A Special Hell #319

May 29, 2015

This week we're talking about the use - and appalling misuse - of genetics in pursuit of human perfection. We'll speak to Claudia Malacrida, sociology professor and eugenics researcher, about her book "A Special Hell: Institutional Life in Alberta's Eugenic Years." And we'll talk to Hannah Brown, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Adelaide, about the ethical issues raised by the creation of a genetically modified human embryo.


  • Claudia Malacrida
  • Hannah Brown

Guest Bios

Claudia Malacrida

Claudia Malacrida is a Professor in Sociology at the University of Lethbridge. Malacrida has published extensively on eugenics and institutionalization, mothers who are disabled, and the regulation of childbirth in Canada. She is the author of several books, including her most recent titled “A Special Hell: Institutional Life in Alberta’s Eugenics Years”. She is also currently leading a SSHRC-funded project entitled "Eugenics to Newgenics in Alberta: Historical Continuities and Differences" that seeks to understand the continuities and differences between historical eugenic actions and how disabled people's sexuality is managed today.

Hannah Brown

Hannah Brown is a Robinson Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellow and has recently established the Embryo Metaboloepigenetics Laboratory. She gained her PhD from the University of Adelaide and took up international postdoctoral posts in both France (INRA) and the United States (Baylor College of Medicine). Her interests lay in the fields of epigenetics and metabolism, and in particular the changing epigenetic landscape of the early embryo. She is passionate about science communication and is currently a SA Young Tall Poppy.