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Breeding Better Babies in the Eugenic Garden City: ‘Municipal Darwinism’ and the (Anti)Cosmopolitan Utopia in the early Twentieth Century

Breeding Better Babies in the Eugenic Garden City: ‘Municipal Darwinism’ and the... <jats:p> Showing how ‘modernist cosmopolitanism’ coexisted with an anti-cosmopolitan municipal control this essay looks at the way utopian ideals about breeding better humans entered into new town and city planning in the early twentieth century. An experiment in eugenic garden city planning which took place in Strasbourg, France, in the 1920s provided a model for modern planning that was keenly observed by the international eugenics movement as well as city planners. The comparative approach taken in this essay shows that while core beliefs about degeneration and the importance of eugenics to improve the national ‘body’ were often transnational and cosmopolitan, attempts to implement eugenic beliefs on a practical level were shaped by national and regional circumstances that were on many levels anti-cosmopolitan. As a way of assuaging the tensions between the local and the global, as well as the traditional with the modern, this unique and now forgotten experiment in eugenic city planning aimed to show that both preservation and progress could succeed at the same time. </jats:p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Modernist Cultures Edinburgh University Press

Breeding Better Babies in the Eugenic Garden City: ‘Municipal Darwinism’ and the (Anti)Cosmopolitan Utopia in the early Twentieth Century

Modernist Cultures , Volume 5 (2): 267 – Oct 1, 2010

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
© Edinburgh University Press 2010
Subject
Articles; Film, Media and Cultural Studies
ISSN
2041-1022
eISSN
1753-8629
DOI
10.3366/mod.2010.0106
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

<jats:p> Showing how ‘modernist cosmopolitanism’ coexisted with an anti-cosmopolitan municipal control this essay looks at the way utopian ideals about breeding better humans entered into new town and city planning in the early twentieth century. An experiment in eugenic garden city planning which took place in Strasbourg, France, in the 1920s provided a model for modern planning that was keenly observed by the international eugenics movement as well as city planners. The comparative approach taken in this essay shows that while core beliefs about degeneration and the importance of eugenics to improve the national ‘body’ were often transnational and cosmopolitan, attempts to implement eugenic beliefs on a practical level were shaped by national and regional circumstances that were on many levels anti-cosmopolitan. As a way of assuaging the tensions between the local and the global, as well as the traditional with the modern, this unique and now forgotten experiment in eugenic city planning aimed to show that both preservation and progress could succeed at the same time. </jats:p>

Journal

Modernist CulturesEdinburgh University Press

Published: Oct 1, 2010

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