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The Legacy of Eugenics in CEE Countries: The Limits and Options of Historical Consciousness
The Legacy of Eugenics in CEE Countries: The Limits and Options of Historical Consciousness

Author(s): Victoria Shmidt
Subject(s): Anthropology, Sociology, History of ideas, Transformation Period (1990 - 2010)
Published by: Centre for Advanced Study Sofia (CAS)
Keywords: CEE countries; eugenics; racialist thinking; historical consciousness; historical continuities

Summary/Abstract: This paper aims to explore the state of the art and the options for studies of eugenics in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Serbia, and Slovenia. The networking of eugenically minded scholars from these countries is seen as one of the complex transnational settings for eugenics, which ensured its reproduction over the twentieth century. By adopting a broad theoretical framework, the review of seventy-seven texts published between 2002 and 2017 juxtaposes Jörn Rüsen’s classification of historical narratives and Roy Bhaskar’s differentiation of negation. Three types of historical narratives frame the current diversity of approaches to eugenics: 1) traditional exemplary, based upon real negation; 2) exemplary-critical, providing transformative negation; and 3) critical-genetic, ensuring radical negation. Tracing the history of eugenics as a multi-layered process of crossing historical, geographical, and ideological borders assists to scale the existing pool of historical narratives about eugenics in Bulgaria, Croatia, Czechoslovakia, Serbia, and Slovenia in a way that recognises the current limits and possible options for a comprehensive revision of the legacy of eugenics.

  • Issue Year: 2018
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 1-52
  • Page Count: 52
  • Language: English