Princeton University Library Catalog

Keeping America sane : psychiatry and eugenics in the United States and Canada, 1880-1940 / Ian Robert Dowbiggin.

Dowbiggin, Ian Robert, 1952- [Browse]
Ithaca, NY : Cornell University Press, 1997.
xvi, 245 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
Cornell studies in the history of psychiatry. [More in this series]
Summary note:
  • What would bring a physician to conclude that sterilization is appropriate treatment for the mentally ill and mentally handicapped? Using archival sources, Ian Robert Dowbiggin documents the involvement of both U.S. and Canadian psychiatrists in the eugenics movement of the early twentieth century. He shows why professional men and women committed to helping those less fortunate than themselves arrived at such morally and intellectually dubious conclusions.
  • Psychiatrists at the end of the nineteenth century felt professionally vulnerable, Dowbiggin explains, because they were under intense pressure from state and provincial governments and from other physicians to reform their specialty. Eugenics ideas, which dominated public health policy making, seemed the best vehicle for catching up with the progress of science. Among the prominent psychiatrist-eugenicists Dowbiggin considers are G.
  • Alder Blumer, Charles Kirk Clarke, Thomas Salmon, Clare Hincks, and William Partlow. Tracing psychiatric support for eugenics throughout the interwar years, Dowbiggin pays special attention to the role of psychiatrists in the fierce debates about immigration policy. His examination of psychiatry's unfortunate flirtation with eugenics shows how professional groups come to think and act along common lines within specific historical contexts.
Includes index.
1. An Exodus of Enthusiasm: Psychiatry in Canada and the United States, 1880-1920 -- 2. A Confusing Wildness of Recommendations: G. Alder Blumer, Eugenics, and U.S. Psychiatry, 1880-1940 -- 3. Keeping This Young Country Sane: C. K. Clarke, Eugenics, and Canadian Psychiatry, 1890-1940 -- 4. A Question of Public Health: Psychiatry, Eugenics, and Immigration in the United States, 1880-1925 -- Conclusion: Reflections on the History of Eugenics.
  • 0801433568 (alk. paper)
  • 0801483980 (pbk. : alk. paper)
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