Eugenics Programs (films + discussions)



March 20 , 2013

DeTamble Auditorium, 7pm

Gattaca (1997) depicts a world where one’s genetic composition determines employment opportunities. The film follows Vincent Freeman, a genetically “inferior” yet determined individual, as he assumes a new genetic identity to realize his dreams of traveling to space. A conversation about genetic engineering with members of the Bioethics program will follow.

From IMDb: Gattaca: In the not-too-distant future, a less-than-perfect man wants to travel to the stars. Society has categorized Vincent Freeman as less than suitable given his genetic make-up and he has become one of the underclass of humans that are only useful for menial jobs. To move ahead, he assumes the identity of Jerome Morrow, a perfect genetic specimen who is a paraplegic as a result of a car accident. With professional advice, Vincent learns to deceive DNA and urine sample testing. Just when he is finally scheduled for a space mission, his program director is killed and the police begin an investigation, jeopardizing his secret.


Tomorrow’s Children

March 27 , 2013

DeTamble Auditorium, 7pm

Tomorrow’s Children (1934) portrays the struggle of a young newlywed woman ordered to undergo sterilization because she comes from a family with “defective genes.” Dr. Simone Caron will be discussing the history of eugenics and mandatory sterilization programs following the film.

From IMDb: Tomorrow’s Children: A young woman wishes to marry her boyfriend and raise a family, but because her own family has been deemed “defective” by the state health authorities–her parents are lazy alcoholics who continue to have children, and her siblings (brothers here) are crippled, have mental problems or are jailed–she is ordered by a court to undergo sterilization so that her family’s “defective genes” won’t be passed on to any more children. Her boyfriend and a kindly priest desperately search for a way to stop the forced sterilization before it’s too late.

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