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HPSC0070

Eugenics combined science and politics to create social policies intent on “improving the stock” of some human groups at the expense of others.

Eugenics in Science and Culture

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) practices supported by eugenics campaigners. Importantly, this module presents eugenics through the intersection of categories such as gender, race/ethnicity, ableism, class, nationalism, and political philosophy. Eugenics is a subject with strong local (UCL) connections, and it is a subject with diverse global involvements and impacts. Ultimately, this module explores the history and legacy of eugenics to better answer far-reaching questions about the role of science in policy development, about the power of science in public understanding, and about rival approaches to expertise in the knowledge economy.

Course Objectives:

By the end of this module students should be able to:

  • Explain the information revolution, and a little of the recent history of information and communication technologies, with a particular focus on its ethical and societal significance.
  • Understand some of the conceptual difficulties in defining information, in spite of its extensive usefulness in multiple areas of science and technology.
  • Understand and explain some of the philosophical issues caused by the rapid technological change of the information revolution, such as how we should conceive of personal identity, society and knowledge.
  • Construct clear and rigorous arguments concerning these topics.

Course Syllabus:

UCL Module Catalogue: Eugenics in Science and Culture (HPSC0070)