Avila News

February 23, 2018

Dr. Rachel Dean-Ruzicka to Speak at Avila on Gender, Sterilization and Nazi Germany

Dr. Rachel Dean-Ruzicka

(February 22, 2018) KANSAS CITY, MO – Avila University’s Women’s and Gender Studies Program will host a lecture by author, Rachel Dean-Ruzicka, Ph.D. on March 20 at 7:00 p.m. in Whitfield Center.

The lecture entitled, What does it mean to be a Life Unworthy of Living? Gender, Sterilization and Nazi Germany, will center on the German phrase, Lebensunwertes leben, or “life unworthy of living.”

The phrase was used by Nazis to justify a variety of violent and discriminatory practices. One of the most common was forced sterilization of those deemed unfit to live or procreate. Sterilization policies happened quickly after Hitler’s takeover beginning in 1934, and ultimately affected an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people.

Dr. Dean-Ruzicka’s presentation will examine how the Nazis justified these practices, what sterilization can teach us about genocide, and how examining sterilization leads to a more intersectional analysis of Nazi persecution. The talk will also cover places to find primary sources on the topic, and several pieces of historical fiction on female medical experiments.

Rachel Dean-Ruzicka received her Ph.D. from Bowling Green State University in 2011. She is the author of Tolerance Discourse And Young Adult Holocaust Literature: Engaging Difference and Identity (Routledge, 2017). She is currently a lecturer of writing and communication at Georgia Tech, where she teaches courses on graphic novels, genocide, and true crime.

Whitfield Center is located on the southwest corner of the Avila University campus, 11901 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64145. Call (816) 501-3684 with questions.

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