< return to conference archive

2nd & 3rd Congress: Part 2, Panel 3

    Accessibility Options

Panel 3 | “How we learn: Looking at why it was a natural history museum that twice played host to the epicentre of international eugenics” Subhadra Das, former curator of the Galton Collection, Miranda Lowe, Principal Curator of Natural History Museum, London, Meredith Perruzi, director of the National Deaf Life Museum, and the renowned disability studies scholar, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson take us on an exhibit tour to the Hall of the Age of Man, to help frame a discussion around the role cultural institutions such as the AMNH have played in the eugenics movement, and the role that such institutions now play or should be playing in this anti-Eugenic moment today and in the future.


  • Subhadra Das

    Subhadra Das is a historian, writer, broadcaster and comedian. For nine years, she was Curator of the Science Collections at University College London where she worked with the Eugenics and Pathology Collections, and the auto-icon of Jeremy Bentham. In 2021, she was a Researcher in Critical Eugenics at UCL’s Sarah Parker Remond Centre for the Study of Racism and Racialisation. She regularly talks to diverse audiences in classes, seminars, lectures, public talks and stand-up comedy about all aspects of her work from the history of eugenics and scientific racism to working with human remains. She uses historical archives and museum objects to tell decolonial stories in engaging and affirming ways.
  • Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

    Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is Professor of English at Emory University with a focus on disability studies and feminist theory.[1] Her book Extraordinary Bodies, published in 1997, is a founding text in the disability studies canon.[2]
    Garland-Thomson co-directed a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute on disability studies in 2000, which shaped the development of many scholars who now lead the field, and was a founding member and co-chair for two years of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession, which transformed the largest academic professional organization into a model of accessibility for organizations across the world. She established the field of feminist disability studies with seminal and definitional articles in feminist studies journals, including: “Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory”, National Women’s Studies Association Journal (2002), which is reprinted in women’s studies and feminist textbooks and has been translated into Hebrew, Czech, and Turkish, and “Feminist Disability Studies: A Review Essay” in Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society (2005) which established a canon of feminist disability studies and set an agenda for future scholarship.

  • Miranda Lowe

    Miranda Lowe is a Principal Curator and museum scientist at the Natural History Museum, London. With over two decades worth of collections management and curatorial skills she cares for a plethora of historically important specimens from both the Challenger and discovery oceanic expeditions. Her scientific expertise is in pericardia crustacea and a with a light touch in coral taxonomy. With that she manages directly both the crustacea and Cnidaria and associated minor phyla collections. As well as her management of a curatorial team she also presents lectures on both curatorial research and popular science: Miranda has appeared in the BBC Radio 4 series ‘Natural Histories’ in an episode on Sea Anemones (2015), BBC Four – Britain’s Whale Hunters: The Untold Story (2014) and CBBC Absolute Genius with Dick and Dom: Darwin episode (2013). After a yearlong secondment in 2006 to learn about exhibitions and gallery interpretation in a museum environment she has been passionate ever since about the role that museum exhibitions play in our understanding of the natural world. Miranda plays an active role on committees such as Natural Sciences Collections Association (as Collections at Risk Rep), Society for the Preservation of Natural History Collections (Member At Large) and the Society for the History of Natural History (Membership Coordinator) for which Sir David Attenborough is Patron. As a volunteer STEM ambassador and communicator of science she does outreach in schools and behind the scenes at the Natural History Museum, London. She mentors students as part of the Social Mobility Foundation ‘Aspiring Professionals’ scheme and the Prince’s Trust. In 2013, Miranda was one of three finalists for the National Diversity Awards ‘Positive Role Model Award for Race, Religion & Faith’ receiving a Certificate of Excellence for her achievement.
  • Meredith Peruzzi

    Meredith Peruzzi joined the National Deaf Life Museum team in June of 2013 as a chief exhibition writer and researcher. On November 25, 2013, Peruzzi became the Curator of the Gallaudet at 150 and Beyond Exhibition. Since January of 2014, she has been the Director of the National Deaf Life Museum, following the retirement of founder and Director Emerita Dr. Jane Norman. Meredith received a B.A. in Deaf Studies with a minor in History from Gallaudet University. Her University Honors project was a coffee-table style book entitled Gallaudet at 150: Chapter One, which focused on the first years of campus history, from 1857 to 1880. She received her M.A. in History from George Mason University in 2018, with concentrations in U.S. History and Applied History. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Leicester, in the field of Museum, Gallery, and Heritage Practice. A native of the Washington DC area, her first connection with the museum world was in 1991, as a volunteer for the now-defunct Baltimore City Life Museums. After her graduation from Gallaudet, she spent one year in Tokyo teaching American Sign Language for the Japanese ASL Signers Society.
  • Dr. Alexandra Stern

    Alexandra Minna Stern, Ph.D. is the Carroll Smith-Rosenberg Collegiate Professor of American Culture, History, and Women’s Studies and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Michigan. Most of her research has focused on the uses and misuses of genetics in the United States and Latin America. She is the author of the award-winning Eugenic Nation: Faults and Frontiers of Better Breeding in Modern America which was published in second edition by University of California Press in 2015. She also is author of Telling Genes: The Story of Genetic Counseling in America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2012), a Choice 2013 Outstanding Academic Title in Health Sciences. Her most recent book, Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right is Warping the American Imagination (Beacon Press, 2019) applies the lenses of historical analysis, feminist studies, and critical race studies to deconstruct the core ideas of the far right and white nationalism in the United States. Stern is the PI of the Sterilization and Social Justice Lab, which uses mixed methods to study patterns and experiences of eugenic sterilization in the twentieth-century United States; this research has informed the recently passed reparations bill to compensate survivors of compulsory sterilization in California. Stern has held numerous grants including from the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Institutes of Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.