In her new book, Unlearning Eugenics: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Disability in Post-Nazi Europe
(University of Wisconsin Press, 2018), Dagmar Herzog
examines the relationship between reproductive rights and disability rights in contemporary European history. In a study that appeared in the George L. Mosse Series in Modern European Cultural and Intellectual History, Herzog uncovers much that is unexpected. She analyzes Protestant and Catholic theologians that were pro-choice in the 1960s and 1970s; the ways in which some advocates of liberalized abortion access displayed hostility to the disabled; the current backlash against women’s reproductive rights in Europe fueled in part by activists presenting themselves as anti-eugenics and pro-disability; and the impressive advances in disability rights inspired by submerged, contrapuntal strands within psychoanalysis and Christianity alike. An outstanding contribution to the histories of religion, sexuality, and disability rights, this book is essential reading for anyone interested in post-1945 Europe.
Michael E. O’Sullivan is Associate Professor of History at Marist College
where he teaches courses about Modern Europe. He published Disruptive Power: Catholic Women, Miracles, and Politics in Modern Germany, 1918-1965
with University of Toronto Press in 2018.