The State of Eugenics (2016) directed by Dawn Sinclair Shapiro

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LUMPENPROLETARIAT—A new documentary entitled The State of Eugenics (2016) will be screened at UC Berkeley‘s Boalt Hall, School of Law, tomorrow night (Tuesday, March 21st, 2017, 5-7:30pm). [1]  The film’s director, a self-described filmalist (i.e., filmmaker/journalist), Dawn Sinclair Shapiro will be in attendance at UC Berkeley for a Q&A as well as part of an event sponsored by the UCB Department of Gender and Women’s Studies.  The film is

about the eugenic sterilization program [in] North Carolina [which] ran between the 1930s and 1970s.  The film documents how that long-forgotten program was brought back to light by researchers and journalists, resulting in a pitched political battle over compensating victims.

Questions of genetic enhancement and reproductive rights are controversial because they touch upon issues of women’s rights, discrimination, race, and class.  The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaust when many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the U.S. eugenics programs.  Lumpenproletariat acquaintance (c. 2010-2012) Sabrina Jacobs has interviewed the film’s director Dawn Sinclair ShapiroListen (and/or downloadhere. [2]

UPDATE—[21 MAR 2017]  Free speech radio’s UpFront has also broadcast an interview with filmalist Dawn Sinclair Shapiro on The State of EugenicsListen (and/or download) here. [3]

Messina

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The State of Eugenics (2016) directed by Dawn Sinclair Shapiro

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UC BERKELEY—[accessed 21 MAR 2017]

Film Screening: The State of Eugenics

Film – Feature | March 21 | 5-7:30 p.m. | Boalt Hall, School of Law, Room 100

Sponsor:  Department of Gender and Women’s Studies

Please join us at 5:00 pm on March 21, 2017 at UC Berkeley for a free screening of The State of Eugenics, the just-released film about the eugenic sterilization program North Carolina ran between the 1930’s and 1970’s. The film documents how that long-forgotten program was brought back to light by researchers and journalists, resulting in a pitched political battle over compensating victims.

Comments and Q&A after the screening by filmmaker Dawn Sinclair Shapiro and University of Michigan Professor Alexandra Minna Stern.

Pizza and refrehsments will be provided at no additional cost!

This is the second event of the 2017 Being Human in a Biotech Age Film Series at UC Berkely.

Film is captioned but we are not able to provide live captioners/interpreters.

About the Film:

The State of Eugenics shines a light on a sorry and often-forgotten chapter in American history— the forced sterilization of thousands of Americans thought to have “undesirable” genetic make-ups. The film follows researchers and journalists who delved into dusty archives to bring North Carolina’s extensive eugenics program into the sunlight. When the journalists succeed in connecting those files to living survivors and the vast network of perpetrators are revealed, a grassroots movement begins, tirelessly insisting the state confront its nefarious past. The documentary— four years in the making, brings into focus the human tragedy that unfolded behind closed doors for decades and gives voice to survivors who believed their poverty would leave their stories untold and their pain unrecognized.

Across four decades, the state of North Carolina sterilized more than 7,600 people— men and women, adults and adolescents. The program ended in the 1970’s, dismantled after a landmark lawsuit filed by the ACLU on behalf of survivor Nial Ruth Cox. This sordid history had been largely forgotten until December 2002 when the Winston–Salem Journal published a five-part series, “Against Their Will,” that examined in stunning detail North Carolina’s eugenics program.

Historian Johanna Schoen and reporters John Railey, Kevin Begos and Danielle Deaver put the horrors of forced sterilization back in the headlines, prompting Governor Mike Easley to apologize for his state’s eugenics policies. That apology, however, provided only cold comfort to survivors. The film interweaves the stories of crusading journalists and contrite politicians with the inner thoughts of eugenics survivors: Nial Ruth Cox, Willis Lynch, and Dorothy Mae Grant. The three had been sterilized as teenagers by a state Eugenics Board that had become increasingly aggressive about advocating for sterilization as the answer to problems of entrenched poverty.

As survivors’ stories unfold in the film, a new effort to atone for the wrongs done to them emerges— monetary compensation.

About the Speakers:

Dawn Sinclair Shapiro began her journalism career working for the award winning news magazine program, CBS News Sunday Morning.Dawn has worked as a Producer, Associate Producer, Writer, Online Editor/Writer for Tribune Broadcasting, CNBC, MSNBC, Dateline NBC and Chicago Public Radio. She directed, wrote and produced her first feature length documentary, “Inside the Handy Writers’ Colony”, which aired nationally on PBS on October 23, 2008. In addition to the summer 2010 release of The Edge of Joy, current projects include post-production on Dialogues with China, a character study of world-renowned curator of contemporary Chinese art, Wu Hung.

Alexandra Minna Stern is a Professor of American Culture at the University of Michigan, and hold appointments in the Departments of History, Women’s Studies, and Obstetrics and Gynecology. Currently she directs the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies and co-direct the Reproductive Justice Faculty Program based at the Institute for Research on Women and Gender. Her research has focused on the history of eugenics, genetics, society, and justice in the United States and Latin America. She also has written about the history of public health, infectious diseases, and tropical medicine. Through these topics, she has explored the dynamics of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, social difference, and reproductive politics.

For more information about the film The State of Eugenics and to watch the trailer, visit https://vimeo.com/191200802.

[snip]

Learn more at UC BERKELEY.

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A RUDE AWAKENING—[20 MAR 2017]  [notes pending]

[snip]  (c. 29:59)

Learn more at A RUDE AWAKENING.

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UPFRONT—[21 MAR 2017]  [notes pending]

[snip]  (c. 59:59)

Learn more at UPFRONT.

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[1]  For more information on the documentary film, The State of Eugenics, and eugenics in general, see:

  • The Internet Movie Database (IMDb):  The State of Eugenics (2016)
  • The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics edited by Alison Bashford and Philippa Levine.
  • Against the Grain; 8 AUG 2006.
    • broadcast summary:  “Anthony Platt’s book “Bloodlines,” which begins with the Huntington Library announcing its ownership of an original copy of the Nuremberg Laws, explores anti-Semitism, German and US eugenics, and the responsibilities of cultural institutions.”
  • Against the Grain; 5 MAR 2008.
    • broadcast summary:  “Anna Stubblefield talks about how the US eugenics movement produced distinctions between “pure” and “tainted” whites, which led to the sterilization of many white women classified as feebleminded.  And Heather MacDonald has made a film about anti-gay politics and violence in Oregon in the context of a divisive ballot measure.”
  • Against the Grain; 12 JUN 2013.
    • broadcast summary:  “Biologist Stuart Newman contends that efforts to improve humans via inheritable genetic modification constitute a “new drive toward DNA-based eugenics.””
  • Letters and Politics – The History of the US Eugenics Movement; 11 JUL 2013.
    • broadcast summary:  “The History of the US Eugenics Movement with medical historian Alexandra Minna Stern, author of the book Eugenic Nation.  And, Ariel Dorfman.
  • Pushing Limits – Eugenics and preventing disability; 29 AUG 2014.
    • broadcast summary:  “We want to cure cancer, end war, and clean up the environment.  But, what do we lose if we end the disabilities caused by these things?  þ  Our guest is Dr. Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, a professor in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Emory University who works in the field of Critical Disability Studies.  þ  Let’s end war and, in the process, stop creating veterans with PTSD and brain injuries.  Let’s clean up the environment and end the epidemic of chemical sensitivity.  Let’s cure cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other diseases so people will not suffer their pain and limitation.  þ  But, wait.  Consider that, historically, people with disabilities have been horribly abused and murdered to meet a eugenics goal of eliminating disability.  When we assume prevention is positive, are we close to preaching a form of cultural genocide?  Will we eliminate the many future intellectual and cultural contributions by people with various disabilities if we eliminate their disability?  Do people with disabilities contribute something important, something that comes out of their experience of living with disabilities?  þ  Dr. Garland-Thomson navigates the philosophical, cultural and social landscape as Eddie Ytuarte asks, “Isn’t preventing disabilities a good idea. . . sometimes?””
  • Pushing Limits – Anne Finger: Soviet Eugenics; 2 DEC 2016.
    • broadcast summary:  “Modern genetics offers parents the dream of choosing the characteristics of their children and aborting those who don’t fit their ideal.  As scientists move in this direction, disabled people are understandably critical.  They cite, for instance, the strong historical link between genetics and eugenics.  þ  In this program, Oakland writer Anne Finger explores these issues with Eddie Ytuarte through the lens of eugenics in the Soviet Union.  þ  Ms. Finger tells stories of a variety of unusual characters seeking real or supposed scientific truth amid the maelstrom of gigantic changes occurring in Russia before, during, and following the October 1917 Revolution.  Her essay, “The Left Hand of Stalin: Eugenics in the Soviet Union,” appears in the volume, “Disability Politics in a Global Economy: Essays in Honour of Marta Russell.”  þ  In Nazi Germany the theory of eugenics brought the world the ideal of the perfect Aryan race.  This led to the round up and death of 275 thousand people with disabilities and, eventually, the death chambers of the holocaust.  þ  Eugenic theory took a different tack in the Soviet Union where the goal was, not the perfection of a specific race, but the perfection of humanity as a whole.   There was early USSR resistance to the Darwinian theory of “survival of the fittest,” Finger says, citing early scientists who found that, in the harsh Siberian climate “sociability is as much a law of nature as mutual struggle.”  þ  Join us for an in-depth look at eugenic-genetic questions.  þ  Produced and hosted by Eddie Ytuarte.”

[2]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  A Rude Awakening, this one-hour broadcast hosted by Sabrina Jacobs, Monday, 20 MAR 2017, 15:30 PST.

[3]  Terrestrial radio transmission, 94.1 FM (KPFA, Berkeley, CA) with online simulcast and digital archiving:  UpFront, this one-hour broadcast hosted by Sabrina Jacobs, Monday, 21 MAR 2017, 07:00 PST.

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[Image of UC Berkeley film screening of The State of Eugenics used via fair use.]

[21 MAR 2017]

[Last modified at 13:34 PST on 22 MAR 2017]

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“Different Now” (2017) by Chastity Belt

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LUMPENPROLETARIATChastity Belt is back with more heartfelt songs of post-punk, indie righteousness.  Well, at least, for the moment, they’re back with a new single entitled “Different Now” from their forthcoming album entitled I Used To Spend So Much Time Alone.  The new Chastity Belt album will be published soon through Hardly Art, an asset of Sup Pop Records, out of Seattle.

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Different Now” by Chastity Belt

On the music beat for Lumpenproletariat, RDM at The Fillmore (San Francisco, 2015) with Chastity Belt

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[13 MAR 2017]

[Last modified at 13:41 PDT on 15 MAR 2017]

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