Article ID: CBB001422190

The Strength of a Loosely Defined Movement: Eugenics and Medicine in Imperial Russia (2015)


This essay examines the `infiltration' of eugenics into Russian medical discourse during the formation of the eugenics movement in western Europe and North America in 1900--17. It describes the efforts of two Russian physicians, the bacteriologist and hygienist Nikolai Gamaleia (1859--1949) and the psychiatrist Tikhon Iudin (1879--1949), to introduce eugenics to the Russian medical community, analysing in detail what attracted these representatives of two different medical specialties to eugenic ideas, ideals, and policies advocated by their western colleagues. On the basis of a close examination of the similarities and differences in Gamaleia's and Iudin's attitudes to eugenics, the essay argues that lack of cohesiveness gave the early eugenics movement a unique strength. The loose mix of widely varying ideas, ideals, methods, policies, activities and proposals covered by the umbrella of eugenics offered to a variety of educated professionals in Russia and elsewhere the possibility of choosing, adopting and adapting particular elements to their own national, professional, institutional and disciplinary contexts, interests and agendas.

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Authors & Contributors
Kantor, Jean-Michel
Graham, Loren R.
James Chike Nwankwo
Mogilner, Marina
Davies, Gail
Candela, Andrea
Journal of the History of Biology
VIET: Voprosy Istorii Estestvoznaniia i Tekhniki
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Social History of Medicine
Science in Context
University of Utah
State University of New York at Buffalo
Palgrave Macmillan
Office for History of Science and Technology, University of California
Berghahn Books
Cross-national comparison
Science and politics
Medicine and society
Nuclear power; atomic energy
Research institutes; research stations
Winogradsky, Serge
Weismann, August
Morgan, Thomas Hunt
Michurin, Ivan Vladimirovich
Lysenko, Trofim Denisovich
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century
21st century
Early modern
17th century
United States
Soviet Union
North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)
Maxim Gorky Medical Genetics Institute (USSR)
Badische Anilin- und Soda- Fabrik (B.A.S.F.)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Institut für Anthropologie, Menschliche Erblehre und Eugenik
Eugenics Record Office, Cold Spring Harbor, New York

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