Haunted Files (Eugenics)
Produced by American Slavery Project & The Sheen Center for Thought & Culture
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 @ 7PM & 9PM
The Sheen Center in collaboration with The American Slavery Project presents Haunted Files, an immersive evening of theatre, recreating through audience interaction, performance, and talkback the history of scientific racism and eugenics in America. Eugenics is the Progressive Era movement of white Protestant “experts” that sought to eliminate a range of marginalized peoples and elevate Northern Europeans as the norm. The movement pushed these goals through immigration restriction, sterilization, institutionalization, and controlled breeding. It’s legacies continue to have a lasting impact on our country today, even with its dark ties to the atrocities of the Nazi regime.
This evening will draw on the “human trait” files of America’s Eugenics Records Office, specifically the eugenics lecture notes, handed-down pedigree charts, and endless “human trait” files, along with the actual notes of a white eugenics field researcher and an African-Chinese American patient who was deemed automatically “unfit,”institutionalized, and eventually sterilized.
The Eugenics Records Office was the Long Island epicenter of the American eugenics movement. In spring 2015, the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU creatively reimagined the Eugenics Records Office in the exhibit “Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office.” American Slavery Project (ASP) was invited to examine the records and created a piece as part of the exhibit programing. ASP writers have imagined the lives of the field worker and the patient and woven the stories of these two women together in a duologue, shedding light on the history of scientific racism in America.
Featuring a post show panel with Adam Cohen, author of Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck; Noa Fuller and Jack Tchen, co-curators of the original “Haunted Files” exhibition; and Judy Tate, co-founder of The American Slavery Project.
The A/P/A Institute’s “Haunted Files” online can be found at: hauntedfiles.org