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Eugenics in colonial Kenya
Author: Chloe Campbell

This book tells the story of a short-lived but vehement eugenics movement that emerged among a group of Europeans in Kenya in the 1930s, unleashing a set of writings on racial differences in intelligence more extreme than that emanating from any other British colony in the twentieth century. By tracing the history of eugenic thought in Kenya, it shows how the movement took on a distinctive colonial character, driven by settler political preoccupations and reacting to increasingly outspoken African demands for better, and more independent, education. Eugenic theories on race and intelligence were widely supported by the medical profession in Kenya, as well as powerful members of the official and non-official European settler population. However, the long-term failures of the eugenics movement should not blind us to its influence among the social and administrative elite of colonial Kenya. Through a close examination of attitudes towards race and intelligence in a British colony, the book reveals how eugenics was central to colonial racial theories before World War II.

Britain, 1870–1914

This study of the ‘colour question’, 1870-1914, offers a new account of the British Empire’s most disturbing legacy. Following contradictions within the ideology of empire, the book provides a revisionist account of race in science, and an original narrative of the invention of the language of race relations, and of resistance to race-thinking. Constructions of race in both professional and popular science were rooted in the common culture, yet were presented as products of nature. Ironically, science only gained a larger public when imperialism, not nature, created a global pattern of racial subordination and conflict. Though often overlooked, the longer term legacy of Victorian racism grew out of the newly invented language of race relations. Originating in the abolitionist movement, this language applied to the management of the historically unprecedented multi-racial communities created by empire. A dissenting minority of abolitionists and persons of African and Asian descent championed racial egalitarianism and colonial nationalism in resistance to the dominant discourse. By 1910, they suffered a crushing defeat in contesting white power in South Africa. As a consequence, in the new twentieth century, visions of a colour-blind empire belonged to a sentimentalised, archaic abolitionist past. Under the guise of imperial trusteeship, a new lexicon of race relations gave legitimacy to the institutionalised inequalities of an empire bifurcated by race.

‘Slaying the dragon of Eskimo status’ before the Supreme Court of Canada, 1939
Constance Backhouse

As a colony Canada inherited both English and French law, was pummelled by American influences, and asserted imperialistic powers of its own across racial boundaries vis-à-vis First Nations’ and Aboriginal communities. This paper focuses on the legal definition of ‘race’, an area riddled with Canadian imperialist thought and practice, at the

in Law, history, colonialism
Eugenics and birth control in Johannesburg, 1930-40
Susanne Klausen

Only the nobler, more intelligent, energetic and healthier citizens of the present should be the ancestors of future generations. 2 (H. B. Fantham, from a lecture presented to the Race Welfare Society, 14 August 1930) The State needs all the good children it can

in Science and society in southern Africa
Brett L. Shadle

our firm conviction that those interests will be best served by promoting the welfare of the white population.’ 1 The comparison between settlers and anti-slavery advocates becomes perverse, however, when the influence of racial thinking is taken into account. As the nineteenth century wore on, scientists constructed ever-more elaborate rankings of people by race, and by their race’s level of

in The souls of white folk
Child rescue discourse, England, Canada and Australia, 1850–1915

When General Charles Gordon lived at Gravesend in the 1860s, he turned himself into a child rescuer. This book contributes to understandings of both contemporary child welfare practices and the complex dynamics of empire. It analyses the construction and transmission of nineteenth-century British child rescue ideology. The book aims to explain the mentality which allowed the child removal policy to flourish. The disseminated publications by four influential English child rescue organisations: Dr. Barnardo's (DBH), the National Children's Homes (NCH), the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society (WSS) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), are discussed. The gospel of child rescue was a discursive creation, the impact of which would be felt for generations to come. The body of the child was placed within a familiar environment, rendered threatening by the new social, religious and moral meanings ascribed to it. Ontario's 1888 Children's Protection Act required local authorities to assume maintenance costs of wards and facilitated the use of foster care. Changing trends in publishing have created an opportunity for the survivors of out-of-home care to tell their stories. The book shows how the vulnerable body of the child at risk came to be reconstituted as central to the survival of nation, race and empire. The shocking testimony that official enquiries into the treatment of children in out-of-home 'care' held in Britain, Ireland, Australia and Canada imply that there was no guarantee that the rescued child would be protected from further harm.

Benjamin B. Cohen

A close examination of India’s clubland reveals what might be expected – that some clubs discriminated along race lines – but also what might be less expected – that a variety of clubs existed where race was actively negotiated. Most surprising is that even the most exclusively British clubs had a variety of Indian participation. Perhaps most (in)famous were the clubs that

in In the club
Douglas A. Lorimer

that this later age of imperialism gave scientific representations of race a more prominent place within the metropolitan culture. The dramatic controversies of the 1860s had at most an uncertain outcome resting on the continued ambiguities of race and culture rather than upon an authoritative biological determinism. Developments between the 1880s and 1914 on the other hand

in Science, race relations and resistance
Shurlee Swain and Margot Hillel

for his homes was grounded in the language of race, a construct which, Catherine Hall has argued, provided ‘a space in which the English configured their relation to themselves and others … foundational to English forms of classification and relations of power’. 2 Hall’s focus is on the role of missionaries, located at the centre of the mutually constitutive process through which metropole and colony

in Child, nation, race and empire
Chloe Campbell

interpretations of their position. In his 1932 Galton lecture, entitled ‘The Social Problem Group as Illustrated by a Series of East London Pedigrees’, Lidbetter argued the social problem group in East London was racially distinct: The pedigrees reveal that there is in existence a definite race of sub-normal people, closely related by

in Race and empire