WGS160Y1 Study Guide - Meritocracy, Horse Breeding, Eugenics

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Published on 19 Jun 2012
School
UTSG
Department
Women and Gender Studies
Course
WGS160Y1
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WGS - Lec. 4
-Sample critiques/biology test on reserve in library
II. Anthropomorphic Circularity
Anthropomorphic taking human attributes and giving it to non-human species. Using it as a lens as a
way to think about bird behaviour. Ex) some ducks rape females, see female birds have equivalent of
female PMS (avian) which means since animals have it, means it is natural for human females to have it
too. Also example of how women’s body is closer to nature.
What happens in naturalism then is not getting rid of context, but saying everything in organisms,
molecular biology, biochemical, genes, and etc, is natural. Therefore things like race, personal
relationships, class location, cultures, nation, historical location, sexuality/identity etc is natural
- When working only with Darwin’s theory of evolution hard to explain things like peacock’s tale
- Important to note following 7 general themes for
III. Central Themes in the Darwin Excerpt
1) Natural history is possible reproduce through sperm and ova, notion possible to give natural
history of sex independent of culture, society, economic location, basically attempting to give
history of human being that is just biological in history
- Somewhat reductionist
- Darwin arguing against centuries of thinking of spirituality
- Radical claim
- Possible do biologic in a reductionist way
- Race itself is biological category, used image of racial family tree suggesting it is a natural
growth
- Bottom is most primitive at the very top is Aryans (Caucasian Europeans)
- Argument white skull must fully developed
2) Concept of “fittedness”; parallel to breeding fittedness has to do with surviving in a sufficiently
flourishing way to be able to have offspring
-if particular species fitted survives over time
- seen as natural
- breeding for better fittedness
3) Concept of social instinct and moral being; The “naturalness” of Ethnocentrism live
biologically in community, and in relation to the people
-feel closet and most loyal those who are in our ethnic group, or local social community
4) Thesis of Superior, Natural Races: Identifying Marks notion white European male skeleton
most evolved/developed human being
-there are ways to identify naturally superior groups
- Naturalization of white male supremacy
-evolutionary argument: white males most evolved
5) Definition of: Natural Selection, Sexual Selection
- Natural selection depends on success of both sexes at all ages in relation to general conditions
of life. Depends basically on species survival
- Used in terms of species vs species, as well as individuals vs individuals to gain control of scarce
resources
- Claim made all living organisms that reproduce sexually we are continually scanning to see who
is going to optimal reproducer, only way in which we can pass on genes
- Claim sex and gender behaviour and disposition all tied up to this quest to produce offspring
Sexual Selection: - depends on success on certain individuals over others of the same sex in relation
to (having offspring) the propagation of the species
- Darwin argued sexual selection triggers competition between males for fertile females
- Sexual struggle of two kinds
o Between individual of the same sex, generally male, in order to drive away or kill their
rivals. Becomes natural biological script for male gender behaviour
o Females remaining passive struggle between individuals of same sex in order to excite
or charm those of opposite sex. Females no longer remain passive but select the most
agreeable sex.
- Argues this happens in all species
- males are woo-ers and armed with special weapon to fight against rivals. Ex) antlers
- claims males generally stronger than females and have greater disposition to fight
- males active agent in initiating and carrying through reproduction females are naturally passive
by nature
6) Hetero-Sexual Politics and the claim to Sex/Gender Di-Morphism
- According to his description only males and female animals
- Only behaviour observed hetero-sexual mating practices
- Enormous emphasis on hetero-sexual behaviour being only natural and defining relationships
7) Eugenicist Recommendations and Class Assumptions talk about developed nations and
“barbaric/primitive” nations
- monotheism belief in one God, doesn’t arise until various races reach a certain standard of
evolution
- provided justification of colonization/imperialism of non-white groups
- commodity colonization things like soap, advertisement of Pear’s soap states “Introduction of
soap is a measure of the wealth, civilization, health, and purity of the people.”
- Another advertisement claims Imperial domesticity “The White Man’s Burden is through teach
virtues of cleanliness
- When Darwin makes references to civilized nations
- Seeing a return to this in human genome project
- Eugenicist assumptions human have ability to take breeding into account, and work in such a
way that only fittest of society reproduce in society, make sense to sterilize the poor, or other
disabled
- Naturalizing of class relations, poor are poor because of biological mediocrity and should not
produce as much offspring
- Most gifted men should be the ones reproducing
- Draws analogy between horse breeding, and states men should scan his partner and pair off to
the most fitting female
- Claims both sexes should not reproduce if they inferior in mind or body
- Debate continues today in things like pre-natal testing, sperm donations, etc
Outcome of this is principles of biological meritocracy
- If you look around a class society with poverty, or society with racism what we get in an
evolutionary situations like Darwin’s this is natural. They are superior because they are most fit
biologically. Those at a disadvantage are biologically inferior in mind and body
- People will end up in unequal structures because of biological structure
- (summary on outline)
- Wilson states same thing as Darwin

Document Summary

Anthropomorphic taking human attributes and giving it to non-human species. Using it as a lens as a way to think about bird behaviour. Ex) some ducks rape females, see female birds have equivalent of female pms (avian) which means since animals have it, means it is natural for human females to have it too. Also example of how women"s body is closer to nature. What happens in naturalism then is not getting rid of context, but saying everything in organisms, molecular biology, biochemical, genes, and etc, is natural. Therefore things like race, personal relationships, class location, cultures, nation, historical location, sexuality/identity etc is natural. When working only with darwin"s theory of evolution hard to explain things like peacock"s tale. Important to note following 7 general themes for. Darwin arguing against centuries of thinking of spirituality. Race itself is biological category, used image of racial family tree suggesting it is a natural. Possible do biologic in a reductionist way growth.