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…

Edward Turner, First Professor of Chemistry at UCL - ProfJoeCain

Edward Turner was a Creole. So what?

A historian colleague of mine recently asked if I knew anything about the genealogy of UCL’s first Professor of Chemistry, Edward Turner (1796-1837). This colleague said he had heard a report that Turner was mixed race, the son of a Creole mother. Being a careful and critical historian, my friend wanted to know about evidence. We both understood this would be an exciting piece of…

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

Eugenics, Karl Pearson, and the Legacy of Anglo-Saxon Nativism at UCL

In September 2019 I gave a paper, “Eugenics, Karl Pearson, and the Legacy of Anglo-Saxon Nativism at UCL,” at a conference organised by the Research Group on University History held at the University of Manchester. In essence, it argues (1) Karl Pearson promoted a racist, nativist, supremacist programme favouring his vision of Anglo-Saxon stock, (2) he took advantage of his position within the university to…

Image from Cover - Farrall 2019 English Eugenics Movement 9781787510012

Farrall’s (1969) History of English Eugenics, 1865-1925, republished

The history of eugenics in Britain is far from hidden or forgotten. Many excellent papers and books explore the role of individuals (e.g., Francis Galton, Karl Pearson, Ronald Fisher, and Leonard Darwin to name only a few of the men involved) and the role of organisations (e.g., Eugenics Education Society). Eugenics in Britain has been studied in depth with an emphasis on class, gender, race,…