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Unpacking Galton, Bloomsbury and UCL and the Birth of Eugenics

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Subhadra Das, former curator of the Galton Collection over the last 10 years, guides us through the foundations of eugenics, Galton, UCL and Bloomsbury. She takes us into the vaults of UCL to gain a first hand experience of some of the original artefacts relating to Francis Galton. She then explains how UCL has sought to educate around and confront this legacy, through different public engagement events leading up to the UCL Eugenics Inquiry. Subhadra is then joined by the science journalist/author Angela Saini, author of the acclaimed ‘Superior: The Return of Race Science’, and Nora Groce, director of the Leonard Cheshire chair of disability research. They discuss the internationalisation of eugenics’ journey, from its foundations in the shady labs of UCL to an international movement that has subjected millions to unprecedented suffering, and which, in science, public health and society’s attitudes to the marginalised, refuses to go away to this day.


  • 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.
  • Angela Saini

    Angela Saini is an award-winning science journalist and author. She presents radio and television programmes, and her writing has appeared across the world, including in The Financial Times, Wired, New Scientist, and National Geographic. Angela’s latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, was published in May 2019 to enormous critical acclaim, and became a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Foyles Book of the Year. Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong was published in 2017, and has been translated into fourteen languages. She is now working on her fourth book, exploring the roots of male domination and patriarchy, which will be published by 4th Estate and Beacon Press in early 2023. In 2020 Angela was named one of the world’s top 50 thinkers by Prospect magazine, and in 2018 she was voted one of the most respected journalists in the UK. In 2015 she won the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Kavli Science Journalism gold award for a BBC Radio 4 documentary about birdsong and human language. She has also received a best feature award from the Association of British Science Writers.

  • Milton Reynolds

    Milton Reynolds is a San Francisco Bay Area based career educator, author, equity and inclusion consultant and activist. His activism has been devoted to disrupting systems of racial injustice with a focus on juvenile justice reform, law enforcement accountability, environmental justice, youth development, educational transformation and disability justice. His efforts are devoted to creating a more just world in which all people are valued and treated with dignity.

    Milton’s publications include a chapter in Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness across the Disciplines, Handbook of Social Justice in Education and one in the recently released Leading in the Belly of the Beast.