Breeding better babies in the eugenic garden city: 'municipal Darwinism' and the (anti)cosmopolitan utopia in the early twentieth century

Currell, Susan (2010) Breeding better babies in the eugenic garden city: 'municipal Darwinism' and the (anti)cosmopolitan utopia in the early twentieth century. Modernist Cultures, 5 (2). pp. 267-290. ISSN 2041-1022

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Abstract

Showing how `modernist cosmopolitanism¿ coexisted with an anti-cosmopolitan municipal control this essay looks at the way utopian ideals about breeding better humans entered into new town and city planning in the early twentieth century. An experiment in eugenic garden city planning which took place in Strasbourg, France, in the 1920s provided a model for modern planning that was keenly observed by the international eugenics movement as well as city planners. The comparative approach taken in this essay shows that while core beliefs about degeneration and the importance of eugenics to improve the national `body¿ were often transnational and cosmopolitan, attempts to implement eugenic beliefs on a practical level were shaped by national and regional circumstances that were on many levels anti-cosmopolitan. As a way of assuaging the tensions between the local and the global, as well as the traditional with the modern, this unique and now forgotten experiment in eugenic city planning aimed to show that both preservation and progress could succeed at the same time

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Depositing User: Sue Currell
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 19:09
Last Modified: 28 Jun 2012 14:13
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19414
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