BizStore » Books » Defectives in the Land: Disability and Immigration in the Age of Eugenics
Item Dimensions: Array
Label: University of Chicago Press
Manufacturer: University of Chicago Press
Number Of Items: 1
Number Of Pages: 192
Publication Date: 2016-08-12
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Studio: University of Chicago Press
Immigration history has largely focused on the restriction of immigrants by race and ethnicity, overlooking disability as a crucial factor in the crafting of the image of the “undesirable immigrant.” Defectives in the Land, Douglas C. Baynton’s groundbreaking new look at immigration and disability, aims to change this.
In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Baynton explains, immigration restriction in the United States was primarily intended to keep people with disabilities—known as “defectives”—out of the country. The list of those included is long: the deaf, blind, epileptic, and mobility impaired; people with curved spines, hernias, flat or club feet, missing limbs, and short limbs; those unusually short or tall; people with intellectual or psychiatric disabilities; intersexuals; men of “poor physique” and men diagnosed with “feminism.” Not only were disabled individuals excluded, but particular races and nationalities were also identified as undesirable based on their supposed susceptibility to mental, moral, and physical defects.
In this transformative book, Baynton argues that early immigration laws were a cohesive whole—a decades-long effort to find an effective method of excluding people considered to be defective. This effort was one aspect of a national culture that was increasingly fixated on competition and efficiency, anxious about physical appearance and difference, and haunted by a fear of hereditary defect and the degeneration of the American race.
• Disability Histories
• Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure
• A Disability History of the United States (ReVisioning American History)
• The Radical Lives of Helen Keller (The History of Disability)
• Inventing the Immigration Problem: The Dillingham Commission and Its Legacy
• No Right to Be Idle: The Invention of Disability, 1840s–1930s
• What We Have Done: An Oral History of the Disability Rights Movement
• Expelling the Poor: Atlantic Seaboard States and the Nineteenth-Century Origins of American Immigration Policy
• Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration
• Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language: Hereditary Deafness on Martha’s Vineyard