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The secret history of Britain’s universities and eugenics

Our educational institutions have strong historical ties with eugenics. Have they really reckoned with their histories?

By Becca Muir  

Every so often in Britain, eugenics is accused of making a comeback. Recently, the Black Lives Matter movement has drawn attention to the harmful lasting impact of Britain’s colonialist figures, shocking those who assumed that white supremacy had been left firmly in the past.

But for those campaigning against the legacy of eugenics in higher education, these revelations about the roots of racism were not as surprising. From their perspective, eugenicist views never really disappeared—they had just found a safe haven in some parts of British universities.

British universities have strong historical ties with eugenics. Sir Francis Galton, a…

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