Eugenics Masterclass

This Masterclass will be suitable for those postgraduate students and others interested in the influences of racism, particularly the control of natural reproduction; concepts associated with genomics and global influences in history and will include a Q&A with Professor Simon Easteal and Azure Hermes from the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics, Australian National University.

Description: Eugenics, sometimes called the science of good breeding, was a dominant note in social policy worldwide in the first half of the twentieth century, even as the new science of genetics solely undermined its fundamental precepts. States and welfare organisations around the globe eagerly pursued a variety of policies designed to ‘improve’ populations whether through environmental measures or interventions in reproduction. Advocates hailed from a wide variety of political positions on the left and on the right. Although the term eugenics fell out of favour after the Nuremberg trials in the late 1940s, many current commentators argue that contemporary reprogenetics in particular is, in the words of one prominent scholar, a “backdoor” to eugenics. This masterclass will consider both the history of this idea and whether contemporary genetic practices in any way constitute a modern version of a now-discredited science.

Philippa Levine is the Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and Ideas and Co-Director of the Programme in British Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her publications include Eugenics: A Very Short Introduction (2017); The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (2010); The British Empire: Sunrise to Sunset (2013); Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire (2003); and Feminist Lives in Victorian England. Private Roles and Public Commitment (1990). She is currently at work on a book on nakedness.

There is some funding available for Bursaries to attend. Please apply to the convenor with a resume by 12 July 2018.

Date & time

Thu 26 Jul 2018, 10am–2.30pm


Beryl Rawson Building, ANU ACTON ACT 2601


Professor Philippa Levine, University of Texas at Austin


School of History


Aileen Walsh


Updated:  31 July 2018/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications