David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):205-210 (2008)
This paper examines the available evidence on one of the most radical ideas in the history of eugenics and utopianism. In the mid-1920s, the zoology professor Ilia Ivanov submitted to the Soviet government a project for hybridizing humans and apes by means of artificial insemination. He received substantial financing and organized expeditions to Africa to catch apes for his experiments. His project caused an international sensation. The American Association for the Advancement of Atheism announced its fund-raising campaign to support Ivanov’s project but gave it a scandalously racist interpretation. Ivanov’s own motivation remained unclear, as did the motivation of those in the Bolshevik government who supported Ivanov until his arrest in 1930. This paper discusses three hypothetical reasons for Ivanov’s adventure: first, hybridization between humans and apes, should it be successful, would support the atheist propaganda of the Bolsheviks; second, regardless of the success of hybridization, Ivanov would catch and bring to Russia apes, which were necessary for the rejuvenation programs that were fashionable among the Bolshevik elite; and third, hybridization, should it be successful, would pave the way to the New Socialist Man whose ‘construction by scientific means’ was the official purpose of the Bolsheviks. Ivanov’s ideas were arguably important for the American proponent of reform eugenics, Herman Muller, and for the Soviet anthropologist Boris Porshnev.
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References found in this work BETA
Alan Ryan (2015). Introduction. In The Making of Modern Liberalism. Princeton University Press 1-18.
Kirill Rossiianov (2002). Beyond Species: Il’Ya Ivanov and His Experiments on Cross-Breeding Humans with Anthropoid Apes. Science in Context 15 (2).
Martin Richards (2008). Artificial Insemination and Eugenics: Celibate Motherhood, Eutelegenesis and Germinal Choice. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 39 (2):211-221.
Nikolai Berdiaev (1948). The Origin of Russian Communism /[Translated From the Russian by R.M. French]. --. G. Bles.
Mitchell Hart (1999). Racial Science, Social Science, and the Politics of Jewish Assimilation. Isis: A Journal of the History of Science 90:268-297.
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