Society for Biodemography and Social Biology

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The Society for Biodemography and Social Biology
Hans-Peter Kohler
Formerly called
The Society for the Study of Social Biology;[1] The American Eugenics Society[2]

The Society for Biodemography and Social Biology, formerly known as the Society for the Study of Social Biology and before then as the American Eugenics Society,[1] is dedicated to "furthering the discussion, advancement, and dissemination of knowledge about biological and sociocultural forces which affect the structure and composition of human populations."[3]


The Society formed after the success of the Second International Congress on Eugenics (New York, 1921). The founders included Madison Grant, Harry H. Laughlin, Irving Fisher, Henry Fairfield Osborn, and Henry Crampton. The organization started by promoting racial betterment, eugenic health, and genetic education through public lectures, exhibits at county fairs, etc.

In 1926, the society published a Eugenics Catechism, arguing that eugenics was supported by the Bible, and therefore ought to be promoted by Christians.[4][5]

Under the direction of Frederick Osborn the society started to place greater focus on issues of population control, genetics, and, later, medical genetics. In 1930, the Society included mostly prominent and wealthy individuals, and membership included many non-scientists. The demographics of the Society gradually changed, and by 1960, members of the Society were almost exclusively scientist and medical professionals. Consequentially, the society focused more on genetics and less on class-based eugenics.[2]

After the Roe v. Wade decision was released in 1973, the Society was reorganized and renamed The Society for the Study of Social Biology.[2] Osborn said, "The name was changed because it became evident that changes of a eugenic nature would be made for reasons other than eugenics, and that tying a eugenic label on them would more often hinder than help,"[6][7]

The name was most recently changed to Society for Biodemography and Social Biology.[1]


The Society's official journal is Biodemography and Social Biology, which was originally established in 1954 as Eugenics Quarterly. It was renamed to Social Biology in 1969 and to its current title in 2008.[8]

List of presidents[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Eugenics, Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology, (2014, pp 619-626) ISBN 978-1-4614-5583-7
  2. ^ a b c American Eugenics Society, Controlling Heredity.
  3. ^ The Society for Biodemography and Social Biology, Homepage (Last retrieved Nov 26, 2014) Archived 2013-04-14 at
  4. ^ Baker, G. J. (2014-04-08). "Christianity and Eugenics: The Place of Religion in the British Eugenics Education Society and the American Eugenics Society, c.1907-1940". Social History of Medicine. 27 (2): 281–302. doi:10.1093/shm/hku008. ISSN 0951-631X. PMC 4001825. PMID 24778464.
  5. ^ Jackson, John P.; Weidman, Nadine M. (2005). "The Origins of Scientific Racism". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (50): 66–79. ISSN 1077-3711. JSTOR 25073379.
  6. ^ Messall, Rebecca (Fall 2004). "The Long Road of Eugenics: From Rockefeller to Roe v. Wade". The Human Life Review. 30 (4): 33–74, 67. PMID 15856597.
  7. ^ American Eugenics Society, Inc. (1931). Organized eugenics: January 1931. pp. 3, 65.
  8. ^ "Biodemography and Social Biology Publication History".
  9. ^ "Planned Parenthood's Century of Brutality". National Review. 19 June 2017.
  10. ^[bare URL PDF]

External links[edit]