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  • Writer's pictureChris Lewis

Keynote Speaker Spotlight: Alexandra Minna Stern

As we inch closer to this year’s CCSS Annual Conference we’d like to provide you with another

spotlight of the work being done by another one of this year’s opening panel presenters, historian Alexandra Minna Stern.

Alexandra’s work covers a pretty wide swath, as you will certainly hear on the panel, but we decided to highlight these two aspects of her work, as they seem particularly relevant to the panel’s theme of Making Meaning in This Moment of Change.

Alexandra’s book, Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America is a seminal text, one critically important for understanding the historical roots of some of our current challenges as a nation. There is little doubt that her understanding of this history opened up a path of inquiry that led to her latest book, Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right Is Warping the American Imagination. Published in April of 2020, this text is even more timely now, than when it was first released.

One other fascinating extension of her historical investigations is the Eugenic Rubicon website, a project that she partnered on with Jacqueline Wernimont in an effort to delve more deeply into California’s history of sterilization, an unfortunate negative tradition that has recently resurfaced in detention centers on the border. This blurb from the website will provide a bit more context for those interested in exploring this history and the trove of resources this site offers:

This digital resource draws from and complements the demographic and social science research on eugenic sterilization in California being carried out by the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab at the University of Michigan. Working with a unique resource -- nearly 50,000 patient records from California institutions from the period 1921 to 1953 -- our project seeks to make this history visible.

We look forward to a lively discussion with Alexandra and the other panelists. Look for the next two opening panel updates coming soon.

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