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The Department of Science and Technology Studies, UCL is an interdisciplinary centre for the integrated study of science's history, philosophy, sociology, communication and policy, located in the heart of London. Founded in 1921. Award winning for teaching and research, plus for our public engagement programme. Rated as outstanding by students at every level.

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MSc prize winner

14 November 2013

Congratulations to Mr Samid Hamdoud, MSc student 2012-13. He has been awarded the London Centre's MSc Dissertation Prize for his work, "Creating Racially Responsible Parents of the Future: Eugenics, Sex-Hygiene and Education in Early Twentieth Century Britain".

One of his examiners wrote, "This is an exceptionally fine thesis. It has a good chance of being published as it is."

The Dissertation Prize is a prize of £250 for the best MSc dissertation of the year in any subject.

Abstract

This paper explores a comparatively undocumented area in the early history of the British eugenics movement; the campaign to introduce eugenic ideals into formal school curriculums and teacher training programmes. It begins by examining the discourses of racial responsibility and rational reproduction embedded within eugenic schemes for ‘education for parenthood’. These ideas sought to prepare individuals, particularly girls, for an acutely race conscious form of parenting which encouraged them to play a more active role in self-regulating future reproductive behaviour. It then reflects on debates held at the Eugenics Education Conference which saw those who favoured introducing eugenics into schools uniting in their indignation of the current state of sex-education yet struggling to define the content and scope of their aims. The final section examines the reach of eugenic ideas among elementary schoolteachers affiliated with the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the National Union of Women Teachers (NUWT). The conclusion considers whether eugenicists had clear and coherent ideas of what the content of a eugenic education would be, who would receive it and how it would be taught in schools. It suggests that attention to the sphere of education illuminates some of the problems of eugenic philosophy that arose from its fundamentally polymorphic nature in early twentieth-century Britain.

Page last modified on 14 nov 13 19:00 by Joe Cain


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