Juris Salaks (October 11, 1961 in Latvia) – physician, Dr. med. (1991), prof. (2005). Graduated Riga Medical Institute in 1987. Postgraduate study (1987-89). Completed his Dr.med. (1991) at Free University Berlin. From 1991 scientific director of the Paul Stradin Museum of the History of Medicine in Riga. From 1993 lecturer at the Riga Medical academy, from 2005 professor at Riga Stradins University. Director of the Riga Stradins University’s Institute for the History of Medicine since 1998. P. Stradiņs avard (2001), Vice-president of the Baltic association for the History of Medicine, Board member of the European Association of Museums of History of Medical Sciences since 2003. Author and co-author of more then 50 articles and 3 monographs, and co-editor of Acta Medico-Historica Rigensia since 1992.
World War One marked a historic turning point for Latvia, and the interwar period was awash with assessments of the country’s perceived demographic crisis and the declining proportion of ethnic Latvians in Latvia. The ‘Institute for the Study of Living Strength’ was set up to battle this moral panic in Spring 1938, and comprised three departments – anthropology, population density, and eugenics. In this fascinating conference paper, Juris Salaks introduces the Institute’s hereditary and public health agendas, and its attempts to engage with the wider Latvian public unto its dissolution in 1940.
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