An unknown history: eugenics in Italy

Francesco Cassata


The history of eugenics in the United States, Britain and Germany does not begin to exhaust the subject. In the decades between 1890 and 1930, the eugenics movements developed in more than thirty countries, each adapting the international Galtonian gospel to suit local scientific, cultural, institutional, and political contexts.
Recently scholars have begun to explore a number of these movements, but still others have yet to be studied, as in the case of Italy. The aim of this paper is to summarise the recent italian contributions to the subject, pointing out what seems to be the main deficiency of this still young historiography: that is the tendency to explain Italian eugenics as a mere prelude to fascist racism.

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