Building a Better Race: Epistemic Resistance and Homogeneity In the Works of W.E.B Du Bois and Ernest A. Hooton
Wells, Thomas Reese
Patterson, Robert J
My thesis is concerned with the politics and practice of right reproduction and eugenics in the early 20th century, specifically centered on the political thought of two American intellectuals, W.E.B Du Bois and Ernest Hooton. For these two thinkers, the reproduction of race in the right way was integral to the survival of each population. Part one of the paper is concerned with the race thinking of two intellectuals and how that thinking connects to the “science” of eugenics; I will explain what eugenics is, and situate biographical sketches of W.E.B Du Bois and Ernest Hooton within this narrative. In part two, I close read a piece of science fiction by each thinker, and through that close reading I identify several compelling pieces of anecdotal evidence that are theoretically critical to understanding the idea that this paper engages with in part three, the culminating argument of this entire work: using standpoint theory as a foundation, I will argue that W.E.B Du Bois' presence in the larger conversation about the use and utility of eugenics (in his case, a strong interest in positive eugenics) actively assisted in the expansion and eventual abandonment of the idea itself.
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