Synopses & Reviews
Eugenics movements gained momentum throughout Eastern Europe between World Wars I and II. Maria Bucur demonstrates that the importance of the eugenics movement in Romania rests not so much in the contributions made to the study of science as in the realm of nationalist ideology and social policy making.
The notion that the quality and quantity of the human species could and should be controlled manifested itself through social engineering projects ranging from reshaping gender roles and isolating ethnic undesirables to introducing broad public health measures and educational reform. Romanian eugenicists sought to control such modernization processes as urbanization and industrialization without curbing them, yet they also embraced attitudes more typically identified with anti-modernists in Romanian politics and culture.
Bucur is the first historian to explore the role of eugenics as a response to the challenges of nation- and state-building in Eastern Europe. She presents a balanced assessment of the interwar eugenics movement’s success and failures and identifies connections and discontinuities between the movement and the post-war communist regime.
“An important monograph on modern Romanian history. Well researched and solid, and it makes engaging comparisons between developments in Romania and those elsewhere in Europe, the Americas, and even Asia. “
—Europe: American Historical Review
“An innovative and provocative investigation of a largely unresearched topic of East European history. . . . Written in a captivating style, Eugenics and Modernization offers a valuable insight into a complex but nevertheless intriguing historical topic.”
—European Review of History
“Sophisticated and lucid account of the eugenics movement in Romania and its relationship with the process of modernization in that country. . . . As an empirical study, Bucur’s book is exemplary. . . . A most impressive study, making an important intervention into the literature both on eugenics and on Romanian history. “
—East European Politics and Societies
Maria Bucur explores the interactions between the science of eugenics and modernization efforts in Romania between World Wars I and II.
About the Author
Maria Bucur, an assistant professor at Indiana University, holds the John V. Hill Chair in East European History. The recipient of numerous grants and awards, she is the co-editor, with Nancy Wingfield, of Staging the Past: the Politics of Commemoration in Habsburg Central Europe, 1848 to the Present.