Race, Sex, and Reproduction in the Global South

Race, Sex, and Reproduction in the Global South, c.1800-2000

An international workshop at the University of Sydney, 18-19 April 2017, sponsored by Race and Ethnicity on the Global South, an ARC Laureate Research Program, and the Sydney Centre for the Foundations of Science.

Convenors: Warwick Anderson (Sydney); Chiara Beccalossi (Lincoln); Hans Pols (Sydney)


Illustrations of the Negro race, 1849

This medical and scientific knowledge on race and sexuality has moved across countries and continents to become global through processes of translation, hybridisation and transculturation. However, historical accounts of how science and medicine have shaped modern ideas of race and sexuality in a global context quite often refer only to Western countries in the Global North. Recent innovative histories on the Global South have shown that debates on race and reproduction in the southern hemisphere have their own history; they neither uncritically reflect ideas from the Global North nor have they been simply influenced by theories popular in the northern hemisphere. For example, we can find biomedical scientists in the southern hemisphere who showed greater interest in racial plasticity, environmental adaptation, mixing or miscegenation, and blurring of racial boundaries. Likewise sexologists in the Global South were far more interdisciplinary than their northern counterparts and incorporated criminal anthropology, psychiatry, biology, endocrinology and psychoanalysis in their studies until well into the 1970s.

This workshop aims to explore medical and scientific understandings of race and reproduction in the Global South in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and to illustrate how these understandings have influenced government policies.

Image Credit: Wellcome Library, London.
Illustrations of the Negro race. The animal kingdom arranged after its organization. Forming a natural history of animals, and an introduction to comparative anatomy / By the late Baron Georges Cuvier, Tr. and adapted to the present state of science. The Mammalia, birds, and reptiles, by Edward Blyth, the fishes and Radiata, by Robert Mudie, the molluscous animals by George Johnston, M.D., the articulated animals, by J. O. Westwood, F.L.S
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