciences since 1997. It appears in three North shore newspapers on Long Island, NY.
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