Depopulation, Fascism, and “Latin” Eugenics in Argentina in the 1930s

By Andrés H. Reggiani

This article explores the reception of eugenics in Argentina in the 1930s. It analyses the interrelationship of three factors contributing to the legitimization of “race science”: first, the rise of authoritarian nationalism as a result of global depression and the crisis of parliamentary regimes; second, the fear of depopulation caused by the closing of overseas immigration and the fall in the birthrate among whites of European descent; and, finally, the prominent role played by Italo-Argentine cultural and scientific networks in the debates on race improvement. In the 1930s, Argentine biotypologists, relying on the old, respected tradition of Lombrosian criminal anthropology, turned to the Italian endocrinologist and fascist sympathizer Nicola Pende in their search for novel ways of coping with Argentina’s demographic emergency.


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