14th Annual IGSS Conference • October 20-21, 2023

Integrating Genetics and the Social Sciences 2023

Keynote Address: The American Pursuit of Intelligence Genes, 1916-2022

Emily R. Klancher Merchant, PhD, University of California, Davis

Professor Merchant is a historian of science, technology, and medicine in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, focusing on the quantitative human sciences and the technologies of human measurement. Her first book, Building the Population Bomb, examines how human population growth became a subject of scientific expertise and an object of governmental and philanthropic intervention in the twentieth century. Her current project focuses on the scientific efforts over the past 100 years to identify the genetic antecedents to intelligence. It uses archival research, oral history, computational text analysis, and participant observation to trace the intellectual and institutional continuities and discontinuities from the eugenics of the beginning of the twentieth century, through the differential psychology (intelligence testing) of the first half of the century and the behavior genetics (heritability studies using twins and adoptees) of the second half, to the sociogenomics of the beginning of the twenty-first. Her talk will review this work and highlight the significance of the historical context in which work at IGSS is presented.

Presenter's website