Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Eugenics, Art and Darwinisms: The Case of the Darwin Museum Moscow

Pat Simpson will be giving a paper with the above title at the conference The Study of Eugenics - Past Present and Future, Uppsala University Sweden, November 10-11, 2011.

My current research is located at an intersection of two significant developments in the study of eugenics during the past decade. One of these is the increased scholarly scrutiny of eugenics discourse within central and eastern Europe including the USSR, evidenced, for example, in the work of Marius Turda and his colleagues in the disciplines of history of medicine/science. The other development is the growth of a new trajectory of scholarship concerned with the interrelationships of eugenics discourse and visual culture within histories of art and visual culture, exemplified by the recent anthologies Art, Sex and Eugenics: Corpus Delecti ( Brauer & Callen, eds, 2008), and The Art of Evolution: Darwin, Darwinisms and Visual Culture (Larson & Brauer, eds, 2009).

This paper takes a critical look at an exhibition about eugenics, entitled The Younger Sister of Genetics that was staged in December 2010 at the Darwin Museum Moscow, additionally taking account of the museum’s current, small, permanent display on the topic. The function of the case study is to outline aspects of recent and ongoing research into the apparent mycelium of links with eugenical thought underlying certain artworks that were arguably used to represent or imply nuanced interpretations of Darwin, projected by the museum both within the Soviet Union and abroad, before and after 1945. The paper’s aim is not just to showcase my research, but also to suggest two related avenues of potentially fruitful interdisciplinary investigation.

Firstly, given the close interconnection between eugenics and a wide range of visual imagery, there is evident potential for international collaborative projects between art historians and historians of medicine, science and ideas. More narrowly, the research indicates that one focus for such work might lie in considering the impact of eugenics on educational exhibition displays and policies in natural history museums pre- and post-1945.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Dr David Brody announced as TVAD's Visiting Researcher 2011

We are delighted to announce that Dr David Brody, Associate Professor of Design Studies at Parsons the New School for Design, New York, will be joining TVAD as our Visiting Researcher in October this year.

Brody challenges the definitions and practices of design studies, in his co-edited volume The Design Studies Reader (with Prof Hazel Clark, Berg, 2009) and his monograph Visualizing American Empire: Orientalism and Imperialism in the Philippines (University of Chicago Press, 2010). The latter is an exemplar of the comparative use of a diverse group of source materials - from newspapers to maps to objects – for piecing together the relationship between the US and the Philippines. Dr Brody is currently researching hotels, their interior design and the design of the labour which keeps them going, to be published as Do Not Disturb: Design, Hotels, and Labor.

Dr Brody will participate in a range of TVAD events, and seminars with research degree students in the School of Creative Arts, and will deliver the first Critical Dialogues lecture for 2011/2012 on Tuesday 18th October at 5 pm at the College Lane Campus. We look forward to welcoming Dr Brody to the University of Hertfordshire soon!

Friday, 15 July 2011

The Soviet Darwinian Body: Physical Culture, Socialist Morality and Eugenic Self-Evolution

At the conference 'The Evolution of Morality and the Morality of Evolution', St Annes College Oxford, July 8-10, 2011, social historian of art, Dr Pat Simpson, delivered a well-received paper entitled, 'The Soviet Darwinian Body: Physical Culture, Socialist Morality and Eugenic Self-Evolution. ' This paper is part of her ongoing research project 'Sex and Socialist Realism'.