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Uncovering the history of eugenics at Yale University, and its 'afterlives'

Yale University Art Gallery
Kathryn Donohew Photography
Getty Images
Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Connecticut.

Researchers at Yale University are focused on the harrowing history of eugenics, the role the institution played in developing this psuedoscience, and its many lingering "afterlives."

Professor Dan HoSang formed the Anti-Eugenics Collective at Yale, and says this history is "integral to the story of the University." HoSang and the Collective also explore how the tenets of eugenics transformed and lived on in some surprising ways.

This hour, HoSang joins us, plus we look at how Yale psychiatry programs and public schools in New Haven are building curriculum around this research. For example, Dr. Marco Ramos underscores the legacy of "New Haven as a laboratory," something he asks new psychiatry residents to consider.

"Our pedagogy increasingly is asking trainees to be to become critical of that relationship, and say, 'To what extent is my research advancing my interest versus the community that I'm supposed to be serving?'" Dr. Ramos explains, "This history sets up a framework where they can make sense of that and process it emotionally, and they can figure out what they can do to... build trust with the communities they're working with. But that's impossible, I think, unless it's contextualized in this longer history that really starts with eugenics."


  • Daniel HoSang: Professor of Ethnicity Race and Migration and American Studies, Yale University
  • Dr. Marco Ramos: Psychiatrist, Yale School of Medicine; Assistant Professor, Yale History of Science and Medicine Program
  • Meredith Gavrin: Co-Founder, New Haven Academy
  • Elias Theodore: First-Year Student, Yale University

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Katie is a producer for Connecticut Public Radio's news-talk show 'Where We Live.' She has previously worked for CNN and News 8-WTNH.
Catherine is the Host of Connecticut Public’s morning talk show and podcast, Where We Live. Catherine and the WWL team focus on going beyond the headlines to bring in meaningful conversations that put Connecticut in context.