Drawing from primary source material, Haunted Files: The Eugenics Record Office reimagines the Eugenics Record Office, transporting visitors to the epicenter of American eugenics research and propaganda. Here, eugenicists channeled Progressive Era ideals of rational thought, social progress, statistics, and state management towards the pursuit of “race betterment” and the defense of Anglo-American racial purity.
Haunted Files explores how anti-Asian policies and legislation set the groundwork for the “scientific racism” of modern American politics. This exhibition series brings the “relics” of eugenics out of the buried archives, confronting us with the legacy that continues to trouble today’s national conversations about race, immigration, intelligence, norms, and belonging.
Haunted Files is a project of the Asian/Pacific/American Institute at NYU.