Catholicism, Race and Empire

Eugenics in Portugal, 1900-1950
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Publication date: 
350 pages

This monograph places the science and ideology of eugenics in early twentieth century Portugal in the context of manifestations in other countries in the same period. The author argues that three factors limited the impact of eugenics in Portugal: a low level of institutionalization, opposition from Catholics and the conservative nature of the Salazar regime. In Portugal the eugenic science and movement were confined to three expressions: individualized studies on mental health, often from a ‘biotypological’ perspective; a particular stance on racial miscegenation in the context of the substantial Portuguese colonial empire; and a diffuse model of social hygiene, maternity care and puericulture.

This book not only brings to light a hitherto unstudied eugenics movement; it also invites the reader to re-think the relations between northern and southern forms of eugenics, the role of religion, the dynamic capacity of eugenics for finding a home for its theories and the nature of colonialism.

Chapter 1 – Introduction
Chapter 2 – The Birth of Eugenics in Portugal: Early Debates and the Social and Scientific Context, 1900–1927
Chapter 3 – Between Consolidation and Institutionalisation: Eugenics, Catholic Opposition and the Salazar Regime, 1927–1933
Chapter 4 – Apogee and Decline: From the Establishment of the Eugenics Society to Dissolution into the Centre for Demographic Studies, 1934–1960
Chapter 5 – ‘Race’, Eugenics and Miscegenation in the Portuguese Metropole and ‘Overseas Territories’
Chapter 6 – Conclusion