Eugenics at the Edges of Empire

New Zealand, Australia, Canada and South Africa

  • Diane B. Paul
  • John Stenhouse
  • Hamish G. Spencer

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Diane B. Paul, John Stenhouse, Hamish G. Spencer
    Pages 1-19
  3. Back Matter
    Pages 311-320

About this book


This volume explores the history of eugenics in four Dominions of the British Empire: New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and South Africa. These self-governing colonies reshaped ideas absorbed from the metropole in accord with local conditions and ideals. Compared to Britain (and the US, Germany, and Scandinavia), 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. This volume contributes to the increasingly comparative and international literature on the history of eugenics and to several ongoing historiographic debates, especially around issues of race. As white-settler societies, questions related to racial mixing and purity were inescapable, and a notable contribution of this volume is its attention to Indigenous populations, both as targets and on occasion agents of eugenic ideology.


history mental health genes policy social movement birth control sterilisation nineteenth century twentieth century baby contest racism family state

Editors and affiliations

  • Diane B. Paul
    • 1
  • 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

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-64685-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-64686-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site