Darwin, Culture and Society (HIST*3690) | College of Arts

Darwin, Culture and Society (HIST*3690)

Code and section: HIST*3690*01

Term: Winter 2018

Instructor: Tara Abraham


Course Synopsis:

This course offers an advanced introduction to the historical, social, and cultural dimensions of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, from the late 18th century to the present.  We will begin by exploring the contexts of natural history prior to the appearance of Darwin’s theory.  We will then place the development of Darwin’s ideas within the social, political, and professional contexts of his time.  Following an in-depth look at the structure and reception of Darwin’s theory, we will explore the influence of Darwinian thinking and evolutionary theory in general through to the late 20th century.  Students will come to appreciate how Darwinian ideas have profoundly shaped our understandings of nature, human nature, and society, and the complex roles that social and cultural conditions have played in the development and reception of Darwin’s work.  

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Critical Evaluations        10%
Book Critique            10%
Class Participation        10%
Research Paper Proposal    5%
Research Paper        25%
Midterm Exam        20%
Final Exam            20%

Texts and/or Resources Required:

1. Philip Appleman (ed.) 2001. Darwin: A Norton Critical Edition. Third Edition. New York and London: W.W. Norton. ISBN0-393-95849-3
2. A set of online readings, accessible through the Library website (click on “Course Reserves”) and through the course website.

*Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description only.  The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.