Darwin Comes to America

2017 Short Summer Seminar (registration May 30- June 12)
How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Changed Everything

Moderator:                 Dorothy Rosenthal,
Day and Time:          Wednesday 10 AM- Noon, 5 weeks starting July 19
Format:                        Seminar
Location:                    Applewood Meeting Room, Amherst

Description:  This seminar is based on The Book That Changed America: How Darwin’s Theory of Evolution Ignited a Nation by Randall Fuller (2017). We will discuss five leading scientists and five leading American thinkers of the time and how they reacted to the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species. We will see how the idea of evolution, as advanced by Darwin, affected abolitionism and fundamentalism in America during the last half of the 19th century and even into the 20th century.

Role of participants:  Participants will read The Book That Changed America prior to the first session of the seminar and select one scientist (Charles Darwin, Asa Gray, Alfred Wallace, Louis Agassiz, or Henry Thoreau) or one thinker (Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bronson Alcott, Franklin Sunburn, Charles Loring Brace, or James Russell Lowell). The participant will make a brief (15 -25 minute) presentation on the person he or she chose, and then lead a discussion for the remainder of the hour on the role that person played in how Darwin’s theory of evolution was received in America.  Each week there will be two one-hour presentations/discussions led by one of the participants in the seminar.

Resources: The Book That Changed America by Randall Fuller. The book is available only in hardcover, and is available at area bookstores and online. It is also available at area libraries (and through inter-library loan) and in the used book market as well. A list of additional pertinent references will be supplied to those who enroll and there is abundant information available on the internet.

About the Moderator: The moderator has had a career as a science educator and conducted research on the treatment of evolution in public schools.  She has moderated or co-moderated 22 seminars for 5CLIR, eight of which have related to evolution.

Maximum number of participants:  10

Emeritus/a accepted:  No