Dr. Paul Lombardo, one of the leading authorities on the use of genetics to shape social policy, will be on the campus of Converse College on Tuesday, May 3rd to discuss how the eugenics movement of the early 20th century parallels the possibilities and dangers of the promise of genetic manipulation in our own generation.
The event, which is hosted by the College Town consortium, will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Hartness Auditorium, and is free and open to the public. The College Town consortium is a collaboration of the institutions of higher education in Spartanburg County – Converse College, Sherman College, Spartanburg Methodist College, Spartanburg Technical College, the University of South Carolina Upstate and Wofford College.
Eugenics sprang from the philosophy of social Darwinism, which envisioned human society in terms of natural selection and suggested that science could engineer progress by attacking supposedly hereditary problems including moral decadence, crime, venereal disease, tuberculosis and alcoholism.
Dr. Lombardo is an associate professor of the School of Medicine at the University of Virginia and director of the Program in Law and Medicine at the university’s Center for Biomedical Ethics. He has served on a number of national panels, providing expertise on the proper conduct of research that enrolls human beings as subjects. As a historian he has served as a member of Special Emphasis Panels for the National Library of Medicine, and the Editorial Advisory Panel and Historian’s Working Group of the Digital Image Archive of the American Eugenics Movement of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York. Lombardo has been a historical consultant for several films, including most recently, Race: the Power of an Illusion Part I, “The Difference Between Us” (PBS, April 2003). His recent publications have dealt with a variety of issues in health law, history and bioethics, particularly the history of eugenics and the legal and ethical issues surrounding ongoing research in genetics. He is completing a book with the working title Better for All the World: Eugenics, the Supreme Court and Buck v. Bell.