Jan 28, 2023  
2017-2018 Catalog and Handbook 
2017-2018 Catalog and Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

DSAB 341 - Disability, Evolution, Eugenics and Genomics (3 Credits)

Prerequisite: None
This course traces the history of Eugenics from the 1860’s to the present. Students will be introduced to the mid-19th-century science of improving the human race by the encouragement of marriage and childbearing by those considered to have “desirable” traits and the segregation, sterilization or killing of those regarded as “unfit.” The work of Charles Darwin will be studied, leading to the work of Darwin’s half-cousin Sir Francis Galton, who took Darwin’s theory in a new direction and coined the term Eugenics. Eugenic beliefs and practices, as expanded by others, chiefly in Britain and the United States, came to murderous fruition in Nazi Germany. After World War II, most thinkers regarded Eugenics as a “pseudo-science,” and disability rights advocates saw any hint of Eugenics as fraught with dangers for persons with disabilities. Recently, advances in Genomics and the Human Genome Project appear to hold the promise of “designer babies” and a world free of many diseases and disabilities. As disability scholars, we must therefore explore the question: Could this mean a world free of persons with disabilities?