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Eugenic NationFaults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America$
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Alexandra Minna Stern

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520285064

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520285064.001.0001

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California’s Eugenic Landscapes

California’s Eugenic Landscapes

Chapter:
(p.139) Chapter 5 California’s Eugenic Landscapes
Source:
Eugenic Nation
Author(s):

Alexandra Minna Stern

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520285064.003.0006

This chapter discusses the relationship between nature-making and eugenics in California. Eugenicists profoundly shaped California's landscapes. Their approaches to the environment encompassed the entire spectrum, from preservationists fiercely intent on forever insulating the wonders of nature from intrusion, to parks and recreation enthusiasts who wanted to build roads, lookouts, and concessions to make the outdoors more accessible if not commercially profitable. What united them was the extent to which they comprehended California's biota and topography through a framework of selective breeding, one in which specific species and organisms were elevated, chosen, and revered over others. In a more general sense, they viewed exposure to nature as a method of containing the worst and actualizing the best of humans' evolutionary and hereditary predispositions.

Keywords:   nature-making, eugenics, California, preservationists, selective breeding, evolution, heredity

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