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The Evolutionary Perspective
Category Archives: Eugenics
Japan’s top medical group to admit responsibility, apologize over forced sterilization – The Mainichi
Posted: June 24, 2020 at 6:27 am
A ledger about eugenics surgery, which was found in a cabinet of the Miyagi Prefectural Government's childrearing support division, is seen at the prefectural government building. (Mainichi/Hiroshi Endo)
The Japanese Medical Science Federation is set to admit the responsibility of medical scientists and academic associations over forced sterilization surgeries that were carried out in Japan based on the now-defunct eugenics protection law (1948-1996), and is poised to apologize to victims, it has been learned.
It is the first move of its kind by the federation comprising 136 medical associations in Japan. The federation's panel of outside experts investigated the matter and concluded that medical scientists and health care professionals played a role in enacting and administering the law and left the problems of the controversial law unaddressed for many years. The federation is planning to release the investigation report on June 25. It will also look into setting up a permanent ethics committee, among other measures.
In Japan, several academic societies in psychiatry, obstetrics and gynecology and other medicine, as well as medical practitioners' organizations were involved in the promotion of forced sterilization. However, only some of those academic groups have begun to self-investigate their own roles in forced sterilization, leaving much of what actually happened under the ill-guided national policy unrevealed. The decision by the Japanese Medical Science Federation, the presiding body in Japan's medical world, to admit its responsibility and offer an apology to victims is likely to have an influence on its member associations.
The federation set up the expert panel comprising its directors and external experts in April 2019 and interviewed victims of compulsory sterilization and individuals associated with medical societies that were involved in such operations, among others. Among the things that the panel examined are situations surrounding the enactment and operation of the eugenics law and the process where damage from the law continued to spread without any measures being taken in the 1970s and onward, when other countries abolished their eugenics policies.
In the investigation report, the panel states, "It is deeply regrettable that medical scientists and health professionals were involved in the institution of the former eugenics law, played a role in its operation and left the problems of the law unaddressed even after medical ethics and human rights ideology prevailed." While the former eugenics law was revised in 1996 into the Maternal Health Act by removing the provision for forcible sterilization, the report states, "Deep remorse over not taking immediate action to provide relief to the victims of forced sterilization even after the legal amendment, and an expression of heartfelt apology to the victims and other parties concerned are called for."
The report attributed part of the cause of delays in legal revision and relief measures for victims to its own analysis that "Even while there were suggestions pointing to the problems (of the law) in some parts of the medical world, such voices remained within the realm of academia and were not large enough to reach out to society as a whole." The report also refers to issues including present-day prenatal diagnosis and genome editing, which are often associated with the concept of eugenics, and stresses, "It is important to examine them from various perspectives so they won't go in an unethical direction."
The panel's report proposes launching a new organization that examines medical and medicinal decisions across academic societies in order to prevent cases similar to forced sterilization from ever happening again in the future.
Established in 1902, the Japanese Medical Science Federation has a total of 1.03 million researchers and doctors belonging to its member organizations.
(Japanese original by Norikazu Chiba, Kyoto Bureau)
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Posted: at 6:27 am
Once, it was perfectly acceptable to believe that people of certain ethnicities were better or worse than others, and that white people were on top of the pile as the smartest, the best, even the most evolved. To justify these beliefs, people could turn to race science to find evidence of their inherent superiority.
Though our modern understanding of genetics and evolution has since refuted the claims made by race science and eugenics throughout science history, the views they supported have not yet disappeared from our societys understanding of race.
Subhadra Das is a writer, historian, and sometimes a comedian. She specialises in the history and philosophy of science in the 18th and 19th Centuries, particularly the science of race and eugenics.She is one of the curators of the science collections at University College London, whilst currently working on her own nonfiction book about the history of eugenics.
Subhadra has chosen her top 5 science books on race that will clear up misconceptions and replace pseudoscience with scientific evidence.
8.99, Fourth Estate
Im actually in this book, which meant reading it was a really interesting experience.
Superior is an absolutely phenomenal book. Angela is a hero. Its not simply that she has created a really forensic and detailed deconstruction of racism as its being carried out today, by some really horrendous practitioners.
But shes also revealed how insidious ideas to do with race are in our society today. So, if people havent read it, I really couldnt recommend the book more, even with the caveat that I am in it.
12.99, Weidenfeld and Nicolson
One of the people who writes about this habitually, and well, is Adam Rutherford. His latest book is called How to Argue with a Racist I dont necessarily agree with Adam on this, I think the best thing to do with racists is to not talk to them but, credit to him, he is willing to do that and hes willing to do that work.
And so his book is the basis of that argument and how you build that argument from the point of view of the geneticist, which I think is really very important.
Stephen Jay Gould
13.99, W. W. Norton & Company
The science writer that is an absolute hero to me is the late, great Stephen Jay Gould.
His 1981 book, The Mismeasure of Man, was him as a scientist attacking race science using science as a tool. It goes to demonstrate that science can be anti-racist. And I think that is an encouraging thing for a lot of people.
The New Press
Im a historian and I dont think science is the only way in which we can combat racism. So, one of my particular favourite books is by a writer called Sven Lindqvist, and its The Skull Measurers Mistake.
Its a brilliant book that outlines in each individual chapter people who spoke up against racism. And I think thats a really important bit of the history that often gets left out.
See more reading lists of science books:
I realise Ive mentioned a fair few science books by white men. Because guess what? Theres not a huge number of scientists of colour who have had books published.
But now we see books by people of colour working their way to the top of the non-fiction charts which is, in ways, both depressing but also kind of hopeful and in order to redress the balance of my list Im choosing a book by Akala called Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire.
So, if you really wanted to know about this history and just how it affects real people, then that is a phenomenal book to read. Its not a science book. But science is still part of society, and we need to get better at acknowledging that, too.
Posted: at 6:27 am
The Origin of species by natural selection, Charles Darwins (1809-1882) masterpiece, was published in Nov 1859- all twelve hundred and fifty copies were sold out on the first day. Since then Darwins ideas have revolutionised the entire premise of evolutionary biology and superseded the concept of naturalism as an explanation of human evolution.
In this article, however, we will discuss the social, economic and cultural impact of Darwins theory. Social Darwinism, as it is called, has an impact in shaping the current geopolitical environment of the world. The current riots in the Unites States and the United Kingdom motivated by racial inequality have deep seated roots. There is no denying the fact that racism has existed since time immemorial, but in this article, we will review the history and impact of social Darwinism on modern day racism.
Thomas H Huxley (1825-1895) also known as Darwins bulldog, coined the phrase Social Darwinism in 1861. However, the first use of the term Social Darwinism in Europe is attributed to a French journalist called Emile Gautier (1853-1937). The concept of social Darwinism borrowed the idea of survival of the fittest and natural selection from Darwins biological theory of evolution and applied this to economics, sociology and politics. It is a mishmash of ideologies that was and still is used to justify colonisation, imperialism, racism, social inequality and eugenics.
Darwin and the survival of the fittest:
Thomas Malthus (1766-1834) was an English economist and an influential scholar. Malthusianism is a theory of exponential population growth in comparison to the linear growth of food supply and other resources. In his book An essay on the Principle of population Malthus describes this apparent disparity between population growth and food supply. Malthus believed that through preventative and positive checks, the population could be controlled to balance the food supply with the population level. The Malthusian catastrophe is described as a population, when unchecked, goes on doubling itself every twenty-five years, or increases in a geometrical ratio, so that population soon exceeds its food supply.
Hitler justified the policies of sterilization of defectives, involuntary euthanasia and the holocaust based on racial hygiene, a term that gained tremendous popularity in the Nazi Germany
Darwin was familiar with Malthuss concepts and was influenced by his ideas. He made the Malthusian struggle for existence the basis of his natural selection. He saw a similarity between farmers picking the best stock in selective breeding, and a Malthusian philosophy. The very extended wording on the title page of his book, by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life, are suggestive of his views on race superiority. In The Descent of Man, he wrote We civilised men. do our utmost to check the process of elimination, we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed and the sick. Thus, the weak members of society propagate their kind.
Herbert Spencer (1820-1903) an English polymath and a sociologist was the first one to describe the term survival of the fittest. A very big proponent of utilitarian philosophy, Spenser believed that a social system that provides for the poor and needy is eventually detrimental to the overall growth of the society as it promotes the survival of the weak and the infirm leading to an overall retardation of growth. His concept of survival of the fittest implied that nature eliminates inefficiency- any efforts to slow this process will impair the overall benefits to the strong races. In his work, Social Statics (1850), he argued that imperialism had served civilization by clearing the inferior races off the earth.
The Rise of Social Darwinism and the Eugenics movement:
Francis Galton (1822-1911) was an English polymath and Darwins half cousin, fascinated by Darwins work, he made it his lifes mission to study variations in human population and its implication. Galton published his book the Hereditary Genius in 1869- he extensively studied the physical traits of eminent men and the inheritance of physical as well as intellectual attributes. Galton wrote in this book: Let us do what we can to encourage the multiplication of the races best fitted to invent, and conform to, a high and generous civilisation, and not, out of mistaken instinct of giving support to the weak, prevent the incoming of strong and hearty individuals.
It was Galton who championed the concept of eugenics (meaning well born). Eugenics promotes the exclusion or elimination of human races deemed to be inferior with the preservation of superior races eventually leading to the overall improvement in genetic quality. Eugenics gained momentum in the early 1900s with the formation of British and American Eugenics societies. Winston Churchill supported the British Eugenics Society and was an honorary vice president for the organization. Churchill believed that eugenics could solve race deterioration and reduce crime and poverty. Eugenics promoted practices such as genetic screening, birth control, marriage restrictions, both racial segregation and sequestering the mentally ill, compulsory sterilization, forced abortions and pregnancies. Theodore Roosevelt, Alexander Graham Bell, John D. Rockefeller, Jr., and many other prominent citizens were outspoken supporters. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) wrote: The only fundamental and possible socialism is the socialisation of the selective breeding of man. He proposed that the state should issue colour-coded procreation tickets to prevent the gene pool of the elite being diluted by inferior human beings. Those who decided to have children with holders of a different-coloured ticket would be punished with a heavy fine. In the United States, scientific racism was used to justify African slavery. Samuel Cartwright (1793-1863) coined the term drapetomania which was descried as a mental disorder of slaves who had tried to run away from their captives- the condition was deemed treatable. Negroes, with their smaller brains and blood vessels, and their tendency toward indolence and barbarism, had only to be kept benevolently in the state of submission, awe and reverence that God had ordained. The Negro is [then] spellbound, and cannot run away, he said.
The ethos of eugenics was incorporated into Nazi Germanys racial policies. Hitler justified the policies of sterilization of defectives, involuntary euthanasia and the holocaust based on racial hygiene, a term that gained tremendous popularity in the Nazi Germany. After the second world war, due to Hitlers adaptation of eugenics, there has been a sharp decline in the popularity of this policy, at least at a state level.
The roots of the idea that the white races are superior, more intelligent, stronger and higher on the evolutionary ladder, are varied and multifactorial. The age of European enlightenment, followed by imperialism compounded by social Darwinism, has reinforced the concept over centuries. In Sweden, the practice of forced sterilisation was continued till 1970. In the US, involuntary sterilisation of female prisoners occurred as late as 2010.
Modern day evolutionary scientists and molecular biologists dismiss the idea of race superiority based on hereditary genetics. The superiority of a human over another, based on race, colour, creed and sex are morally and ethically wrong. A better world would be world without prejudice and racism.
Suhail Anwar is a surgeon with an interest in theology and history
Race, class and SAT scores: The connection between testing and NU’s student body – North by Northwestern
Posted: at 6:27 am
Graphic by Jacquelyne Germain / North by Northwestern
As Weinberg freshman Shira Nash waited in line at her local public high school to check in for her first SAT, she felt intimidated seeing students she knew, subconsciously comparing herself to them. The line grew shorter and shorter, and she thought her test anxiety couldnt get any worse.
Then, it did. When Nash entered the testing room, she was immediately struck by the lack of diversity among the students seated around her.
I often was the only person of color in my [SAT] testing room, definitely the only Black woman, said Nash. It was definitely an overwhelming experience.
Along with 40,594 applicants around the world, Nash submitted her standardized test scores as part of her application to Northwestern University. The middle 50% of Northwesterns Class of 2023 had SAT scores ranging from 1450-1550, some of the highest in the nation. In comparison, the 2019 national average score was 1059. Today, Northwesterns Class of 2023, along with the rest of the undergraduate population, reap the benefits of their test scores and other exemplary academic and nonacademic factors, attending one of the top institutions in the country. However, though the SAT is framed as an objective calculation in the college admissions process, the test can be used to foster socioeconomic inequality that is then reflected in the student populations of elite institutions like Northwestern.
A History of Inequality
The origins of the SAT lie within Americas eugenics movement in the early 1900s, which aimed to uphold white supremacy by removing undesirable traits from the human race. Such traits were often associated with lower income minority populations who were victims of forced sterilizations and other oppressive practices of the eugenics movement, according to Scitable.
In the eugenics movement, there is this inherent belief that Black people, African-descended people [and] people from the global south are intellectually inferior to the descendants of Western Europe, said David Stovall, an African-American studies professor who investigates education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Princeton University psychology professor and devout eugenicist Carl Brigham designed the SAT in the 1920s. It originated from Brighams Army Alpha Test, an intelligence test administered to millions of World War I army recruits, according to PBS. In 1923, based on the analysis of the results from the Army Alpha Test by race, he published A Study of American Intelligence. In the books conclusion, Brigham wrote that American intelligence was declining as the racial admixture becomes more and more extensive. Brigham further stated that this sharp decline in intelligence owed itself to the presence of the negro in America. Brigham would eventually modify the Army Alpha Test to be used in the college admissions process, renaming it the Scholastic Aptitude Test. In 1926, the SAT was administered to high school students for the first time.
The Impacts of Racist Roots
The tests racist history continues to be reflected today, shown through massive racial scoring gaps.
I feel like [racial scoring gaps] are a reflection of systemic racism and how in Black and Hispanic communities the schools are underfunded and have less resources for students than more affluent schools, said Weinberg freshman Rebecca Covington.
Broken down by race, white and Asian students had the highest average SAT scores in the nation in 2019: 1114 and 1223, respectively, according to the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (FairTest). The average scores for Black and Hispanic students were lower: 933 and 978, respectively. These disparities are reflective of larger inequities within Americas long history of racial oppression.
Data provided by the College Board (These averages are from 2019 and are based on the new SAT scoring system: scale of 400-1600)
When you start to think about something like the SAT, you also have to think about how racism operates structurally, meaning that as a system, there are strategies that are used to justify the means by which to declare African-descended people inferior, Stovall said.
A 2003 study by national admissions test expert Jay Rosner revealed that experimental SAT test questions that resulted in better scores for Black students compared to white students were discarded by test authors in favor of those that white students answered correctly. Although test developers did not explicitly consider race when selecting questions, racial scoring disparities drove question selection. These experimental questions were then used on future versions of the SAT, giving an upper hand to white students and contributing to a cycle of racial inequality.
Some students, like Nash, found the language of the SAT to be restrictive in this way.
You have to know everything the question is asking and you have to know the answer, and thats not always fair because some words are not in peoples vernacular, Nash said.
These inequities operate not just in relation to race but also to class and students socio-economic situations. Poor students of all races perform worse on standardized tests compared to more-affluent students, according to Education Week.
By requiring students to submit standardized test scores, predominantly white institutions like Northwestern are stifling socioeconomic diversity.
Black, Hispanic and Native American students are more likely to be poor compared to white and Asian students. They also make up the lowest percentages of students at every top 10 institution in the nation, including Northwestern.
In 2014, students with annual family incomes over $200,000 averaged a composite score of 1714, whereas students from families earning less than $20,000 annually averaged a composite score of 1326, according to the Washington Post.
Data provided by the Washington Post (These averages are from 2014 and are based on the old SAT scoring system: scale of 600-2400)
At Northwestern, students coming from households earning $20,000 or less annually only make up about 4% of the student body, whereas 66% of students come from the top 20%, according to a 2017 report from The New York Times The Upshot.
SAT preparation gaps are reflective of such economic inequities as well. Communication freshman Caleb Whittaker recalls an SAT test-prep program called Test Masters in his Texas hometown that cost $700-$800 for its duration. He said that students who did not perform particularly well in school academically could get the high scores needed for admission into elite institutions simply because of their ability to afford these programs.
They learned how to take these tests rather than learning the material, Whittaker said.
In contrast, Whittaker said he himself didnt have many resources to study from for the SAT. He primarily relied on general knowledge from school and some free online test prep materials.
Medill freshman Jordan Mangi had a similar experience preparing for the SAT. She was able to take the test for the first time because it was offered for free at her high school during her junior year.
I didnt have a prep book or anything. I didnt go to an SAT test prep class. That wasnt really an option for me, Mangi said.
Resources like SAT test prep classes and private tutors are more accessible to affluent students. According to CostHelper, instructor-led SAT preparatory courses can range from $75-$1000, while private tutoring can cost $75-$250 per hour on average.
Although low-income students are often eligible for fee waivers to mitigate costs associated with the SAT, the College Board, the non-profit organization that develops and administers the test, charges students every step of the way.
The SAT costs $52 without the essay and $68 with the essay. If a student registers after the initial deadline or needs to change test dates, they are charged an extra $30. Sending a score report to colleges costs $12 per institution. If a student is crunched for time and needs to rush order these score reports, there is an additional $31 fee. If the website crashes when scores come out due to increased website traffic and a student is anxious to view their score, for $15, they can call and get it over the phone.
[The SAT] makes rich communities where students are able to pay for tutoring or take it a bunch of times look smarter, but in reality its just about how much money you have, said Medill freshman Onyekaorise Chigbogwu.
Medill freshman Ellisya Lindsey was able to afford a private SAT tutor and said tutoring was helpful as she navigated the test-taking process. Her tutor provided her with an SAT study book containing practice questions and was able to walk her through the layout of the test, what the questions would look like and how to go about answering them.
Without a tutor or without any sort of resources whatsoever, you would not know what youre getting yourself into and youd definitely be underprepared, Lindsey said.
To combat these issues, in August 2019, the College Board introduced an adversity index called Landscape that provides colleges and universities with background information to use in conjunction with a students application. The information includes basic high school data including locale, senior class size and the percentage of students eligible for free/reduced lunch. It also includes test score comparisons within each high school, as well as high school and neighborhood indicators such as median family income, education levels and crime rates.
But Stovall said that Landscape is not enough, referring to it as a Band-Aid on the initial concerns of the test. He advocates for a more holistic portfolio review of students and their achievements by colleges and universities that doesnt revolve around standardized test scores.
Northwestern ranks standardized test scores as a very important academic factor in its admissions decisions, according to its 2019-2020 Common Data Set. Standardized test scores take precedence over other factors such as a students essay, recommendations and extracurriculars, ranked lower as important factors.
Though in response to COVID-19, a day after seven of the eight Ivy League institutions went test optional for the 2020-2021 application cycle, Northwestern also decided to go temporarily test optional for the Class of 2025. Other schools have chosen to permanently ditch the requirement, recently the University of Chicago and the University of California system. Other test-optional universities include DePaul University, New York University, American University, George Washington University and more.
I feel like who you are as a person and your work ethic and things you really believe in and are passionate [about] are very good things to focus on, said Medill freshman Kacee Haslett in reference to factors that should be valued more in the admissions process.
Stovall emphasized the need for the college admissions system to reconsider how it evaluates socioeconomic scoring disparities, referencing Gloria Ladson-Billings, a School of Education professor at the University of WisconsinMadison who studies critical race theory.
Instead of looking at gaps between test scores for certain racial, ethnic and economic groups, she says we can consider a debt, Stovall said. What debt is owed to folks who have been historically isolated and marginalized and what would the payment of that debt look like? When we start to think about that, now how do we construct admissions policies and how do we construct access for historically marginalized groups?
Northwesterns Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion refers to access as one of its defining strands along with equity, enrichment and wellbeing. Though these values guide its framework and operation, standardized tests with discriminatory origins, practices and outcomes continue to be used as an objective measure of student aptitude in the admissions process. To some, the SAT is far from an unbiased calculation.
While youre in the test, sure, its the same for everyone, everyones going to do the same questions, Nash said. But we have to think about what happens before the test and after the test, that I think is not equal at all.
Japan ruling party manga using evolutionary theory to push constitutional change slammed – The Mainichi
Posted: at 6:26 am
One strip from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's "Oshiete! Moyawin" manga series featuring a Charles Darwin-like character arguing for the need to revise Japan's Constitution based in evolutionary theory. (Image from the Liberal Democratic Party website)
TOKYO -- The ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP)'s debut of a manga featuring a Charles Darwin-like character tying the push to revise Japan's pacifist Constitution to evolutionary theory is drawing a torrent of accusations that the party understands neither evolution nor the danger of applying the theory to politics.
In the four-panel manga "Oshiete! Moyawin" (Please teach me, Moyawin), a character resembling Charles Darwin but called "Moyawin" states, "This is what the theory of evolution says. ... It is not the strongest who survive, nor the cleverest. The only people who can survive are people who can change." Moyawin adds, "I think that to develop Japan yet more going forward, constitutional revision is needed now."
Three of the strips were tweeted by the LDP's public relations account on the evening of June 19, and also appear as an ongoing series in a new section of the party's website.
However, these passages do not appear anywhere in Darwin's revolutionary work "On the Origin of Species" (1859). Rather, they are drawn from a U.S. economist's own interpretation of "Origin" included in a paper penned in the 1960s, and widely considered an "abuse" of Darwin's ideas.
The manga triggered a quick pushback on Twitter, with users posting comments including, "This is an incorrect usage based on a failure to understand the theory of evolution," and "It's twisted to use this for politics." One tweet pointed out that "Darwin never said any of this" and demanded the LDP retract the strips, while another said that "connecting (evolution) to the Constitution, which is completely unrelated, is nothing but a distortion." Yet another user quipped, "Maybe it's the LDP that needs to change."
Psychiatrist and Mainichi Shimbun columnist Rika Kayama also voiced her opposition. In the 19th and 20th centuries, evolutionary theory was applied to human societies in what came to be known as "social Darwinism," and natural selection based on "survival of the fittest" was used to justify racism and eugenics. Kayama tweeted, "The Nazis based their massacre of Jews and disabled people on eugenics, and ever since then, everyone has understood that the simplistic application (of evolutionary theory) to politics is dangerous. I wonder if the LDP PR section did this as a premeditated crime, or just out of ignorance."
Meanwhile, the official account of publisher Iwanami Shoten tweeted, "It's a common misconception about the theory of evolution, but 'evolution' does not equal 'improvement.' Evolution is the source of (biological) diversity."
Satoshi Chiba, a professor at Tohoku University's Graduate School of Life Sciences who has also penned a book on evolution, told the Mainichi Shimbun, "Evolution is change without direction, and that change is neither for good nor bad. Just as the water of a river slowly created a valley by wearing away the land, (evolution) is change in properties occurring on a group level; the simple result of natural selection and other phenomena. Even regression is a kind of evolution."
"I have to say it is quite shoddy of the PR section of the ruling party to do this with something everyone learns in high school biology," he added.
This is not the first time the LDP has tried to rope Darwin's work into promotion of its political program. In 2001, then Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi referred to the theory of evolution in connection with structural reform during his general policy speech to the Diet.
Chiba noted that "while Koizumi said, 'Living things that can respond to change are the ones that survive,' the use this time of the phrase 'people who can change' is more pernicious." He continued, "Adaptation is nothing more than a result. It is not change through intention. To bring biological thinking into politics is itself a serious problem, and quite dangerous."
Hokkaido University professor emeritus and constitutional scholar Katsutoshi Takami told the Mainichi Shimbun, "If we're going to talk about adaptation, then the Constitution has responded to and survived 73 years of change, in the form of new laws, judicial precedent and government reinterpretations, since its implementation. For some to say that 'it must be changed' because they desire to change it seems to me a logical sidestep. If they're going to say that it (the Constitution) cannot adapt to present-day society, then they must clearly present their reasons."
(Japanese original by Fusayo Nomura, Integrated Digital News Center)
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Art Industry News: Art Basel Acknowledges New Reality by Allowing Non-Physical Galleries Into Its Fair for the First Time + Other Stories – artnet…
Posted: at 6:26 am
Art Industry News is a daily digest of the most consequential developments coming out of the art world and art market. Heres what you need to know on this Tuesday, June 23.
September 11 Museum Plans Massive Cutbacks The September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York is one of the more frequented tourist destinations in the citywhich also makes it one of the hardest hit by the shutdown. Deprived of ticket sales and other earned revenue, which usually covers more than 95 percent of its annual expenses, the institution is facing a deficit of up to $45 million over the next year. To make up the shortfall, the organization is launching a fundraising campaign and has furloughed or laid off nearly 60 percent of its staff. (New York Times)
An Unemployment Crisis Looms Over UK Art Academia Thousands of lecturers across London are facing unemployment as schools cut back on casual contracts over the summera move that some say disproportionately affects Black and minority ethnic academics, especially women. The senior management team at the art school Goldsmiths, at University of London, will let go 472 casual contracts this summer, 40 percent of the overall staff. We are poised to lose a whole generation of ethnically, but also otherwise diverse, young academicsthe future of academia will just be even more pale, male and stale than it already is, a lecturer at UCL said.(The Art Newspaper)
Art Basel Relaxes Application Restrictions 2021 for Hong Kong Fair The worlds leading Modern and contemporary art fair has relaxed the rules for applicants for its next Hong Kong edition to encourage struggling galleries to participate. For the 2021 event, galleries will only be required to make a down payment of 25 percent for their booth in advance, rather than the full amount. Thanks to an initiative by the Hong Kong Commerce and Economic Development Bureau, dealers will also be offered a one-off 15 percent discount for stands in the main section (and a 30 percent discount for first-time exhibitors). Perhaps most significantly, Art Basel Hong Kong will also temporarily suspend the requirement for applicants to maintain a permanent exhibition space, provided the gallery is staging shows for its program. The criteria for the minimum number of shows a gallery must hold per year has also been relaxed. (The Art Newspaper)
On Luxury Stores Decorating With Protest Art The reflexive impulse to protect property is a deeply American one, ingrained in this countrys foundation and upheld more consistently than probably anything else, writes Max Lakin in a biting critique of the luxury stores in Manhattan that have seized on the symbolism of the Black Lives Matter movement to adorn their boarded-up storefronts. Meanwhile, he notes, companies have reached out to Black artists for such projects as a form of performative allyship. Lakin notes: Art can soothe, but it can also manipulate, cajoling pacification when rage is more appropriate.(New York Times)
Beijing Gallery Expands to London TheBeijing gallery Tabula Rasa, founded in the 798 art district in 2015, isopening a London location this fall. The aim is to present a program that may be too sensitive for mainland China as well as to promote Chinese artists in the UK. (The Art Newspaper)
Picassos Paint Palette Sells for $71,000 A paint-stained palette that had been in the collection of the artists granddaughter,Marina Picasso, sold for 11 times its original estimate after 39 bids. The relic from Picassos working process was one of 60 works from Marinas personal collection, which sold at Sothebys as part of a broader Picasso online sale that fetched $6.1 million. (Press release)
Is the Future of Auction Sales Online? The brick-and-mortar auction market was thrown into the deep end of the virtual pool this year. Will it sink or swim? The growth in online auction sales has been considerable, but they still provided less than 10 percent of the overall sales revenues of 2019 to date.(Financial Times)
UCL Will Rename Spaces Named After Eugenicists University College London is renaming lecture halls and a building named after the eugenicists Francis Galton and Karl Pearson. Galton was a Victorian scientist who coined the term eugenics and left his collection to the university as well as an endowment for a professorial chair of eugenics; Pearson was the first to hold the position. (Independent)
Opera House Replaces Audience With Plants As a statement about the significance of art and nature to our lives, Barcelonas Gran Teatre del Liceu has opened its concert hall to thousands of house plants. The opera houses first performance by UceLi Quartet, a prelude to its 20202021 season, was played to the rooted audience. After the show, the plants will be donated to health care workers at the citys Hospital Clinic. (Vulture)
Two Baby Trump Balloons Flew Over Tulsa During Disastrous Trump Rally Two of thosegiant Baby Trump balloonsmade their way to Tulsa over the weekend ahead of the presidents evening rally, flying above the historic Vernon AME Church. Admirers of the floating caricatures made donations to restore the building, which is the only standing black-owned structure in the Black Wall Street neighborhood. (The Hill)
Artist Yang Chul Mo Admits to Sexual Harassment The Korean artist Yang Chul Mo, half of the husband-and-wife artist duo mixrice, has retired from art after admitting to sexually harassing female coworkers at the Seoul Foundation for Arts and Culture. Yang was outed in local media for inappropriate comments made during his tenure as as director of the government-funded art project Collective Chungjeongro. (Art Asia Pacific)
Kadir Nelsons New Yorker Cover Say Their Names Honors George Floyd The artist Kadir Nelsons cover art for the June 22 issue of theNew Yorker depicts George Floyd embodying other victims of racist violence in the US, including Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, and Breonna Taylor. Nelson says that they are not offering prints of the image out of respect for the victims and their families. (New Yorker)
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Posted: at 6:26 am
BLOOMINGTON Indiana University plans to review the names of all buildings and structures across its nine-campus system following the schools decision to rename an intramural center that once honored a segregationist after its first Black basketball player.
IU President Michael McRobbie announced the planned review after the schools trustees unanimously approved a resolution last week to name the Bloomington campus intramural center after Bill Garrett, who broke the color barrier in Big Ten basketball when he made his varsity debut in 1948.
Garrett, who went on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters, died in 1974.
The intramural center was once named after Ora Wildermuth, a former IU trustee and Lake County judge who opposed racial integration and made comments about race that McRobbie called deplorable.
He said during a June 12 virtual meeting of the schools trustees that IUs naming committee will review all named buildings and structures on IU campuses to determine if they should remain. McRobbie said there are hundreds of names on structures at IUs campuses and evaluating them will be a slow and deliberate process.
The review comes amid a nationwide movement to get rid of Confederate monuments and other racially offensive symbols. McRobbie said recent events in our country had demonstrated that the nations legacy of racial discrimination can be perpetuated through those we choose to honor, in our public art, our icons, and the names we put on buildings.
We cannot, in any way, be part of perpetuating this legacy, he added.
Trustee Patrick Shoulders, who in 2018 had cast the lone dissenting vote against removing Wildermuths name from the intramural building, voiced support for the schools system-wide names review. But he said that throughout the country, leaders who believed and did things now considered abhorrent are still honored, citing the ownership of slaves by Americas founding fathers as an example.
I see these as complicated issues, Shoulders said. And I want us to be consistent.
In announcing the names review, McRobbie singled out David Starr Jordan, who was IUs president from 1884 to 1891 and has a building on Bloomington campus, Jordan Hall, named after him, which houses IUs biology department and its greenhouse.
Jordan was a proponent of eugenics, the practice of controlled selective breeding of humans often carried out through forced sterilization. He wrote in The Blood of the Nation: A Study of the Decay of Races through the Survival of the Unfit, of his belief that humanity would thrive only if the fittest were promoted and blamed the downfall of past civilizations on the corruption of that process.
Jordan, who later became the first president of Stanford University and died in 1931, has numerous other locations on the Bloomington campus named after him, including a major thoroughfare and a creek that runs through the campus.
Garrett was Indianas Mr. Basketball in 1947, when he led Shelbyville to a state championship.
He led the Hoosiers in scoring and rebounding each year from 1949 to 1951 (freshmen did not play on the varsity squad in those days). He led the Hoosiers to a 19-3 record and a No. 2 ranking in 1950-51, when he also was chosen as IUs most valuable player.
He was drafted by the Boston Celtics, making him the third African American ever drafted by an NBA team. But Garrett was called to serve in the U.S. Army, and two years later he signed a contract with the Harlem Globetrotters, playing with them for three years.
Within a year of Garretts graduation from IU, six other African Americans were on Big Ten basketball rosters.
He coached Indianapolis Crispus Attucks to a state championship in 1959.
He was inducted into the IU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1984 and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1974.
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Posted: at 6:26 am
The government's plan to restructure university fees will have disastrous consequences for all students, not just those studying the humanities.
The Australian governments proposed fee restructuring for universities will have disastrous consequences for the humanities. But its bad news for STEM education, too.
How do I know? Because Im an Australian teaching the history of science to STEM students in a major public university in the United States, and I see first-hand how desperately science undergraduates need training in culture, politics, and society.
They come to my classroom as future geneticists without having ever heard of eugenics. Future doctors without any understanding that medicine can cause pain and injustice just as adeptly as it can give relief. Future engineers who have never had a forum to voice their concerns about how technology can erode our rights as citizens.
As it stands, Australian STEM students are even less exposed to these discussions because, unlike the US system, Australian universities usually do not require students to cross-enroll in humanities credits. This was the case when I was a science undergraduate at the University of Queensland, and I was funneled into science-only courses.
I was never taught that biomedical sciences are social systems that therapeutic innovation can be racist, sexist and classist. Not once in my science degree did I learn how evolutionary theory was born on the assumptions of white supremacy, and how this racism still reverberates in 21st century institutions. Never was I made to appreciate that our abusive relationship with the environment is at once a scientific, economic, historical and philosophical problem, and that intelligent policy is only created through consultation with experts from all these fields.
I only learned about these things when I stumbled into a humanities elective. Taking this first humanities subject was transformative, and it made me a better scientist. Engaging in discussions about race, class, and gender truly reoriented my engagement with the sciences. Not only did I become better and more creative in my biology classes who knew that a history class could help me better understand and challenge theories of heredity? but I had an eye to how science was situated in society.
I saw science for what it is: plonked in a complex social milieu, bigger and more complicated than just facts and data.
Like me, many science students in Australia stumble into humanities classes and make these same realisations. Some of them do what I did: declare a dual degree in Science/Arts, and continue thinking deeply and compassionately about how STEM works in our world.
Under the new government plan, this fortuitous act of stumbling into a humanities class will occur less often, and less easily. As the door to Arts subjects is closed to science students, so too is an opportunity for enrichment.
Australias plan to restructure funding at universities is touted as an investment in the sciences, but it is actually a heavy blow. The next generation will be less equipped to operate in a competitive international marketplace, and less able to adapt their science-making to the increasingly complicated world that demands their attention and expertise.
It takes more than just a science degree to educate future scientists. They need the humanities, too, to train them in a type of critical thinking that cannot be found in a laboratory.
Patrick Walsh is an Australian PhD student in the history of science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He holds a masters degree from the University of Wisconsin, and bachelors degrees with honours from the University of Queensland.
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Podcast: The dark connection between cancer research and the eugenics movement – Genetic Literacy Project
Posted: June 21, 2020 at 1:58 pm
Geneticist Dr. Kat Arney explores the stories of two women one a scientist fascinated by dancing mice, the other a seamstress with a deadly family legacy who made significant contributions to our understanding of cancer as a disease driven by genetic changes. Yet while their work paved the way for lifesaving screening programs for families, it was used by some as justification for eugenics the idea of removing genetic defectives from the population.
Born in Minnesota in 1879, Maud Slye was a cancer pathologist who dedicated her career to studying patterns of cancer inheritance in more than 150,000 mice. But as well as being a dedicated scientist (as well as a part-time poet), she was also wedded to eugenic ideas, suggesting that If we had records for human beings comparable to those for mice, we could stamp out cancer in a generation. At present, we take no account at all of the laws of heredity in the making of human young. Do not worry about romance. Romance will take care of itself. But knowledge can be applied even to romance.
While her ideas were controversial, Slyes work earned her a gold medal from the American Medical Society in 1914 and from the American Radiological Association in 1922. She was also awarded the Ricketts Prize from the University of Chicago in 1915 and an honorary doctorate from Brown University in 1937. She was even nominated for a Nobel prize in 1923.
Over the decades since Slyes death in 1954, weve come to understand that the hereditary aspects of cancer susceptibility are much more complicated than she originally suggested, although her work was vital in establishing inherited gene variations as an essential thread of cancer research.
Running parallel to Slyes work in mice was the research carried out by Aldred Warthin, a doctor working at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. One day in 1895, a chance meeting between Warthin and a local seamstress, Pauline Gross, set the two of them off on a 25-year-long quest to understand why so many members of Paulines family had died from cancer at a young age.
Pauline spent years compiling detailed family histories, enabling Warthin to trace the pattern of inheritance through Family G, as it became known. Like Slye, Warthin was a fan of eugenic ideas, describing Paulines family as an example of progressive degenerative inheritance the running-out of a family line through the gradual development of an inferior stock.
He was also quoted as saying in a 1922 lecture: Today it is recognized that all men are not born equal. We are not equal so far as the value of our bodily cells is concerned.
Perhaps as a direct result of growing public concern about eugenics, Warthins work fell out of favor. Paulines detailed genealogy lay undisturbed in a closet in the university until the 1960s, when American doctor Henry Lynch and social worker Anne Krush rediscovered her work and continued extending and investigating Family G.
Nearly a decade on from that first meeting between Pauline and Warthin, researchers finally pinned down the underlying genetic cause of this deadly legacy: an inherited variant of the MSH2 gene, which normally repairs mismatched DNA strands. Today, members of Family G and others around the world carrying dangerous variants in mismatch repair genes can undergo genetic testing, with a range of preventative and screening options available.
The story of Pauline and Family G, and the impact that their genetic legacy has had on the family down the generations, is beautifully told in the book Daughter of Family G, a memoir by Ami McKay.
Full transcript, links and references available online atGeneticsUnzipped.com
Genetics Unzippedis the podcast from the UKGenetics Society,presented by award-winning science communicator and biologistKat Arneyand produced byFirst Create the Media.Follow Kat on Twitter@Kat_Arney,Genetics Unzipped@geneticsunzip,and the Genetics Society at@GenSocUK
Listen to Genetics Unzipped onApple Podcasts(iTunes)Google Play,Spotify,orwherever you get your podcasts
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Posted: at 1:58 pm
UCL has renamed two lecture theatres and a building that honoured the prominent eugenicists Francis Galton and Karl Pearson.
The university said on Friday that the Galton lecture theatre had been renamed lecture theatre 115, the Pearson lecture theatre changed to lecture theatre G22 and the Pearson building to the north-west wing.
Galton coined the term eugenics in 1883 and endowed UCL with his personal collection and archive along with a bequest for the countrys first professorial chair of eugenics of which Pearson was the first holder, the university said.
It said that signs on the building and lecture theatres would be taken down with immediate effect. Other changes to the names on maps and signposts would be made as soon as practicable.
UCLs president and provost, Prof Michael Arthur, said the move was an important first step for the university as it acknowledged and addressed its historical links with the eugenics movement.
This problematic history has, and continues, to cause significant concern for many in our community and has a profound impact on the sense of belonging that we want all of our staff and students to have, he said.
Although UCL is a very different place than it was in the 19th century, any suggestion that we celebrate these ideas or the figures behind them creates an unwelcoming environment for many in our community.
I am also clear that this decision is just one step in a journey and we need to go much further by listening to our community and taking practical and targeted steps to address racism and inequality.
Eugenics was the study of the selective breeding of humans to increase the occurrence of heritable characteristics regarded as desirable.
The decision was made by Arthur and ratified by the universitys council following a recommendation from its buildings naming and renaming committee.
The committee, made up of staff, students, and equality, diversity and inclusion representatives, will also oversee any future renaming of the areas, UCL said.
Ijeoma Uchegbu, a professor of pharmaceutical nanoscience and the provosts envoy for race equality, said: I cannot begin to express my joy at this decision. Our buildings and spaces are places of learning and aspiration and should never have been named after eugenicists.
Today UCL has done the right thing.
The renaming follows a series of recommendations made by members of the inquiry into the history of eugenics at UCL, which reported back earlier this year.
A response group of senior UCL representatives, including academic staff, equality experts and the Students Union, is being formed to consider all the recommendations from the inquiry.
The group will look at action such as funding new scholarships to study race and racism, a commitment to ensure UCL staff and students learn about the history and legacy of eugenics, and the creation of a research post to further examine the universitys history of eugenics.
It will draw up an implementation plan for consideration by the academic board and approval by UCLs council.
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