Art, Sex and Eugenics
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Art, Sex and Eugenics by Fae Brauer
Book DescriptionThis book reveals how art and sex promoted the desire for the genetically perfect body. Its eight chapters demonstrate that before eugenics was stigmatized by the Holocaust and Western histories were sanitized of its prevalence, a vast array of Western politicians, physicians, eugenic societies, family leagues, health associations, laboratories and museums advocated, through verbal and visual cultures, the breeding of 'the master race'. Each chapter illustrates the uncanny resemblances between models of sexual management and the perfect eugenic body in America, Britain, France, Communist Russia and Nazi Germany both before and after the Second World War. Traced back to the eighteenth-century anatomy lesson, the perfect eugenic body is revealed as athletic, hygienic, 'pure-blooded' and sexually potent. This paradigm is shown to have persisted as much during the Bolshevik sexual revolution, as in democratic nations and fascist regimes. Consistently posed naked, these images were unashamedly exhibitionist and voyeuristic. Despite stringent legislation against obscenity, not only were these images commended for soliciting the spectator's gaze but also for motivating the spectator to act out their desire. An examination of the counter-archives of Maori and African Americans also exposes how biologically racist eugenics could be equally challenged by art. Ultimately this book establishes that art inculcated procreative sex with the Corpus Delecti - the delectable body, healthy, wholesome and sanctioned by eugenicists for improving the Western race.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780754658276
(234mm x 156mm x 23mm)
Imprint: Ashgate Publishing Limited
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Publish Date: 28-Nov-2008
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
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Author Biography - Fae Brauer
Fae Brauer is Research Professor in Visual Theory at the University of East London, Senior Lecturer in Art History and Theory at The University of New South Wales College of Fine Arts and author of many book essays and articles on visual cultures. Anthea Callen is Emeritus Professor of Visual Culture at the University of Nottingham and Research Associate at the University of Warwick Institute of Health. She has published extensively on Impressionism and late nineteenth-century culture, her most recent books being The Spectacular Body: Science, Method, and Meaning in the Work of Degas and The Art of Impressionism: Painting Technique and the Making of Modernity.
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