Cleminson, “Catholicism, Race, and Empire: Eugenics in Portugal, 1900-1950”

In June, the Central European University Press released “Catholicism, Race, and Empire: Eugenics in Portugal, 1900-1950” by Richard Cleminson (University of Leeds). The publisher’s description follows:


This monograph places the science and ideology of eugenics in early twentieth century Portugal in the context of manifestations in other countries in the same period. The author argues that three factors limited the impact of eugenics in Portugal: a low level of institutionalization, opposition from Catholics and the conservative nature of the Salazar regime. In Portugal the eugenic science and movement were confined to three expressions: individualized studies on mental health, often from a ‘biotypological’ perspective; a particular stance on racial miscegenation in the context of the substantial Portuguese colonial empire; and a diffuse model of social hygiene, maternity care and puericulture.

This book not only brings to light an eugenics movement hitherto unstudied; it also invites the reader to re-think the relations between northern and southern forms of eugenics, the role of religion, the dynamic capacity of eugenics for finding a home for its theories and the nature of colonialism.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: