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Title: Children in Glass Houses: Toward a Hygienic, Eugenic Architecture for Children During the Third Republic in France (1870-1940)
Authors: Greene, Gina Marie
Advisors: Eigen, Edward
Contributors: Architecture Department
Keywords: Children
Subjects: Architecture
Public health
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation examines the war against infant and child mortality in France between 1870 and 1940--the duration of the Third Republic--and the ways in which architecture was deployed as a vital technology of defense. Central to this phenomenon was the ongoing collaboration among architects, hygienists, and physicians in the design of architectural spaces which, it was hoped, would reverse trends of demographic decline and degeneration. These new types of hygienic, medicalized, and architecturally modern spaces were believed to have curative, prophylactic, and regenerative powers. In constructing such spaces, physicians, hygienists, and architects sought not only to improve the health of individual French children, but, also to reinvigorate the hereditary health of the French "race" itself. Chapter One analyzes the emergence of the infant incubator in fin-de-siècle Paris, arguing that it represented an ideal hygienic architectural space. Chapter Two focuses on the emergence of a French science of infant rearing and how it became entangled with both the emerging eugenics movement in France and the architecture of establishments devoted to infant care. Chapter Three reveals the impact that an increasing emphasis on medical examination and hygienic training in the French nursery schools had on their architectural development. Chapter Four examines the French écoles de plein air, where it was supposed that access to fresh air and sunlight would rehabilitate fragile French children. Finally, chapter Five examines a eugenic impulse in French urbanism by surveying a garden city planned as a eugenic and pro-natalist experiment. Ultimately, through an examination of architecture developed to reverse the consequences of depopulation and low birthrate in France, this dissertation traces the emergence of a hygienic dimension of architectural discourse, an architectural dimension of hygienic discourse, and the outlines of a eugenics project for which architecture proved instrumental.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Architecture

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