Title

The Russian Paradox: Kropotkin's influence on International Eugenics

Presenter Information

Joseph Melton

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Room 271

Start Date

15-5-2014

End Date

15-5-2014

Abstract

My research examines the divergent paths of eugenics as demonstrated by the speeches at the First International Eugenics Congress in London in 1912. I specifically target the intersection of the oppressive science and anarchism by unpacking Peter Kropotkin's speech, "The Sterilization of the Unfit." In my presentation I intend to draw comparisons between Russia's desire to improve infrastructure and social welfare and the West's insistence on sterilizing degenerates. I examine language that suggests that eugenics was all or nothing. This is evidenced by Russia's inability to provide an alternative to sterilization that could effectively inhibit the growth of existing degeneration without further oppressing the lower class, which according to Kropotkin, was the catalyst for degeneration.

For this presentation, Joseph Melton received a College of Arts and Humanities Best Oral Presentation Award for 2014.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Easley, Roxanne

Additional Mentoring Department

History

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May 15th, 10:20 AM May 15th, 10:40 AM

The Russian Paradox: Kropotkin's influence on International Eugenics

SURC Room 271

My research examines the divergent paths of eugenics as demonstrated by the speeches at the First International Eugenics Congress in London in 1912. I specifically target the intersection of the oppressive science and anarchism by unpacking Peter Kropotkin's speech, "The Sterilization of the Unfit." In my presentation I intend to draw comparisons between Russia's desire to improve infrastructure and social welfare and the West's insistence on sterilizing degenerates. I examine language that suggests that eugenics was all or nothing. This is evidenced by Russia's inability to provide an alternative to sterilization that could effectively inhibit the growth of existing degeneration without further oppressing the lower class, which according to Kropotkin, was the catalyst for degeneration.

For this presentation, Joseph Melton received a College of Arts and Humanities Best Oral Presentation Award for 2014.