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The Legacy of American Eugenics: Buck v. Bell in the Supreme Court

Thursday, February 9, 2012
12:00 AM
A. Alfred Taubman Biomedical Research Science Building
Kahn Auditorium
109 Zina Pitcher Place
Ann Arbor, MI

Keynote lecture by Paul A. Lombardo, Professor and Bobby Lee Cook Chair of Law at Georgia State University in Atlanta.

Buck v. Bell, the 1927 United States Supreme Court case that endorsed state laws mandating the eugenic sterilization of "feebleminded" and "socially inadequate" people in state institutions. That case and the laws that it validated preceded the 1934 Nazi law for sterilizing the 'hereditarily diseased" under which more than 400,000 operations occurred in Nazi Germany. Professor Lombardo will discuss details of the Buck case, and how it became one of the symbolic high points for the eugenic movement in the United States.

This keynote address is part of the exhibition Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race which runs from February 3rd - April 8. The exhibition illustrates how Nazi leadership enlisted people in professions traditionally charged with healing and the public good to legitimize persecution, murder, and ultimately genocide.

For more information about the entire exhibit please see Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.
Paul A. Lombardo currently serves as a Senior Advisor to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, in Washington, D.C. He was a contributor and consultant for the original 2004 installation of the U.S. Memorial Holocaust Museum Exhibit, Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.

The exhibition installation and related events are generously cosponsored by the University of Michigan Medical School Dean's Office, Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, Center for International and Comparative Studies, Institute for the Humanities, Department of Medical Education: Division of Anatomical Sciences, History Department, Germanic Languages and Literature, Genetic Counseling Program, and Department of Human Genetics.