Sunday, January 29, 2012
On January 29, at 2:30 p.m., the Primo Levi Center, the Museum and the Italian Cultural Institute of New York will present Italian Eugenics: Forging the “New Man,” a provocative discussion at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust. Professor Francesco Cassata of the University of Genoa and Alessandro Di Rocco, Professor of Neurology at NYU-Langone Medical Center – New York University School of Medicine and president of the Primo Levi Center will discuss the intersection of science and politics in fascist Italy, and how the country’s scientific community helped promote skewed notions of “fitness” and “normality” that became central to the development of Mussolini’s racist and discriminatory policies. Prof. Cassata’s research sheds light on a central aspect of Fascism’s competitive attitude toward Germany and its attempt to shape alternative models of supremacy. Unlike German eugenics, the Italian model was positively pronatalist and tailored to incorporate classical Catholic concerns as well as the pressing need of maximizing the country’s biological resources.
About the Panelists
Francesco Cassata is the author of Building the New Man. Eugenics, Racial Science and Genetics in Twentieth-Century Italy. His main areas of interest include the histories of eugenics, genetics, racism, and fascism. His current research project concerns the Italian geneticist Adriano Buzzati-Traverso and the development of molecular biology in Italy.
Alessandro Di Rocco is Professor of Neurology and Chief of the Division of Movement Disorders at NYU-Langone Medical Center – New York University School of Medicine and Director of the NYU Parkinson Center. He is also actively engaged in national and international programs to promote education on Parkinson’s and improve quality of care and access to medical services. He is a member of several public and private panels and commissions, and has been recently elected president of the Melvin Yahr International Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.