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The Sociology of Science, Technology and the Military: Pseudoscience

Study of people and machines



A highly selective bibliography of resources available through Princeton catalogs

The Sociology of Science, Technology and the Military


“Clearly there's a biological component?”  Nick, Zootopia, (2016.)

It is in the sterilization of failures, and not in the selection of successes for breeding, that the possibility of an improvement of the human stock lies…” H. G. Wells (1904)

Pseudoscience – a systematic corruption of true Science -  has long been used as an excuse for ill treatment of various groups.  Two which can be examined in this regard are termed Eugenics and Phrenology.

  • Bad girls at Samarcand : Pseudoscience sexuality and sterilization in a southern juvenile reformatory, by Karin L. Zipf.  Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, [2016]. , 242 pages, 24 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations.  (F) HV9015.N82 .Z57 2016.
    Contents:   A place for white girls : the tricky politics of juvenile reform -- In defense of the nation : syphilis, North Carolina’s "girl problem," and World War I -- How to make bad girls good : discipline and resistance inside a girls’ reformatory, 1918-1925 -- Suddenly proclaimed unfit : the eugenics agenda of Kate Burr Johnson -- A modern girl’s dilemma : girl runaways and sexual anxieties in jazz-age North Carolina -- Not penitent yet : the strategy of the defense in the Samarcand arson case -- Classifying "subnormal" : parole and sterilization at the state home and industrial school for girls, 1933-1950 -- "A mystery to me" : the problem of incarcerating female delinquents in World War II-era North Carolina.

  • Birth, sex and abuse : women’s voices under Nazi rule, by Beverley Chalmers.  Guildford, Surrey : Grosvenor House Publishing Limited, [2015].  364 pages.  (F)  DD256.6 .C43 2015.
    Documents Nazi abuse of women and children under the guise of eugenicsa  

  • Head masters : phrenology, secular education, and nineteenth-century social thought,. By Stephen Tomlinson.  Tuscaloosa, Ala. : The University of Alabama Press, c2005.  437 pages.  (F) BF868 .T66 2005.
    Contents:  The science of man -- Ideology and education in Virginia -- Gall, naturalist of the mind -- The birth of the normal -- George Combe and the rise of phrenology in Britain -- Schooling for a new moral world -- The eye of the community -- The philosophy of Christianity -- James Simpson and the necessity of popular education -- Insanity, education, and the introduction of phrenology to America -- Phrenological Mann -- From savagery to civilization -- Guardians of the republic -- The high tide of secularism -- The education of Littlehead -- Race, science, and the republic -- Ministering to the body politic
    A thorough history of Phenology with 38 pages of further sources.

  • Imbeciles : the Supreme Court, American eugenics, and the sterilization of Carrie Buck, by Adam Cohen.  New York:  Penguin Press, 2016.402 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations.(F) KF224.B83 C64 2016 Also DIXON e books.
    “In 1927, the Supreme Court handed down a ruling so disturbing, ignorant, and cruel that it stands as one of the great injustices in American history.  Adam Cohen exposes the court’s decision to allow the sterilization of a young woman it wrongly thought to be ‘feebleminded’ and to champion the mass eugenic sterilization of undesirables for the greater good of the country.  Buck v. Bell unfolded against the backdrop of a nation in the thrall of eugenics, which many Americans thought would uplift the human race. Congress embraced this fervor, enacting the first laws designed to prevent immigration by Italians, Jews, and other groups thought to be genetically inferior, [and which would go on to serve as a model for the Holocaust.] ”  Catalog record.

  • Labeling people : French scholars on society, race and empire, 1815-1848, by Martin S. Staum.  Montreal : McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2003.  245 pages.  (F)  GN185.F8 S73 2003 also ONLINE.
    Account of 19th century racism in France.  Includes the history of the French Phenology association,   Société phrénologique de Paris.

  • Race unmasked : biology and race in the twentieth century , by Michael Yudell.  New York : Columbia University Press, [2014].  286 pages.  (F) HQ751 .Y83 2014 also ONLINE.
    Contents:  A eugenic foundation -- Charles Davenport and the biology of blackness -- Eugenics in the public’s eye -- The National Research Council and the scientific study of race -- Coloring race difference -- Biology and the problem of the color line -- Race and the evolutionary synthesis -- Consolidating the race concept in biology -- Challenges to the race concept -- Naturalizing racism: the controversy over sociobiology -- Race in the genomic age -- Epilogue: Dobzhansky’s Paradox and the future of racial research.
    A thorough history of Eugenics, with a fifty-five page listing of additional sources.

  • Racial science in Hitler’s new Europe, 1938-1945, edited by Anton Weiss-Wendt and Rory Yeomans.  Lincoln:  University of Nebraska Press, [2013].  394 pages.  (F) GN50.45.E85 R33 2013  Also ONLINE. 
    Another  account of Nazi Eugenics.