The Darwinian Revolution

History 280S

Fall 2015
Day & Time: 
F 12-2P
Two scientific concepts – more than others – have radically reconfigured humanity's place in the natural world: Galileo Galilei's heliocentrism and Charles Darwin's natural selection. Darwin's theory of evolution remains pervasive in modern thought and has become a frequent flashpoint for religious controversy. This seminar will provide a chronological analysis of the development of evolutionary theories from 1800 until 1950. The reading list includes much of the evolutionary canon in order to develop skills for interpreting historical materials in scholarly debate. Some focus will also be paid to evolutionary theory's social and intellectual legacies, such as the Scopes Trial and the emergence of sociobiology. The blend between primary and secondary literature should allow both historians and non-historians to develop and in-depth familiarity with the history of evolutionary thought.

Course Books

Unifying Biology: The Evolutionary Synthesis and Evolutionary Biology by Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis Princeton University Press. ISBN: 978-0691033433 Required
Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate Over Science and Religion by Edward J. Larson Basic Books. ISBN: 978-0465075102 Required
The Mendelian Revolution: The Emergence of Hereditarian Concepts in Modern Science and Society by Peter J. Bowler The Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 978-0801838880 Required
The Eclipse of Darwinism: Anti-Darwinian Evolution Theories in the Decades around 1900 by Peter J. Bowler Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN: 978-0801843914 Required
Comparative Reception of Darwinism by Thomas F. Glick University of Texas Press. ISBN: 978-0292710153 Required
Darwinism and the Divine In America: Protestant Intellectuals and Organic Evolution, 1859-1900 by Jon H. Roberts University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN: 978-0299115906 Required
Alfred Russell Wallace: A Life by Peter Raby Chatto & Windus. ISBN: 978-0701168384 Required
Huxley: From Devil's Disciple To Evolution's High Priest by Adrian Desmond Basic Books. ISBN: 978-0201959871 Required
The Development of Darwin's Theory: Natural History, Natural Theology, and Natural Selection, 1838-1859 by Dov Ospovat Cambridge University Press. ISBN: 978-0521238182 Required
Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist by Adrian Desmond and James Moore W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN: 978-0393311501 Required
Victorian Sensation: The Extraordinary Publication, Reception, and Secret Authorship of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation by James Secord University of Chicago Press. ISBN: 978-0226744117 Required
The Cuvier-Geoffrey Debate: French Biology in the Decades before Darwin by Toby A. Appel Oxford University Press. ISBN: 978-0195041385 Required
The Philosophical Naturalists: Themes in Early Nineteenth-Century British Biology by Philip Rehbock University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN: 978-0299094300 Required
The Spirit of System: Lamarck and Evolutionary Theory by Burkhardt, Richard Harvard University Press. ISBN: 978-0674833180 Required