Exploring the metaphor of “blood” as the symbolic marker of value (class, race, and strength) and of bodily vulnerability at once, I draw on an extensive family archive to explore the overlaps between radical agrarian Populism, white feminism, Jim Crow segregation and violence, and eugenics running through the early 20th-century, U.S. West. Excerpted from my forthcoming book, Mud, Blood, and Ghosts: Populism, Eugenics, and Spiritualism 1870-1930, “Blood” traces my great-grandfather, the Populist Congressman Omer Madison Kem, in his avid adoption of eugenics as expressed in family letters and public speeches. Connecting persistent themes in U.S. history—property, personhood, exclusion and belonging—I study the ties between Populism and fascism that resonate today.

Julie Carr, Professor, English and Intermedia Art Writing and Performance; Chair, Women and Gender Studies Department, University of Colorado Boulder

Cristina Rivera Garza, Distinguished Professor, Department of Hispanic Studies, University of Houston

Nicholas Sammond, Director, Centre for the Study of the United States, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto


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