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Denise Eileen McCoskey
Miami University, Oxford (Oxford, OH 45056-1602)
Eugenics and Classical Scholarship in Early 20th-Century America

Research and writing of a scholarly article about the role of eugenics in American classical scholarship prior to World War II.

In this project, I propose to carry out a critical study of the role of eugenic theories in early twentieth-century American classical scholarship. Building on research I conducted for an earlier project, my hypothesis is that the reliance on eugenics was widespread in classical scholarship during the first half of the twentieth century, and I would like to use the NEH Summer Stipend to document and evaluate classicists’ employment of such theories in their interpretations of ancient history, while also weighing the legacy such scholarship continues to have in the field of classics today. The penchant for using Greek and Roman history as a mirror for American life is as old as America itself, and I believe interrogation of the intersections of classical scholarship and eugenics can also provide insight into some of the ways contemporary American debates about race and eugenics were, in turn, bolstered by these interpretations of the ancient world.

Project fields:
Classical History; Classics

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2018 – 7/31/2018