Biology’s Bomb: Graphing “Explosive” Population Growth in Cold War Textbooks

January 29, 2011 Prior to World War II, America’s protectors thought the country’s innocence could be guarded at its gates. Citizen biologists saw the nation’s border as kind of cartographic diaphragm, not entirely reliable in individual instances, but adequate to the task of containing the pool of potential breeders. But conflict had led to contact,…

Index

How Are We Going to Control These Kids? Biology Textbooks in the 1940s By 1940, biology’s core eugenics-based narrative had been dramatically weakened. Yet the demand for a curriculum that could control adolescent sexuality, had, if anything, only increased since the 1920s. Worries about what their sons and daughters were getting up to in the…

Race, Art and Evolution

June 22, 2010 These reconstructions of Java Man (Pithecanthropus), Neanderthal Man and Cro-Magnon Man were created around 1915 by Columbia University physical anthropologist J. H. McGregor for the American Museum of Natural History. They were designed not just to impress visitors with the wonders of science, but also to promote the eugenic theories of the…

About Textbook History

Biology textbooks are a great primary document set for anyone interested in American history and cultural studies (Isis agrees). Ambitious authors and an anxious public sculpted and reshaped the high school biology curriculum throughout the twentieth century in an effort to guide and control that most unruly of bodies, the pubescent tenth grader. Lessons on…