François Secco: PhD Project Presentation

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: Engelska parken 6-3025 (Rausing Room)
  • Organiser: Department of History of Science and Ideas
  • Contact person: Hanna Hodacs
  • Seminarium

Higher Seminar in the History of Science and Ideas

François Secco presents his PhD project. A written summary is available at request from the author.

NB. Please note the unusual time!


In the 1860s, the French physician Alfred Caron coined the term puericulture, which he defined as the science of raising children hygienically and physiologically, but failed to have this new term adopted by the medical sphere. Yet, sixty years later, the term puericulture was used in many parts of the world, by teachers, physicians, governments, and international organizations.

In 1895, the obstetrician Adolphe Pinard revived the term. Along with his colleagues, students, other scientists, and political figures, he participated in the promotion and legitimization of the term coined by Caron. However, they did not share the same definition of the term puericulture. Pinard defined puericulture as the science which “has for its object the research of knowledge relevant to the reproduction, conservation, and improvement of the human species”, and considered that Galtonian eugenics was only a part of his own project.

This doctoral project will examine the circulation of puericultural knowledge, the constitution of a puericultural movement transcending borders, and the aspirations of its representatives, the puericulturists, to universalize their ideas from 1891 and until the 1960s.

Photograph: "Cours de puériculture à Lariboisière", Agence Rol, 1926. Image source: / Bibliothèque nationale de France.