Article ID: CBB816275491

Overpopulation, Racial Degeneracy and Birth Control in French Colonial Vietnam (2018)


This article examines the Vietnamese writings on overpopulation, racial decline and birth control that were published in Vietnamese journals in the 1930s. Navigating between different demographic and sexual discourses, both local and global, Vietnamese birth control activists took a stern and critical look at the compounding problems of overpopulation and racial decline in colonial Tonkin. They identified the Confucian pro-natalist traditions with its laissez-faire approach towards reproduction and childrearing as the roots of the overpopulation crisis in Tonkin. Rejecting the French solution of demographic balancing while stressing the linkages between reproduction and national standing, Vietnamese birth control activists called for cultural changes in the customs of marriage and family building, and a stricter surveillance over procreative and sexual behaviors. In the context of French surveillance and censorship, the Vietnamese debate on overpopulation and birth limitation provided rich fodder for local intellectuals to envision and articulate their aspirations for national revival and racial preservation.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Thesis Sujin Lee; (2017)
Problematizing Population: Politics of Birth Control and Eugenics in Interwar Japan (/isis/citation/CBB518032041/) unapi

Book Erika Dyck; Maureen Lux; (2020)
Challenging Choices: Canada's Population Control in the 1970s (/isis/citation/CBB928803182/) unapi

Article Vann, Michael G.; (2003)
Of Rats, Rice, and Race: The Great Hanoi Rat Massacre, an Episode in French Colonial History (/isis/citation/CBB000660571/) unapi

Thesis Edington, Claire Ellen; (2013)
Beyond the Asylum: Colonial Psychiatry in French Indochina, 1880--1940 (/isis/citation/CBB001567481/) unapi

Book Claire E. Edington; (2019)
Beyond the Asylum: Mental Illness in French Colonial Vietnam (/isis/citation/CBB895433219/) unapi

Book Laurence Monnais; (2019)
The Colonial Life of Pharmaceuticals: Medicines and Modernity in Vietnam (/isis/citation/CBB737196314/) unapi

Article Monnais, Laurence; (2009)
From Colonial Medicines to Global Pharmaceuticals? The Introduction of Sulfa Drugs in French Vietnam (/isis/citation/CBB000932551/) unapi

Article Dyck, Erika; (2014)
Guest Editor 's Introduction: History of Eugenics Revisited (/isis/citation/CBB001420266/) unapi

Thesis Wood, James Anthony; (cited 2012)
Natural Guardians of the Race: Heredity, Hygiene, Alcohol, and Degeneration in Scottish Psychiatry, c. 1860--1920 (/isis/citation/CBB001567411/) unapi

Book Robert Jarvenpa; (2018)
Declared Defective: Native Americans, Eugenics, and the Myth of Nam Hollow (/isis/citation/CBB668077890/) unapi

Article Gawin, Magdalena; (2008)
The Sex Reform Movement and Eugenics in Interwar Poland (/isis/citation/CBB000831694/) unapi

Article Ramsden, Edmund; (2008)
Eugenics from the New Deal to the Great Society: Genetics, Demography andPopulation Quality (/isis/citation/CBB000831720/) unapi

Article Turda, Marius; (2009)
“To End the Degeneration of a Nation”: Debates on Eugenic Sterilization in Inter-War Romania (/isis/citation/CBB000931184/) unapi

Article Marina Mogilner; (2021)
Mediterraneanizing Europe: The Project of Subaltern Race and the Postimperial Search for Hybridity (/isis/citation/CBB093397754/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Monnais, Laurence
Dyck, Erika
Edington, Claire Ellen
Vann, Michael G.
Gawin, Magdalena
Ramsden, Edmund
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Medical History
French Colonial History
Dynamis: Acta Hispanica ad Medicinae Scientiarumque Historiam Illustrandam
East Asian Science, Technology and Society: An International Journal
Berichte zur Wissenschaftsgeschichte
University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom
Columbia University
Cornell University
University of Nebraska Press
Cambridge University Press
Cornell University Press
Birth control; contraception; sterilization
Demography; population research
Science and race
France, colonies
Du Bois, William Edward B.
Keith, Arthur
Time Periods
20th century, early
19th century
20th century, late
Great Britain
American Eugenics Society

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment