JHU Press Blog

Fixing the Poor: Eugenic Sterilization and Child Welfare in the Twentieth Century

by eea | Thursday, March 5, 2020 - 3:00 PM

When Fixing the Poor was published in 2017, eugenics seemed like a shameful episode in America’s past. Today, #eugenics is trending. Universities confront their eugenics legacies. Scientists debate whether eugenics policies would work. The White House is imposing harsh new immigration and border policies that many decry as racist and eugenic. Opponents of legal abortion, including US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, denounce abortion as “rife with the potential for eugenic manipulation.” Eugenics is back at the center of US policy debates, making historical perspectives more urgent than ever.

Fixing the Poor adds to the debate over eugenics legacies with a striking reinterpretation of one of the best-known and most-deplored eugenics policies: sterilization. My book departs from most scholars’ emphasis on eugenics discourse by focusing on the routine operation of the sterilization program in one state, Minnesota. It places poverty and administrative control of “the poor” at the heart of sterilization practice.

Eugenics was international, but US sterilization policies were enacted at the state level and addressed local concerns. Thirty-two states legalized eugenic sterilization between 1907 and 1937, resulting in the sterilization of more than 63,000 individuals. State sterilization laws...Read More

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

by may | Monday, March 2, 2020 - 9:54 AM

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss

“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” – Dr. Seuss

Theodore Seuss Geisel was born on March 2, 1904. After working as an advertising illustrator, political cartoonist, and humorist, his first children’s book And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street was

published in 1937. He subsequently wrote more than 60 books, which have been translated into more than 20 languages, many of which have also been turned into animated classics and feature films.

Dr. Suess’s whimsical illustrations, poetic meter, and accessible vocabulary made him one of the most beloved children’s authors of all time. Today, the legacy of Dr. Seuss – who also published under the names “Theo LeSieg” and “Rosetta Stone”- is celebrated every year on March 2 nd . “Read Across America Day” and “World Book Day” are commemorated by adults and children in schools and libraries across the globe to celebrate Seuss and his influence on reading and literacy.

There is much to be said about the legacy of Dr. Seuss, and academic scholars continue to analyze, review and critique his work across many disciplines....Read More

Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education: Q&A with authors Joshua Kim and Edward Maloney

by eea | Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 12:00 PM

“We wrote this book to open up a conversation about how colleges and universities might evolve their institutions to better align teaching practices with the emerging science of learning.”

That sentence is from our recently published book, Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education (Feb. 11, 2020). If you’ve read any of our articles over the past six months, you probably have noticed us referencing the book. You wouldn’t have to look too hard – we’re pretty excited about it and hope, as we say, that it will open up a conversation about the future of higher education.

To get this conversation going, our publisher, Johns Hopkins University Press, has generously provided us with six questions.

Why did you write the book?

To elaborate a bit more on the first sentence of our book, we wrote Learning Innovation and the Future of Higher Education for three big reasons. Our first motivation was to mark what we are calling a turn to learning in higher education . We looked around at our own work at Georgetown and Dartmouth – and what we have...Read More

Project Paperclip Was Stranger Than Fiction

by eea | Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 4:00 PM

I could not be happier with the critical reception of Our Germans: Project Paperclip and the National Security State since its release in early 2018. Reviews in the Journal of American History , American Historical Review , Intelligence and National Security , and Isis: A Journal of the History of Science Society praise the book’s integration of new research, measured analysis and argumentation, and accessible style. What struck me these past few years doing interviews and speaking to audiences about Our Germans is just how much our perception of Paperclip is shaped by its representation in popular culture. Moreover, Paperclip enjoys a prominent place among conspiracy theorists (several of whom contact me on a regular basis) who see the controversial intelligence program as either part of a secret alien agenda or the foundation of a neo-Nazi Fourth Reich hiding in the shadows. On the one hand, I certainly understand why the complex operation responsible for bringing over approximately 1,500 German and Austrian scientists, engineers, and technicians to the US for “long term exploitation” is fertile ground for popular culture. On the other hand, as I demonstrate in Our...Read More

To form “a more-perfect-though-never-actually-perfect union”: An interview with historian Jane Kamensky

by may | Friday, February 14, 2020 - 9:54 AM

The Athenaeum Portrait of George Washington

The September 2019 issue of Reviews in American History introduced readers to a new and unique feature. Although RAH is a book review journal, “Process Stories” presents essays that do not review a specific title, but instead look more personally and concretely at how historiography shapes the way scholars teach, theorize, write, and/or serve. The first “Process Story” is Jane Kamensky’s Two Cheers for the Nation: An American Revolution for the Revolting United States . We took some time with Harvard Professor Kamensky to find out more about her work as a historian, and her essay - a thoughtful reflection on her challenges as an educator to teach our nation’s complex history critically while keeping students energized and civically engaged.

How did your essay become the first Process Story ?

I've been really impressed with what Ari Kelman and his board are doing with RAH , so I reached out to him with a draft of "Two Cheers," which started as a talk for a workshop in Melbourne in late 2018. The talk was an odd genre: part historiography, part pedagogy,...Read More

Discover Plant Communities of the Adirondacks

by eea | Thursday, February 13, 2020 - 4:00 PM

After walking through woods and wetlands many times one notices that certain wildflower species occur together, and with particular species of trees, shrubs, and other plant species within a region. This unique assemblage of rather predictable plant species is known as a plant community. A plant community can be either natural (like mixed hardwood or spruce-fir forests) or anthropogenic (“man-derived”; like old fields, ditches, wastelands) in origin. Wildflower guides usually include a few words about the community in which each species occurs but they do not adequately define nor emphasize the importance of that community, nor list all of the species that are expected together there. And most wildflower guides highlight the species that occur in natural upland areas, excluding wetlands and anthropogenic communities. Yet many of the wildflowers of open wetlands and old fields are among our most important insect-pollinated plants, and without them, pollinating insects would suffer. Wildflowers of the Adirondacks begins by describing over twenty plant communities in the Adirondacks and the wildflower species expected in each. So besides better understanding the many wildflower species in the Adirondacks, we hope readers will gain an appreciation for the natural assemblages of these species and...Read More

It's About the Regions

by eea | Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 3:30 PM

Writing a book that is designed to be both a textbook and a reference volume requires a strong bridge between the two objectives. For Across This Land the bridge is regional geography, which is basically an orderly way of keeping track of things geographically. In writing history, the ordering is chronological, with geography in second place among the subheadings. When the purpose is geographical—as here, to cover the broad expanse of the United States and Canada in a single volume—history still determines the ordering even though eons of geologic time and the events of human history both must be accommodated.

For these reasons and more, the book begins with Newfoundland. It is where the sun rises, where the Vikings made landfall, and where the Appalachians first emerged. Newfoundland has these claims to priority, and it was an easy choice to be the first chapter in Across This Land . But Newfoundland is only vaguely known to most people, which makes it seem like an odd place to start. A friend who read the first few chapters when I began writing the book asked, "are all of the chapters going to have so...Read More

Celebrating Black History Month

by may | Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 12:09 PM

African Fabric

America’s annual celebration of Black History month honors the innumerable (and all too often, overlooked) contributions that African Americans have made to this country. It is also a time to strive for a deeper, more nuanced understanding of the role of race in America. Academic research and scholarship are an important source of fresh perspectives, hard truths, and innovative thinking about race – and the journals of Johns Hopkins University Press are no exception. Here is a sampling of articles from JHUP Journals that tackle topics on the African American experience from many different lenses.

Identifying White Mediocrity and Know-Your-Place Aggression: A Form of Self-Care Koritha Mitchell African American Review, Winter 2018

US Medical School Applicant Experiences of Bias on the Interview Trail Avik Chatterjee, Charlotte Greif, Robert Witzburg, Lori Henault, Kristen Goodell, and Michael K. Paasche-Orlow Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, February 2020

Portfolio of Artwork: Skunder Boghossian Callaloo, 2017

Under Pressure: Reading Material Textuality in the Recovery of Early African American Print Work Jonathan Senchyne Arizona Quarterly, Fall 2019

...Read More

Caregivers Are The Key

by eea | Thursday, February 6, 2020 - 4:40 PM

As a geriatric and palliative care physician, I have provided medical care to many patients in their homes. They are typically very sick: some of them are frail, some suffer from dementia, a number are approaching the end of life. They have spent time in doctors’ offices and x-ray suites and in emergency rooms, they have been hospitalized, and they have had more than their share of operations and procedures. Most of them are at a point in their lives where want to stay at home for treatment. But because of their own physical or mental limitations, they cannot participate extensively in their own medical care. They do not have the mobility to get to a pharmacy to fill prescriptions, they do not see well enough to draw up their own insulin in a syringe, and they do not have the dexterity to change the bandage on a skin ulcer. They depend on a family member or, in some cases, a hired aide, to help them. It is for these patients and the family members who take care of them that I decided to write a book. It would be directed principally at caregivers, at the unpaid, unsung, and unsupported...Read More

From Enforcers to Guardians: Q&A with authors Hannah L. F. Cooper, ScD, and Mindy Thompson Fullilove, MD

by eea | Monday, February 3, 2020 - 4:00 PM

Why did you write From Enforcers to Guardians: A Public Health Primer on Ending Police Violence ?

Excessive police violence has become an inescapable reality in the United States. Some of us have learned to scan the sidewalks and streets for officers from the moment we lock our door behind us to the moment we reach our destination. Some of us breathe a sigh of relief when friends and family make it home unharmed by police. All of us have witnessed on our screens, frame by frame, day after day, the horrors of police killings of civilians who were little or no threat to them. These horrors have been compounded by the repeated judicial exoneration of the police. One innocent pedestrian looking over his shoulder, one sigh of relief, perhaps even one unprovoked police killing might be an acceptable “trade-off” for a safe society. But when whole communities are terrorized and thousands of people – disproportionately Black men and boys – are killed by police without cause and without legal consequence for the perpetrators, we must question the purpose of policing itself. If so many people are being murdered by the police, clearly policing...Read More