Majority on UCL's Eugenics Inquiry Withdraw Support for Chair's Report

Review of UCL Eugenics Inquiry: Reasons to Reject Recommendations From Chair’s (Minority) Report

The Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL presented the chair’s report on February 2020 to UCL President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur. He received that report, but he also received the alternative MORE group recommendations, which were supported by a majority of members (signed by 10 of 16 members) on the committee. The MORE group recommendations offer a “least common denominator” approach. After agreement…

Historical analysis shows Karl Pearson was a racist nativist supremacist for Anglo-Saxon stock

Review of UCL Eugenics Inquiry: Why I Didn’t Sign the Eugenics Report

I served on UCL’s Investigation into the History of Eugenics. I withdrew my support for the chair’s report, which is published today. Together with nine colleagues also serving on this committee, we’ve created a set of recommendations arising from our work that we have presented to UCL’s President and Provost Professor Michael Arthur. This is the MORE subgroup of this Inquiry, and we constitute 10/16ths…

UCL's Eugenics Inquiry failed to seriously investigate teaching and learning

Review of UCL Eugenics Inquiry: Failure on Teaching and Study

The Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL was expected to report on how we teach and study eugenics in the university. This instruction about teaching was included in our Terms of Reference: “To examine the current status of the teaching and study of eugenics at UCL” (Terms of Reference, 2018) We didn’t do the job. The Inquiry collected a tiny amount of anecdotal…

Student protests during scandal over London Conference on Intelligence (LCI) January 2018

Review of UCL Eugenics Inquiry: Failure on London Conference on Intelligence

The chair’s report from the Investigation into the History of Eugenics at UCL is published today. It did not investigate the London Conference on Intelligence (LCI). That’s odd. I thought that Inquiry was created to get answers about the LCI and to investigate if there was a larger body of activity, or supporting mindset, at the university to support it. Does UCL harbour a network…

University College London (UCL) Wilkins Building at night

UCL’s Eugenics Inquiry: Terms of Reference

The “Inquiry into the History of Eugenics at UCL,” also referred to as the “Eugenics Inquiry,” and the “Eugenics Investigation” operated at University College London (UCL) between November 2018 and February 2020. It was a university committee appointed by UCL President and Provost, Professor Michael Arthur. It held three town meetings: March 2019, October 2019, and February 2020. I served on this committee. Terms of Reference…

UCL Galton Lecture Theatre - plaque on door - ProfJoeCain

Time Has Run Out for Francis Galton at UCL

Francis Galton was a bad piece of work. His racist, nativist, supremacist views are antithetical to UCL’s vision and values. He is no role model for me. He should be no role model for you. Time for him to go. I call on UCL to remove all references to Galton in our commemorative practices, such as names used on the estate and names used for…

Legacies of Eugenics project website December 2019

Launching the Legacies of Eugenics project

The subject of eugenics is back on the agenda for historians of science. I’ve been involved in the UCL Inquiry on the history and legacies of eugenics within that institution. My academic department has reviewed the range of its teaching in the subject. I’ve organised a new UCL module, Eugenics in Science and Culture. I’ve supervised several recent student projects. I’ve done some writing and…

Eugenics Poster - Only Healthy Seed Must Be Sown

Eugenics Teaching in US Colleges and Universities in 1914

In 1914, Journal of Heredity published a directory of US colleges and universities with eugenics courses. This is not an exhaustive list, but it gives a good indication of the range of institutions which supported this type of teaching. The method of data collection is not made clear. Source: Editor. 1914. “Eugenics in the Colleges,” Journal of Heredity 5(4): 186. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.jhered.a107837

Karl Pearson 1934 after retirement

Karl Pearson praised Nazi Race Hygiene policies

Did Professor Karl Pearson praise Hitler and Nazi ‘race hygiene’ programmes? Yes, he did. He did this in 1934, at a dinner to mark his retirement the previous year from University College London (UCL). Pearson was 77 in 1934, and he retired in 1933 from his position as Francis Galton Chair of National Eugenics at University College London, which he held since 1911. The National…

Logo from the Second International Eugenics Conference, 1921

HPSC0070 Eugenics in Science and Culture

Eugenics combined science and politics to create social policies intent on “improving the stock” of some human groups at the expense of others. This module investigates eugenics as a history of science and technology operating in cultures around the world. It considers eugenics as a history of people creating, interpreting, rejecting, and suffering from decisions grounded in scientific (and pseudo-scientific – this boundary is important)…