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Regional Reflections on Eugenics: Midwest Convening

Friday Sept. 3


From rural Better Baby and Fitter Family contests to forced sterilizations, eugenics found fertile ground among midwestern reformers, scientists, and the general public. In this convening, scholars will reflect on the deeply rooted history of eugenics in the Midwest. The midwest reflection will consist of 2-3 panels organized broadly by theme. In addition to discussing local and state-specific contexts, scholars will explore broad themes such as race, gender, and sexuality. Panelists will also share their research on the ways that specific eugenic practices, including institutionalization and sterilization, played out in midwestern states. Significantly, scholars from the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab will showcase newly collected and analyzed data on sterilizations performed in Michigan and Iowa.

Eugenic sterilizations:

Michigan, (3700), Kansas (3000),  Indiana (2400), Minnesota (2350), Iowa (1900), Wisconsin (1760) North Dakota (1040), Nebraska (900)

Organisors: Natalie Lira (University of Illinois), Nicole Novak (University of Iowa), Katie O’Connor (University of Michigan)

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