stirpicults

New journal article out here on the history of (what I argue is) the first eugenics experiment in the U.S–stirpiculture at the Oneida Community. Many scholars, and those otherwise interested, often frame utopias such as the Oneida Community (OC) as “failed experiments.” I think this is a myopic analysis, especially in the case of the OC. The community lasted four decades–that’s a long time to live communally in dedication to principles never before carried out in history. It’s a long time to not have claims to any personal money, possessions, or even blood relatives. And it’s a long time to carry out a novel vision of a new American spiritual society. There were struggles–of course. But what my examination of stirpiculture signals to me is a dedication and follow-through on principles which radically reimagined the definitions many of us take for granted today. Marriage, property, childrearing, conception, reproduction, contraception, non-monogamous relationships–these are just some of the many concepts which were drastically rewritten by the OC and its leader John Humphrey Noyes.

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