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R. Sá​nchez-Rivera


Rachell Sánchez holds a B.A. in Political Science and History from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus and a M.A. in Regional Studies—Latin America and the Caribbean from Columbia University in the City of New York.


What Happened to Mexican Eugenics? : Racism and the Reproduction of the Nation

Abstract: This thesis uses historical sociology to explore the ways in which eugenics was carried out in Mexico. Particularly, this research seeks to analyze the historical continuations of eugenic measures and ideas in Mexico and the ways in which this impacts and echoes in the twenty-first century. This, in turn, allows for an intersectional approach that undertakes issues of gender, race, sexuality, science and technology, risk and the management of disease.

This work is divided into five chapters. The first three chapters are historical in their approach and tackle the construction of the nation after the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920) and the ways in which this event became intertwined with the rise of exclusionary ideas cemented in the science of eugenics. This approach enables an exploration of eugenics in Mexico from different angles, including the impact of the members of the Mexican Society of Eugenics (MSE) on the making of the family at an individual and national level, and the definition of who does not belong to the Mexican nation. The final two chapters focus on the last half of the twentieth century, following the retreat of scientific racism and the decline of the MSE.  They argue that eugenics did not simply disappear but continues to be seen in the processes in which individuals self-manage their own bodies, as well as in state measures concerning public health crises such as the HIV epidemic, and issues of population control. Overall, this work introduces the concept of "slippery eugenics" to account for   the ongoing development and impact of eugenic ideas in Mexico, which, it argues, continue to shape the reproduction of the nation into the present.

Keywords: Eugenics, Mexico, Racism, Gender, Mestizaje, Disability, Scientific Racism

Supervisor: Dr. Mónica Moreno Figueroa

Research Interests

  • Race
  • Sociology
  • Gender
  • Disability Studies
  • Queer Theory
  • History
  • Political Science
  • Scientific Racism