This course examines the relationshiop between the theory of evolution and British intellectual, cultural, and political history in the nineteenth century. Beginning with the political use of evolutionary conceptions of nature during the French revolution and the response, the course examines the historical context in which Darwin's and others' works on evolution were produced and received in the nineteenth century. In doing so this course explores the relationship between science and society in the modern era, with particular attention to how visions of "man's place in nature" intersected with theological, political, and social visions. By placing Darwin's On the Origin of Species and The Descent of Man in historical context, the course serves as an intellectual and cultural history of Britain during a profoundly transformative century through focusing on a scientific idea and its relation to society.
Prerequisites: Students may not receive credit for both STS 144 and STS 338.