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January 2002
304 pages  

6 x 9
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Eugenics and Modernization in Interwar Romania
Bucur, Maria
Maria Bucur explores the interactions between the science of eugenics and modernization efforts in Romania between World Wars I and II.

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Maria Bucur, an assistant professor at Indiana University, holds the John W. 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.
"Original, theoretically innovative, vividly written and well-constructed. Thanks to Maria Bucur’s path-breaking work, students of Eastern Europe will better understand the immense complexities of Romania’s (and the whole region’s) espousal of liberal modernity." —Vladimir Tismaneanu, University of Maryland

"There is nothing comparable to this book in the field. It covers new ground thematically, while shedding considerable light on the hotly disputed Romanian interwar period." —Paul E. Michelson, Huntington College

“This book accomplishes the rare feat of combining the history of science, the history of policy and public health, and national history in a seamless web that clearly depicts the multiple nuances of shared concepts in each of these spheres. . . . an exemplary study of the importance of biological discourse inthe formation of ‘modernity’ in Eastern Europe and those interested in eugenics in other national contexts. This well-written book is useful primarily for specialists but lucid and accessible even to undergraudates or general readers who interests include romanian history.”—Michael D. Gordin, Harvard University, History of Education Quarterly, Fall 2002

“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. “—Dan Stone, East European Politics and Societies, Vol. 17, No. 3, 2003

“An important monograph on modern Romanian history. . . . This is the first thorough attempt to analyze eugenics in Eastern Europe other than Russia. Bucur’s book is well researched and solid, and it makes engaging comparisons between developments in Romania and those elsewhere in Europe, the Americas, and even Asia. “--Irina Lievezean, Europe: American Historical Review, October 2003

“Bucur's book on the entangled histories of eugenics and modernization in interwar Romania is an innovative and provocative investigation of a largely unresearched topic of East European history. Recommended not only for readers interested in the history of Romania, but also those concerned with new findings on the impact of eugenics discourses over the relationship between individuals and the state.”ic.”--Roxana Cheschebec, European Review of History, Vol. 10, No. 1, 2003

“This impressive monograph delinates the ideas and policies associated with the eugenics movement in interwar Romania. While the topic might seem at first glance to deal with a marginal ideological trend in a minor European country, Bucur’s skillful contextual and comparative approach gives it a much broader significance, demonstrating its relavance to readers interested in a wide variety of eras, regions, and topics.”—H-Net Reviews, July 2004

Complete Description Reviews
Russian and East European Studies
Russia and East Europe/History

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.


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