History and Philosophy Of Science | "Protoplasm is Soft Wax in Our Hands": Visions for Human Improvement Through Applied Biospr03
X706 | 2921 | Sandy Gliboff


This seminar analyzes a selection of twentieth-century scientific
utopias and dystopias, in which humans invision taking control of
their own evolution and improving their bodies, minds, and societies
by applying biological principles.  Examples are drawn from
scientific publications, literature, and film.  Topics include the
eugenics movement in the U.S. and in international comparison;
National Socialism and racial ideology in Germany;"The island of Dr.
Moreau," by H.G. Wells; the organic techology of Paul Kammerer; and
current enthusiasm for biotechnology.  We will approach these
visions historically and ask what made each one seem
feasible, "scientific," and more-or-less desirable to particular
groups of people at particular times and places.