E. S. Gosney Papers and Records of the Human Betterment Foundation
As part of my dissertation on privacy and technology, I’m looking into sterilization in the early part of the twentieth century. The E. S. Gosney Papers and Records of the Human Betterment Foundation have a number of archival records capturing information about these patients, especially those who were institutionalized.
Privacy, autonomy, and birth control in America, 1860-1900
Access to birth control became, controversially, protected by the “right to privacy” in 1965; a hundred years before, “procreation was a matter of public concern.” Yet, contradictorily and confusingly, Victorian women — and their bodies — were protected (and limited) by a powerful social division between private and public spheres.
Franz Neumann on the importance of history to freedom
Freedom, argues Franz Neumann, requires several kinds of knowledge (historical, for example), not simply the absence of state (or private) coercion — though that too is a necessary and critical element.
Four useful analytic categories from science and technology studies
Science and technology studies (STS) is an interdisciplinary collection of analytic approaches. In his analysis of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Philip Doty pulls out four concepts from STS that he believes are particularly useful
New-Fashioned Quarantine (from 1916)
One traditional method Hill discusses is quarantine — but Hill gives it a rational spin, characteristic of early twentieth century optimism and trust in science and expertise.
Sex and Eugenics Sterilization
In looking through Johanna Schoen’s 2005 book, Choice & Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare, it appears that, although eugenics-based sterilization procedures in the early-to-mid twentieth century appear to have targeted women more than men, men were also sterilized through these programs.
Embracing the Opposition: The Conservative Appropriation of Liberal Critiques
I have put up a paper I’ve been working on, “Embracing the Opposition: The Conservative Appropriation of Liberal Critiques,” that explores the appropriation of the critiques and rhetoric of liberals and progressives by modern conservatives.
Underdetermination and the balance between religion and science
The Duhem-Quine thesis, when simplified, explains how a given set of facts can produce more than one apparently true conclusion: essentially, different background assumptions lead to different outcomes.
Objectivity, science, and (a)political action
Theodore M. Porter, in Trust in Numbers, argues that the American distrust of elites — and of government itself — has led to a focus on “mechanical objectivity,” or rules to make decisions. In many ways similar to what American jurists call “procedural due process,” the idea is to diminish the necessity of personal judgement in favor of predictable, […]