OSU Eugenics Panel: History and Academia in the Northwest

surgical-instrumentsOn Tuesday, May 3, Kristen Johnson, PhD, Linda Richards, PhD, and graduate student Michael Dicianna will moderate a panel discussion on eugenics in academia from the late 19th century into the 20th century.

Johnson, an associate professor in the Science, Technology, and Society Program at the University of Puget Sound, will begin by discussing the presence of eugenics in early “scholarship” and its subsequent effects on minorities and other social groups.

Popular all over the Western world between the World Wars, including in the Pacific Northwest, eugenics is defined, broadly, as the idea that the human race as a whole could be made healthier and more intelligent through selective breeding. Methods proposed to achieve this historically range from vaccination and hygiene education to involuntary sterilization and even genocide. The most horrific form eugenics ever took was in the Nazi Holocaust, which is why the panel is part of OSU’s 30th annual Holocaust Memorial Week.

The panel will particularly address eugenics-related activities at Oregon State College, and will tackle the sensitive question of whether Linus Pauling was himself a eugenicist.

The Eugenics and Scientific Racism in the Pacific Northwest panel will meet at the LaSells Stewart Center, Tuesday, May 3, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.

By John M Burt