Legacies of Eugenics in Canada
15th-16th June, 2021
Hosted virtually by University of Saskatchewan, Department of History
C/O Erika Dyck, Canada Research Chair in History of Health & Social Justice
As we cope with the impact of COVID-19 on our communities, we are reminded of how stresses on our health and economy reveal deep inequalities in our society. We are reaching out to scholars interested in the history of eugenics to participate in a series of nationally organized and internationally synchronized conversations about eugenic legacies.
September 2021 will mark 100 years of the Second International Eugenics Congress. Like our predecessors a century ago we find ourselves at a pivotal moment in the history of eugenics and genetics, where new technologies and biological interventions could well determine the ethical standards of tomorrow. The current Covid-19 crisis is again raising questions about how the relative value of the lives of different sections of the population is viewed. We believe that public discussions and engagement are essential to prepare ourselves for such times, and ensure that we do not fall into the same mistakes of the past. We are therefore calling for participants across Canada to engage in a workshop to begin the debate of how to prepare for such discussion and engagement in a Canadian context.
The workshop will be hosted virtually between the 15th-16th June 2021.
- Procedures will begin with an opening address.
- The proceeding morning sessions will then be devoted to shorter 15-20 minutes reflections looking at the legacy of eugenics within the context of particular states/regions of Canada, or state institutions. These reflections will then come together in a panel bringing together the different contributors to the state/regional reflections.
- The afternoon sessions will be devoted to the legacy of eugenics within different targeted communities today around particular themes: Indigeneity, Disability, Gender and Sexual orientation, Class, Race and Religion, Education, etc.
- The evening session on the first day will then consist of a keynote presentation, followed by a final panel, that will be fed by pre-recorded questions posed by international scholars in the field of eugenics. The floor would then open for participants to pose their own questions.
The workshop will be keen to emphasise that this is just the start of discussions, and as such time will be devoted on the second day to a working meeting of the workshop participants - along the lines of an AGM. This working meeting will build on the discussions of the previous day and look at how to mantain and build on the formation of a Canadian Legacies of Eugenics network, - including the hosting of future gathering over the years to come and opportunities of being a part of the International Legacies of Eugenics Network to come out of international events next year. This meeting will be closed to the public and for participants only, for a freer discussion, but a summary of discussion and future actions will later be made available along with release of the first day recordings to a broader public.
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.