A “Purely Theoretical Institute for the Study of the Nature of Man”: The Founding of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, 1920–1927

Part of the Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science book series (BSPS, volume 259)

The linkage of race hygiene, science, and politics in the early Weimar Republic was the context in which the initiative to found an extra-university research institution for the fields of anthropology, human genetics, and eugenics took shape. This triangle was the result of converging interests: race hygiene conceived of itself as an applied science, aspiring to a scientific foundation for its practical agenda, and hoping to establish itself as a new discipline between biology, genetics, medicine, psychiatry, hygiene, anthropology, demographics, national economy, and sociology, and to influence state and society through scientific policy consulting. The modern interventionist state, in turn, demanded expertise from the human sciences to the extent that it laid claim to the control over birth and death, sexuality and reproduction, body and germline, variability and evolution, as part of a comprehensive biopolicy.1 After all, the human sciences ultimately offered the modern interventionist state their expertise in exchange for funding. In this process race hygiene functioned as a kind of relay switched between scientific knowledge and biopolicy interest.


German Society Race Theory German Association Human Heredity Weimar Republic 
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© Springer Science + Business Media B.V 2008

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