School navigation


The 50th Annual Arthur L. Throckmorton Memorial Lecture

Date: 3:30pm PST February 25, 2013 Location: Templeton Campus Center

Templeton Campus Center

Improving the Human Race One Gene at a Time: The Curious History of Eugenics in the Twentieth Century


The early twentieth century science of eugenics was a remarkable transnational phenomenon that influenced social and scientific policy across the political spectrum and in a bewildering variety of locations around the globe.  The prospect of connecting biology and social policy proved seductive in many political arenas, and Dr. Levine’s talk will offer a glimpse of some of those many settings.

Eugenics speaks to questions of race, class, gender and sex, evolution, governance, nationalism, disability, and the social implications of science. In the age of the human genome project, stem cell research and new reproductive technologies, the history of eugenics has much to teach us about the relationship between scientific research, technology, and human ethical decision-making.

Philippa Levine is the Mary Helen Thompson Centennial Professor in the Humanities at the University of Texas at Austin where she is also co-director of the university’s British Studies Program.  Before coming to Texas in 2010 she was a member of the history faculty at the University of Southern California and the Florida State University and has also taught in her native Britain and in Australia.

Dr. Levine received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from King’s College, Cambridge, and her doctorate from Oxford University.  She specializes in the history of Modern Britain and the British Empire with a particular interest in science, medicine and society and the intersections of race and gender.  Among her many awards and honors are a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007-8), a Resident Fellowship at the Bellagio Center, Rockefeller Foundation (2002), and research grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Institutes of Health.  She has also held various visiting fellowships in Australia, Britain, Ireland, and Canada and is the immediate past president of the North American Conference on British Studies.

Dr. Levine has authored or edited the following books: The Ashgate Companion to Modern Imperial Histories (2012), The Oxford Handbook of the History of Eugenics (2010), Gender, Labour, War and Empire in Modern Britain. Essays on Modern Britain (2009), The British Empire, Sunrise to Sunset, (2007), Beyond Sovereignty: Britain, Empire and Transnationalism, 1860-1950 (2007), Gender and Empire: Oxford History of the British Empire Companion Series (2004), Prostitution, Race and Politics: Policing Venereal Disease in the British Empire (2003), Women’s Suffrage in the British Empire: Citizenship, Nation and Race (2000), Feminist Lives in Victorian England Private Roles and Public Commitment (1990), Victorian Feminism 1850-1900, (1987), The Amateur and the Professional: Historians, Antiquarians and Archaeologists in Victorian England, 1838-1886 (1986).

The Throckmorton lecture was established in 1963 to commemorate the life and work of Arthur L. Throckmorton, a professor of history at Lewis & Clark who died unexpectedly in 1962. Each year the series brings a distinguished historian to campus to lecture and to meet with faculty and students.


Contact Us