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Eugenic Nation

Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America

Alexandra Minna Stern (Author)

Available worldwide

Paperback, 424 pages
ISBN: 9780520285064
December 2015
$29.95, £24.00
Other Formats Available:
First edition, Winner of the Arthur J. Viseltear Prize, American Public Health Association

With an emphasis on the American West, Eugenic Nation explores the long and unsettled history of eugenics in the United States. This expanded second edition includes shocking details demonstrating that eugenics continues to inform institutional and reproductive injustice. Alexandra Minna Stern draws on recently uncovered historical records to reveal patterns of racial bias in California’s sterilization program and documents compelling individual experiences. With the addition of radically new and relevant research, this edition connects the eugenic past to the genomic present with attention to the ethical and social implications of emerging genetic technologies.
List of Illustrations
Preface to the Second Edition

1. Race Betterment and Tropical Medicine in Imperial San Francisco
2. Quarantine and Eugenic Gatekeeping on the US-Mexican Border
3. Instituting Eugenics in California
4. “I Like to Keep My Body Whole”: Reconsidering Eugenic Sterilization in California
5. California’s Eugenic Landscapes
6. Centering Eugenics on the Family
7. Contesting Hereditarianism: Reassessing the 1960s

Alexandra Minna Stern is Professor of American Culture, Obstetrics and Gynecology, History, and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.

Praise for Previous Edition:

"At long last, a book about eugenics in California, which sterilized more people than any other state. Eugenic Nation reveals what fueled the movement, including Hispanic immigration, fear of disease, and environmental preservation. In all, an important and thought-provoking book."—Daniel J. Kevles, author of In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity

"Eugenic Nation examines the science of 'better breeding' in the American West, revealing the intimate relations of race science, gender, sexuality, and population policy in the twentieth century. With this important book, Alexandra Minna Stern transforms our understanding of eugenics in the United States."—Warwick Anderson, author of The Cultivation of Whiteness: Science, Health, and Racial Destiny in Australia

Praise for Second Edition:

"Like a scholarly Conestoga wagon, Eugenic Nation opens up new territories in American history. Alexandra Minna Stern brilliantly reveals a distinctly Western style of better breeding, preoccupied with the environment, women, and Latin America. The issues she raises around race, gender, and reproduction continue to plague us. This book has never been more relevant."—Nathaniel Comfort, Johns Hopkins University

"Eugenic Nation meticulously traces eugenicist thinking in the American West across more than a century, emerging in today's prison, welfare, and education systems. By focusing on a previously neglected region and newly discovered sources, Stern offers original insight into the broad reach of "better breeding" in U.S. and global politics, policies, and institutions. Essential reading for everyone concerned about our nation's eugenicist past and interested in a future of reproductive justice."—Dorothy Roberts, Director, Penn Program on Race, Science, and Society, and author of Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty


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