Introduction: Eugenics as a Transnational Subject: The British Dominions

  • Diane B. PaulEmail author
  • John Stenhouse
  • Hamish G. Spencer


In this Introduction, the editors explain why an exploration of eugenics in four Dominions of the British Empire—New Zealand, Australia, Canada and South Africa—should contribute importantly to the comparative and international literature on eugenics. They note that these self-governing colonies reshaped ideas absorbed from the metropole in accord with local conditions and ideals. Compared to Britain (and other classic cases), their orientation was generally less hereditarian and more populist and agrarian. It also reflected the view that these young and enterprising societies could potentially show Britain the way—if they were protected from internal and external threat. As white-settler societies, questions related to racial mixing and purity were inescapable, and the editors suggest that a notable contribution of this volume is its attention to indigenous populations, both as targets and (on occasion) agents of eugenic ideology.


Zealanders Eugenic Sterilization Mission Medical College Baby Contests Chinese Market Gardeners 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diane B. Paul
    • 1
    Email author
  • John Stenhouse
    • 2
  • Hamish G. Spencer
    • 3
  1. 1.University of Massachusetts Boston (Emerita)BostonUSA
  2. 2.Department of History and Art HistoryUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of OtagoDunedinNew Zealand

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