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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
+44 (0)1865 483698
Marius Turda is Director of the Centre for Medical Humanities.
Originally from Maramures, Marius has been teaching at Oxford Brookes since 2005. He is the founder director of the Cantemir Institute at the University of Oxford (2012-2013) and founder of the Working Group on the History of Eugenics and Race (HRE), established in 2006. Between 2010 and 2014 he was Deputy Director, The Centre for Health, Medicine and Society. He is Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and Fellow of the Galton Institute.
Dr Turda has supervised and continues to supervise BA, MA and PhD dissertations on various aspects of the history of eugenics and race. Currently, he is currently supervising dissertations on the history of eugenics in Britain and in Greece, and on the history of social Darwinism in Romania.
My main research interests relate directly to post-1800 European history and its connections to the wider world. They can be summarised into 5 interrelated clusters:
This volume addresses the question of ‘identity’ in East-Central Europe. It engages with a specific definition of ‘sub-cultures’ over the period from c. 1900 to the present and proposes novel ways in which the term can be used with the purpose of understanding identities that do not conform to the fixed, standard categories imposed from the top down, such as ‘ethnic group’, ‘majority’ or ‘minority’. Instead, a ‘sub-culture’ is an identity that sits between these categories. It may blend languages, e.g. dialect forms, cultural practices, ethnic and social identifications, or religious affiliations as well as concepts of race and biology that, similarly, sit outside national projects.
The main and original contribution of this volume is to offer a discussion of teleology through the prism of religion, philosophy and history. The goal is to incorporate teleology within discussions across these three disciplines rather than restrict it to one as is customarily the case. The chapters cover a wide range of topics, from individual teleologies to collective ones; ideas put forward by the French aristocrat Arthur de Gobineau and the Scottish philosopher David Hume, by the Anglican theologian and founder of Methodism, John Wesley, and the English naturalist Charles Darwin; it criss-crosses intellectually and conceptually from a discussion of morality to that of the sacralisation of politics.
This exhibition documents the complex biopolitical and eugenic programmes devised to create a new Romanian family and nation through individual and collective scientific management. Between 1920 and 1944 biopolitics and eugenics received official endorsement in Romania, as elsewhere in Europe and the USA. From the outset, however, the eugenic ambition to nurture a healthy Romanian population was placed within a broader biopolitical project nation-building and national protectionism. It is this biopolitical project that we explore in this exhibition.
As this exhibition clearly suggests, the support for biopolitics and eugenics displayed by Romanian elites was not merely a symptom of their racism and anti-Semitism (although some authors were notorious racist and anti-Semitic); but predominantly it was the expression of their desire to protect the national body through controlling its biological and social functions. Ideas for an ethnically homogeneous Romanian state had, of course, been voiced since the beginning of the twentieth century but they only became politically encoded during Ion Antonescu’s regime and as such shaped the ideological reasoning behind the extermination of Jews and Roma during 1941 and 1942. The focus thus shifted from the eugenic improvement and protection of the Romanian family to the very survival and future of the Romanian nation. Maintaining the nation’s racial potential became of prime political importance. Whoever endangered that process was marked as an enemy of the state. This radical form of ethnicity was promoted alongside the intense politicization and total subordination of scientific institutions to the Romanian government.
Using material previously unseen by the general public this exhibition illustrates the extent to which national agenda re-defined scientific projects in Romania. The popularity of biopolitics and eugenics during the interwar and World War II periods is beyond question, but its wider national impact remains to be examined. Ultimately the exhibition encourages the general public and specialists alike to reflect on these ideas critically, whilst, at the same time, unhesitatingly acknowledging the central role biopolitics and eugenics played in shaping Romanian history between 1920 and 1944. =
Muzeul Municipiului București prezintă la Muzeul de Artă Populară Dr. Nicolae Minovici (Str. Dr.Nicolae Minovici, nr 1) Expoziția tematică „Știință și etnicitate II. Biopolitica și eugenismul în românia, 1920-1944” – „Science and ethnicity II. Biopolitics and eugenics in romania, 1920-1944” care poate fi vizitată în perioada 29 martie – 31 iulie 2019.
Această expoziție documentează complexul program biopolitic și eugenic gândit pentru a crea o nouă familie și o nouă națiune română printr-un management științific atât la nivel individual, cât și colectiv. În România, între anii 1920 și 1944, biopolitica și eugenismul au fost sprijinite oficial, așa cum s-a întâmplat de altfel în întreaga Europă și în Statele Unite. De la bun început, programul eugenic ce urmărea crearea unei populații românești sănătoase a fost plasat în cadrul mai larg al unui proiect biopolitics de instituire a unui protecționism național și de construcție a națiunii. Expoziția descrie acest proiect biopolitic.
Așa cum această expoziție o dovedește, sprijinul pentru biopolitică și eugenism acordat de elitele românești nu a fost doar un simptom al rasismului și antisemitismului lor (deși unii autori au fost notorii pentru rasismul și antisemitismul lor), ci era în principal expresia dorinței lor de a proteja corpul național prin controlul funcțiilor sale biologice și sociale. Ideea unei Românii etnic omogene a fost, desigur, exprimată încă de la începutul secolului douăzeci, dar ea a devenit o normă politică abia în timpul regimului lui Ion Antonescu, dând consistență argumentelor ideologice care au stat la baza exterminării evreilor și a romilor în perioada 1941-1942. Atunci, în centrul atenției nu mai erau îmbunătățirea și protejarea eugenică a familiei române, ci însăși supraviețuirea și viitorul națiunii. Menținerea potențialului rasial al națiunii devenise un obiectiv de primă importanță, și oricine punea în pericol acest potențial era stigmatizat ca inamic al statului. Această formă radicală de etnicitate a fost promovată odată cu intensa politizare și totala subordonare a instituțiilor de cercetare științifică față de guvernul României.
Folosind materiale puțin cunoscute marelui public, această expoziție ilustrează măsura în care agenda națională a redefinit proiectele științifice în România. Popularitatea biopoliticii și eugenismului în perioada interbelică și a celui de al Doilea Război Mondial nu poate fi contestată, dar efectele acesteia rămân a fi cercetate de aici înainte. În ultimă instanță, această expoziție încurajează atât publicul larg, cât și specialiștii să reflecteze critic asupra acestor idei fără a ezita însă să recunoască rolul central ocupat de biopolitică și eugenism în istoria României în perioada 1920-1944.
This volume addresses the question of ‘identity’ in East-Central Europe. It engages with a specific definition of ‘sub-cultures’ over the period from ca. 1900 to the present and proposes novel ways in which the term can be used with the purpose of understanding identities that do not conform to the fixed, standard categories imposed from the top down, such as ‘ethnic group’, ‘majority’ or ‘minority’. Instead, a ‘sub-culture’ is an identity that sits between these categories. It may blend languages, e.g. dialect forms, cultural practices, ethnic and social identifications, or religious affiliations as well as concepts of race and biology that, similarly, sit outside national projects.
This book engages with the relationship between religion, evolution and heredity, by bringing together two of its aspects that are frequently discussed separately: Darwinism and eugenics. It also demonstrates that religion has played a greater role in shaping modern debates on evolution and human improvement than current scholarship has so far acknowledged. Drawing on examples provided by Britain, Italy and Portugal, across the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the present book provides a fresh discussion of seminal topics such as reproduction, parenthood, the control of population and ideas of human improvement based on eugenics and genetics, which intersected and, at times, dominated the much broader debate between science and religion reignited by the publication of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and natural selection in the second half of the nineteenth century.--Supplied by publisher.
Turda's article explores the diverse ways in which racial research conducted on prisoners-of-war (POWs) and soldiers contributed to the emergence of anthropological narratives of national identity in Romania between 1914 and 1944. It first discusses racial typologies produced by Austrian, German, Italian and Polish anthropologists investigating POWs during the First World War, and then examines how Romanian physicians and anthropologists engaged with these typologies while refining their own scientific and nationalist agendas. An essential corollary to this development was a strong commitment to the cultivation of distinct Romanian racial types. The interwar and Second World War periods witnessed the full flowering of a Romanian race science that accommodated a racial hierarchy as the basis for national difference. Moreover, by identifying the racial types purportedly constituting the Romanian nation, anthropologists not only hoped to develop a systematic racial inventory of Romania's ethnic communities, but also to reinforce the myth of ethnogenesis, which described the Romanians as worthy of their noble European origins and legitimized their territorial claims.
Those strolling on High Street, Oxford’s inner-city artery, at the start of the first decade of the twentieth century, would have noticed a new building being erected by Oriel College, just opposite the University Church of St Mary the Virgin. A number of old and much-beloved houses had to be demolished in order to accommodate this new architectural addition, so it is not surprising that its construction displeased many. The Welsh travel writer Jan (James) Morris was still able to capture some of that feeling as late as 1965: “If you are very old indeed, you are probably still fuming about the façade built in the High Street by Oriel College […], which most of us scarcely notice nowadays, but used to be thought an absolute outrage.” Old Oxonians may have condemned the loss of the city’s distinctive quarters, but their discontentment was rather aesthetic in nature. No criticism was voiced against the benefactor. Named after Cecil Rhodes (1853–1902), the English mining magnate and fervent believer in the British Empire’s historical destiny in Africa, the new building was designed by celebrated architect Basil Champneys (1842–1935) and completed in 1911.
This is the catalogue of the exhibition on Science and Ethnicty II: Biopolitics and Eugenics in Romania, 1920-1944 (published in both Romanian and English) by the Municipal Museum of Bucharest
Using material previously unseen by the general public this exhibition illustrates the extent to which national agenda re-defined scientific projects in Romania. The popularity of biopolitics and eugenics during the interwar and World War II periods is beyond question, but its wider national impact remains to be examined. Ultimately the exhibition encourages the general public and specialists alike to reflect on these ideas critically, whilst, at the same time, unhesitatingly acknowledging the central role biopolitics and eugenics played in shaping Romanian history between 1920 and 1944.