International Networks across the Atlantic: Latin Eugenics and Sexual Knowledge in Italy and Argentina, 1916–46

Monday, January 5, 2015: 9:10 AM
Sutton Center (New York Hilton)
Chiara Beccalossi, Oxford Brookes University
Being unabashed advocates of what Dagmar Herzog has called modern ‘sexuality management’, eugenicists devised methods to control sexual behaviour and for channeling the sexual instinct towards reproduction.  This paper will explore how sexual knowledge was produced and circulated across the Atlantic among Latin eugenicists who promoted biotypology, a version of eugenics that originated in Italy and became popular in some Latin America countries such as Argentina. Focusing on the Italian Institute of Biotypology and the Argentinian Institute of Biotypogy, this paper will show how Latin eugenicists put sexual behaviour and reproduction at the center of their research. First, it will illustrate how biotypology was intertwined with endocrinology and with Freudian and other psychological approaches to sexuality. Secondly, this paper will show the extent to which one of the central aims of biotypology was to control the physical, psychological and sexual development of individuals so that ‘normality’ could be ensured and abnormalities prevented. Finally, this paper will show how the Italian and Argentinian Institutes of Biotypology collaborated to disseminate sexual knowledge.
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