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The University of Southampton
Southampton Ethics Centre

The Sexual Question (1932) by Jaime Brasil: Anarchism, Eugenics, Catholicism Seminar

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16:00 - 17:00
30 May 2017
Avenue Campus 65 / 1177

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Aude Campmas at .

Event details

Although the interconnections between Catholicism and eugenics were multifaceted and were textured in different ways according to the context in which they arose, in the Portuguese case, it was perhaps the searing debate in the early 1930s between Jaime Brasil (1896-1966), a vociferous proponent of sexual science and eugenics, and the Catholic establishment that showed most clearly how conflictive this relation could be. In mid-1932 the journalist, anarchist activist and sex reformer Jaime Brasil published his A Questão Sexual, a highly detailed volume of some 480 pages covering most aspects of sexual expression, including ‘morbid’ sexuality and birth control. The vehement reaction from the Jesuit review Novidades came quickly over the summer of 1932 in the form of several articles, classifying Brasil’s book as communist propaganda and as a source of moral corruption of the youth. In turn, Brasil responded to the Catholic campaign, denouncing the ‘hateful vomit of the padres’ in a short book (The Fathers and ‘The Sexual Question’) that reproduced and commented on the increasingly charged texts that were exchanged between the two camps. This paper analyses the conflicting discourses that inhabited the contested terrain of eugenics within 1930s Portugal.

Speaker information

Professor Richard Cleminson, University of Leeds. Professor of Hispanic Studies and work at the intersection between Gender and Sexuality Studies and History with a particular interest in how science and culture interact in Iberia. To this end, I have published on scientific and sexological theories of sexuality, particularly with respect to the cultural and scientific construction of male homosexuality in Spain, hermaphroditism in Iberia and the reception of eugenics in Spain and Portugal. My most recent book is on the history of eugenics in Portugal, deriving from an AHRC Research Fellowship in 2012. My current major project, also AHRC-funded, focuses on the dialogue between anarchism and eugenics in five countries.

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