Ph.D. Candidate in History, Harvard University; Graduate Student Affiliate, Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
December 8, 2023
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Hoffmann Room, Adolphus Busch Hall
Between 1933 and 1936, seemingly disparate visions of state authority in both Nazi Germany and the United States through U.S. Indian Policy came to rely upon the establishment of a “blood quantum” as the basis for political reorganization. This project traces the social consequences of tribal political reconstitution resulting from the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act and its subsequent expansions to encompass Alaska and Oklahoma in 1936, with particular attention paid to establishing a federal definition for Indian status through blood quantum. Amid the myriad complications built into the process of tribal political reorganization, these developments became a source of intrigue for Nazi jurists and legal scholars as they engaged in their own process of political reorganization in explicitly racialized terms between 1933 and 1935.
Ultimately, this project asks a philosophical question regarding the common origin of biological fractionalization as a eugenics practice, which is today still employed as a valid– even a preferred– method for determining tribal membership/Indian status in the United States. It also seeks to demonstrate that there were international observers who interpreted developments in American Indian policy with their own goals in mind, as in Nazi Germany. In this case, the creation of blood schemas underscored larger political shifts in federal power in both the United States and Nazi Germany between 1933 and 1936, both of which resulted in significant social consequences which continue to mar the politics of both countries to this day.