Paper Title

The History of Eugenics and Sterilization through an Intersectional Lens

Panel

Life at the Intersection(s): Eugenics and Reproductive Justice

Location

Room 214, West Center

Start Date

1-4-2016 5:00 PM

End Date

1-4-2016 6:15 PM

Keywords

Eugenics, Sterilization, Intersectionality, Buck v Bell, Supreme Court

Abstract

My paper will address the need for an intersectional analysis of past and present eugenics and state­-sponsored sterilization policies. By incorporating gender, race, class, ability status, sexuality, and other identities into exploring who was and is targeted and perceived by eugenicists and sterilization programs to be inferior, I hope to fully acknowledge how the kyriarchy has defined and stymied reproductive justice for many communities. Through this more nuanced analysis I strive to offer a better understanding of the Supreme Court cases Buck v Bell and Skinner v Oklahoma within both their historical and modern­day contexts. The entry point for this paper will be a critique of Paul A. Lombardo’s text Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell, which examines the eugenics movement prior to, during, and after the Buck v Bell decision. Although Lombardo’s text offers an extensive history of the American eugenics movement, Lombardo fails to engage in a consistent intersectional discussion of how race, class, and gender in particular created and informed who was targeted by the eugenics movement, forced into labor colonies, and sterilized. Three Generations, No Imbeciles offers the historical framework in which to incorporate additional scholarship from disability, queer, gender, and race studies to offer insight into eugenics and sterilization, and how Supreme Court cases, such as Buck v Bell (which has never been overturned) can be used to further marginalize the same communities.

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Apr 1st, 5:00 PM Apr 1st, 6:15 PM

The History of Eugenics and Sterilization through an Intersectional Lens

Room 214, West Center

My paper will address the need for an intersectional analysis of past and present eugenics and state­-sponsored sterilization policies. By incorporating gender, race, class, ability status, sexuality, and other identities into exploring who was and is targeted and perceived by eugenicists and sterilization programs to be inferior, I hope to fully acknowledge how the kyriarchy has defined and stymied reproductive justice for many communities. Through this more nuanced analysis I strive to offer a better understanding of the Supreme Court cases Buck v Bell and Skinner v Oklahoma within both their historical and modern­day contexts. The entry point for this paper will be a critique of Paul A. Lombardo’s text Three Generations, No Imbeciles: Eugenics, the Supreme Court, and Buck v. Bell, which examines the eugenics movement prior to, during, and after the Buck v Bell decision. Although Lombardo’s text offers an extensive history of the American eugenics movement, Lombardo fails to engage in a consistent intersectional discussion of how race, class, and gender in particular created and informed who was targeted by the eugenics movement, forced into labor colonies, and sterilized. Three Generations, No Imbeciles offers the historical framework in which to incorporate additional scholarship from disability, queer, gender, and race studies to offer insight into eugenics and sterilization, and how Supreme Court cases, such as Buck v Bell (which has never been overturned) can be used to further marginalize the same communities.