Bodies of Surveillance

Conducted by: Sara Vogt (MA.), Master of Science (MS) in Disability and Human Development, Ph.D. Candidate, Interdisciplinary PhD Program in Disability Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago (USA)
Term: 2005 – 2006

Funding: German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

During the 2005/06 academic year, American cultural studies scholar Sara Vogt visited the University of Cologne in order to compile research for her dissertation, which compared the modern histories of disability and gender in Germany and the United States. Looking specifically at German and U.S. eugenic ideology, practices, and policies in the 1920s, Sara Vogt examined the various roles women played in the campaign for racial purity. This project posed the following research questions: What was the status of femininity in the eugenic project that placed white, middle class women as mediators between medical science, disabled bodies, and the general public, thereby staking the claim that such women were ultimately responsible for securing the racial purity of the nation? How did this process of mediation position women subjectively as the “soft face” of masculine science and objectively as scrutinized bodies responsible for surveying the future reproductive potential of the nation?

More information in German and English