Historical and Modern Perspectives on Eugenics in the U.S. South










The ‘Historical and Modern Perspectives on Eugenics in the U.S. South’ reflection will be exploring the modern significance of eugenics within the U.S. South upon science and society today and will consist of a series of events happening across the Research Triangle between 17th June – 10th September. This reflection will be spearheaded by Prof. Karin Zipf (East Carolina University), Prof. Anna Krome-Lukens (UNC at Chapel Hill) and Prof. Edward Larson (Pepperdine University). The reflection will consist of a short series of monthly webinars, followed by a mid-September 2021 ‘gathering’ (of local scholars and students) at Jim Hunt Library at East Carolina University. The details of these (below) are still under discussion. This reflection is part of the larger international programme of events, happening next year around the centennial of the Second International Eugenics Congress called ‘From Small Beginnings…’, that looks at how we go about addressing the international legacies of eugenics.

Historical and Modern Perspectives on Eugenics in the U.S. South itinerary…

Webinar 1 – 17th June 2021

A conversation between Adam Cohen and Edward Larson, looking at the history of eugenics across the U.S. South, Buck vs Bell, and bringing this into the relevance for today.

Webinar 2 – 16th July 2021

A couple of presentations (and discussion) on invited papers by two rising scholars (graduate students) in the field, followed by a panel discussion made up of established scholars, picking up on the themes and questions raised by the grad students’ presentations.


Webinar 3 – 13th August 2021

Two or three archivists at different libraries across the South presenting unique collections of primary source documents that address the impact of eugenics on race and gender. Potential libraries include the archives at Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth, UNC School of Medicine at UNC at Chapel Hill, Department of Special Collections at Alderman at the University of Virginia.


Gathering at the Jim Hunt Library – 24th September 2021

A coming together of scholars, established and new on the scene, at the Jim Hunt Library to present, discuss and explore the modern significance of eugenics upon science and society today. This capstone in-person event is intended to explore the legacies of eugenics featuring speakers and perhaps breakout sessions where participants workshop problems on modern genetic science and ethical implications (maybe featuring Dr. Paul Root Wolpe at Emory and others).


Additional talk related to traveling exhibition (Spring 2022):

The ‘We Are Not Alone’ exhibition, that takes the 3 international eugenics congresses as markers through time within which to explore the international dissemination and legacies of eugenics, will be presented at the Brody Library, and potentially other libraries across the Research Library. The exhibition will include additional panels focusing specifically on eugenics within the South, with original documents/artefacts taken from hosting libraries. Around this the Medical History Interest Series will be invited to present a talk.


Organisors: Edward Larson (Pepperdine University), Anna Krome-Lukens (UNC at Chapel Hill), Karin Zipf (University of North Carolina)

Series supported by...


NADSN London Hub

Birkbeck College, University of London

UoLDOG : University of London (colleges) Disability Officers Group


Benedict Ipgrave (Programme Curator)