Du Bois, among others, led to the discrediting of scientific racism.
With well over photographs to support the analysis, this examination of the influence of photography on the eugenics movement adds an important chapter to the history of better breeding. She notes that in the early s the photograph was seen as capturing reality and revealing truth.
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The eugenic mug shot, the favourite type of picture used by proponents, reframed reality for those persons already troubled by the social disruption caused by rapid industrialization, and frightened by the increasing number of immigrants who arrived to work in industrial factories. Eugenicists played to the emotions of the white Anglo-Saxon Protestants who feared that they were losing control of their world. Thus, by placing structural analysis of the visual archive of the movement demonstrates that, in this case, a picture was worth a thousand words.
In her study, Maxwell examines the topic of eugenics through the lenses of anthropology, sociology, and the history of scientific racism.
This book is an exceptional examination of the use of photography within the eugenic movement from the end of the nineteenth century up to the start of the Second World War. The numerous photographs selected for inclusion in the text are superb. Their reproduction is very good.
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For those interested in eugenics and scientific racism this book would be a valuable addition to their library. It is written for the academic and the interested general reader with some knowledge of eugenics. Canadian Journal of History.
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