Bad Girls at Samarcand: Sexuality and Sterilization in a Southern Juvenile Reformatory

Bad Girls at Samarcand Sexuality and Sterilization in a Southern Juvenile Reformatory Of the many consequences advanced by the rise of the eugenics movement in the early twentieth century North Carolina forcibly sterilized than women and girls in between and This extre

  • Title: Bad Girls at Samarcand: Sexuality and Sterilization in a Southern Juvenile Reformatory
  • Author: Karin Lorene Zipf
  • ISBN: 9780807162491
  • Page: 420
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Of the many consequences advanced by the rise of the eugenics movement in the early twentieth century, North Carolina forcibly sterilized than 2,000 women and girls in between 1929 and 1950 This extreme measure reflects how pseudoscience justified widespread gender, race, and class discrimination in the Jim Crow South In Bad Girls at Samarcand Karin L Zipf dissectsOf the many consequences advanced by the rise of the eugenics movement in the early twentieth century, North Carolina forcibly sterilized than 2,000 women and girls in between 1929 and 1950 This extreme measure reflects how pseudoscience justified widespread gender, race, and class discrimination in the Jim Crow South In Bad Girls at Samarcand Karin L Zipf dissects a dark episode in North Carolina s eugenics campaign through a detailed study of the State Home and Industrial School in Eagle Springs, referred to as Samarcand Manor, and the school s infamous 1931 arson case The people and events surrounding both the institution and the court case sparked a public debate about the expectations of white womanhood, the nature of contemporary science and medicine, and the role of the juvenile justice system that resonated throughout the succeeding decades Designed to reform and educate unwed poor white girls who were suspected of deviant behavior or victims of sexual abuse, Samarcand Manor allowed for strict disciplinary measures including corporal punishment in an attempt to instill Victorian ideals of female purity The harsh treatment fostered a hostile environment and tensions boiled over when several girls set Samarcand on fire, destroying two residence halls Zipf argues that the subsequent arson trial, which carried the possibility of the death penalty, represented an important turning point in the public characterizations of poor white women aided by the lobbying efforts of eugenics advocates, the trial helped usher in dramatic policy changes, including the forced sterilization of female juvenile delinquents In addition to the interplay between gender ideals and the eugenics movement, Zipf also investigates the girls who were housed at Samarcand and those specifically charged in the 1931 trial She explores their negotiation of Jazz Age stereotypes, their strategies of resistance, and their relationship with defense attorney Nell Battle Lewis during the trial The resultant policy changes intelligence testing, sterilization, and parole are also explored, providing further insight into why these young women preferred prison to reformatories.A fascinating story that grapples with gender bias, sexuality, science, and the justice system all within the context of the Great Depression era South, Bad Girls at Samarcand makes a compelling contribution to multiple fields of study.

    One thought on “Bad Girls at Samarcand: Sexuality and Sterilization in a Southern Juvenile Reformatory”

    1. 2.5 stars - good research, but the writing was sometimes repetitive and I couldn't always tell why she decided to include certain things. A chapter focusing on flappers that ends by acknowledging her subjects were not flappers because they were working class? But I still found value in tracing of Samarcand's history across the first half of the twentieth century.

    2. Ambitious topic, but I'm not convinced that the early-1930s arson trial as a frame allowed the author to make the points she laid out in the introduction. I'm also not convinced that the epilogue, which felt like a quick rush from the 1930s to the present, was necessary. The epilogue focused heavily on reports of sexual and other forms of abuse at Samarcand and other youth reformatories, which was not treated in much detail in the rest of the book. The book is at its best when it focuses on Sama [...]

    3. Excellent research on juvenile detention in North Carolina in the early 20th century. However, the writing is a bit formulaic ("This chapter will demonstrate"), repetitive (repetition does not make a weak thesis grow stronger), and the thesis was anachronistically forced (for example, suggesting that teenage girls knew that arson was a capital offense but were not worried because they also knew that the death penalty was primarily a mechanism for state control of African American men). The infor [...]

    4. This was a difficult read, indeed. I found the re-telling of the infamous court case involving residents of Samarcand Manor redundent. Far too much of the book covered that element of this institution's history. I, also, am of the opinion that a dearth of primary sources leaves the book sadly lacking. There are many people still of sound mind who dedicated their career to employment at Samarcand. The author made no use of their insight to enhance the content. My personal knowledge is periferal a [...]

    5. First, the book is overpriced at $25.When you subtract notes, bibliography, etc. you end up with just 217 pages of reading material. Worse, the book was poorly organized and edited, resulting in too much repetition.Those things aside, this book covers many influences leading to the creation and running of a "reform school" for white girls between 10 and 18 . Older in some years. It is one of but perhaps the worst such place.You are given a unique perspective on how age, class, race and sexism ca [...]

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