SCHOOL HYGIENE AND EUGENICS: THE ROLE OF PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN REGENERATING THE “BRAZILIAN RACE”
From 1870 to 1930, physicians, writers, anthropologists and educators discussed therelationship between education and the less-privileged segments of the Brazilianpopulation. Among ideas circulating in the late nineteenth century were precepts of SchoolHygiene, such as physical exercise could promote personal health and, in a broader sense,the total development of the child. In discussions of eugenic themes in the early decades ofthe twentieth century, Physical Education was further promoted as a corrective measure forthe negative effects of miscegenation; that is, the physical, intellectual and moral debilitiesof the poor and non-white segments of the Brazilian population. This paper examines thenature and effects of the school discipline Physical Education on the less-favored childrenof Brazil by first introducing its role in School Hygiene and then by focusing on itsextended role from the eugenic perspective. In this latter discussion, the racial ideas ofFernando de Azevedo regarding the regenerating effect of Physical Education on the“Brazilian Race” are explored.
Education; History of education; School Hygiene
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