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Critical Intersections: Conversations on History, Race, and Science

Friday, November 20, 2020
12:00pm to 2:00pm
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Online Event
From Farm to Family: Agriculture, Race, and the Origins of Eugenics in Southern California
Narsiso Martinez, Independent Artist,
Gabriel Rosenberg, Duke University,
Yvette Saavedra, University of Oregon,
Tiago Saraiva, Drexel University,
Sarah Seekatz, San Joaquin Delta College,


How did a theory of genetic heritability become a theory about human possibility? Why did Southern California's agricultural landscape prove such fertile ground for early eugenicists? From Ezra Gosney's citrus farming to Paul Popenoe's marketing of the date palm, many members of the Human Better Foundation had backgrounds in agriculture. This panel explores the intersections that link these histories of land settlement, globalization, and genetic and crop science, focusing in particular on how eugenics moved from "farm to family," from agricultural production to human productivity.

Artist Narsiso Martinez will create a printed artwork in conversation with the topic. This will be mailed to early registrants who provide their mailing addresses when registering for the Zoom. The number of prints will be extremely limited, so please register early if you hope to receive one.

To RSVP for this event, please click here.
If you aren't able to attend the virtual event, it will be recorded. Please email Cecilia Lu for the link.

For its inaugural year of 2020-2021, the "Critical Intersections: Conversations on Race, History, and Science" seminar series is dedicated to the history leading up to and beyond eugenics. The events are jointly organized by faculty in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences [Maura Dykstra (Assistant Professor of History), Jennifer Jahner (Professor of English), and Hillary Mushkin (Research Professor of Art and Design)] and University Archivist Peter Collopy. Artists have been invited to participate in these events as part of the Caltech-Huntington Program in Visual Culture. Their participation in this series is supported by the James Michelin Distinguished Visitors Program.

For more information, please contact Cecilia Lu by email at [email protected].