Scope of Eugenics – Call for Submission – extended until March 1, 2015

The Scope of Eugenics
Call for Submissions

Eugenics Archives ( is pleased to announce a four-day workshop at the Banff Centre, May 22nd-25th, 2015, in Banff, Alberta. To acknowledge the significant contributions made by students to the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada project over the past four years, we invite submissions from early career scholars—students and those within three years of completing their doctorates—from any discipline on topics related to eugenics and its contemporary significance.

Submissions should consist of a single document that includes a (i) summary abstract (<150 words), (ii) longer description (<750 words) outlining the presentation and explaining the relevance of the topic to eugenics, (iii) short biographical statement (<100 words), and (iv) CV. Possible topics include, but are in no way restricted to, the following :

Apologies to eugenics survivors Child welfare
Collective memory Human diversity
Nationalism Quality of life
Queer sexuality Roma peoples
Schizophrenia World Health Organization
Whiteness Particular Countries / Geographic Regions

The project director is happy to provide feedback to potential participants on these and other suggestions (e.g., on particular countries or regions of the world). Participants are expected to attend the whole workshop and to contribute a short article to, ideally based on their presentation, within one month of the workshop. Articles accessible via the Encyc or Around the World modules at the site indicate the type of article we have in mind.

Accommodation and meals for all workshop participants will be covered by Eugenics Archives. Participants will also be notified upon acceptance if we are able to cover in full, or contribute to in part, additional travel expenses. The workshop will allow for substantial opportunities to enjoy the Banff surrounds and will encourage networking, mentoring, and informal discussion between junior scholars interested in eugenics and Eugenics Archives team members.

Scope of Eugenics Poster with Mountains
Deadline for submissions : February 15th, 2015 EXTENDED to March 1, 2015 Acceptances : March 15th, 2015

Questions and submissions to the project director, Professor Rob Wilson :


Hosted by the Living Archives on Eugenics in Western Canada logo1.jpg

CBC News – Disability Matters

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) ran a monthly column focusing on disability issues in 2005 & 2006. The series rotated between three disabled Canadians–Anna Quon (Nova Scotia), Ed Smith (Newfoundland), and Hélèna Katz (Montreal)–and was intended to focus in on their experiences and reflections as such. The column concluded in August 2006, but the stories and comments remain relevant and thought provoking. A complete list of the columns follows. I especially recommend Imagine a Disability You Can’t See and The Beautiful Kindness in People.

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Can we ditch the fatty anorexics but save our own stupid selves?

Support For People With Eating Disorders - Anorexi Bulimi Kontakt

Support For People With Eating Disorders - Anorexi Bulimi Kontakt CLICK TO SEE VIDEO threw up an interesting piece last week that begins with a discussion surrounding obesity (The entire segment is titled “The Skinny on Obesity“, but note in advance that the conversation is less focused than the title implies; they switch topics and discuss carbon emission regulations for the last half). I was struck by a number of the claims that were made throughout this discussion and most particularly by the way that later comments contrasted with earlier ones. It is in this contrast, especially given the subject matter, that I believe there is a valuable lesson regarding how we should view answers to the question “What sorts of people should there be?” Continue reading

Normalizing Mothers

The Shape of a Mother is a  newly renovated blog (still somewhat under construction, so search via the search engine, not tags) that recently made it on to the blog roll (thanks to Jackie!) and  I thought I’d give you all a formal introduction. This blog takes a look at women’s bodies during and after pregnancy to try and dispel the sense that such forms are abnormal, unhealthy, and shameful. It includes contributions from many people looking to post pictures of their post-baby tummies in an effort to foster pride in the many shapes that motherhood can bring. Continue reading

Body Worlds — A Visitor’s Tale

Body Worlds 1 banner

I enjoyed my visit to Body Worlds 1 at the Telus World of Science in Edmonton thoroughly.  The whole experience was exciting and interesting.  A comment made by my girlfriend when we talked about the exhibit a few hours later over dinner captured an experience that I think many people will share–“I went in looking forward to being at least a little offended, but I spent the whole time being amazed!”  It was only a day or so later that a point of contention even crept into my mind.

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Body Worlds — Opens Friday in Edmonton

Man with Skin

BODY WORLDS features authentic human specimens preserved through a revolutionary process called Plastination. This remarkable preservation technique replaces bodily fluids and fat with reactive plastics, thereby preserving human tissue in its natural state. Visitors who embark on this amazing journey below the skin’s surface will view an extensive collection including more than 200 authentic organs, systems and whole-body displays.

Gunther von Hagens’ BODY WORLDS exhibitions are the only anatomical exhibits that use donated bodies, willed by donors for the express purpose of serving BODY WORLDS mission to educate the public about health and anatomy. To date, more than 8,000 people have agreed to donate their bodies to BODY WORLDS for Plastination and use in the exhibits. [Source]

The organizers claim that the primary mission of all the BODY WORLDS exhibitions (there are now four, the one opening in Edmonton is the original, with some additions, and was first shown in Tokyo in 1995) is health education. By showing visitors what lies beneath the skin they hope that an understanding and respect for the intricate mechanics involved in the human body will be developed. Further to the goal of health education, the exhibitions juxtapose healthy and unhealthy bodies and organs side by side, most notably plasticized lungs from a smoker and body sections from a clinically obese person.

Additionally, the organizers want to make a comment about just how special every person is: Continue reading

Elephant Man: Last Chance

Just quickly, since I’m running off to teach a full-day seminar in philosophy for children: went to see The Elephant Man last night in good company. It’s really well done, living up to the standards of theatre we’ve come to know and love in Edmonton. It gives a lot of food for thought on appearance, what’s normal, societal rules regulating how we perceive, react, and behave, the gaze, and the idea of monstrosity. If you’re in Edmonton, catch it at Studio Theatre at the University of Alberta–it ends on Saturday.