Imbeciles: A Book Talk with Adam Cohen

Thursday, May 12, 2016 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

The Brennan Center for Justice presents:

Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck

A Book Talk with Adam Cohen
Senior writer for Time magazine and co-editor of The National Book Review

in conversation with:

David Oshinsky
Professor, Department of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine
Director, Division of Medical Humanities, New York University School of Medicine
Pulitzer Prize winning author of Polio: An American Story

Introductions by:

Theresa "Raffe" Jefferson
Managing Director, Communications & Strategy, Brennan Center for Justice

Thursday, May 12
6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

6:00 p.m. Registration and Reception
6:30 p.m. Program

Lipton Hall
New York University School of Law
108 West 3rd Street
(between Sullivan St. and Macdougal St.)
New York, NY 10012


In Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck, former member of the New York Times editorial board, Adam Cohen, tells the story of one of America’s greatest miscarriages of justice, the Supreme Court’s infamous 1927 Buck v. Bell ruling. Considered one of the darkest moments in the American legal tradition, this case allowed for the sterilization of Carrie Buck, a perfectly normal young woman, for being an “imbecile,” and made government sterilization of “undesirable” citizens the law of the land. Exposing this tremendous injustice – which led to the sterilization of 70,000 Americans – Imbeciles overturns cherished myths and reappraises heroic figures in its relentless pursuit of the truth.

Imbeciles has been coined a "superb history of eugenics in America" by the New York Times, and the book's relevance to our current political state is highlighted in the New Yorker, stating "it's impossible ... to read 'Imbeciles' without thinking of the current election cycle." 

Join the Brennan Center for an engaging discussion with the author of this exciting exposé of the American legal system on Thursday, May 12 at 6 p.m.

This event is co-sponsored by Health Law & Policy Society and Mental Health Law & Justice Association at New York University School of Law.

To RSVP fill out the form below or click HERE. If you have any questions, please contact Jessica Katzen at or 646.292.8368.