Lecture Tangier Global Forum Lecture Series
Evolution is one of the most misunderstood ideas in the history of science. Many of those who originally embraced Darwin's theory in the 19th century rejected its most important mechanism — natural selection. Many later critics of evolution saw it as immoral, questioning not its scientific legitimacy but its consequences for society. Darwin himself recognized the social implications of his theory and struggled to come to terms with them. In this presentation, Lindee explore his life, ideas and legacies, considering the voyage of the Beagle, the crisis that led to publication of the theory, and the meanings of evolution over the next 150 years, in the Scopes Trial, the discovery of DNA, the Intelligent Design movement, and new global industry of genealogy testing and racialized biological identity. Lindee places Darwinian evolution in a broad historical and social context — and suggests why Darwin's great 1859 classic, On the Origin of Species, should be required reading for everyone today.
Professor Susan Lindee is a historian at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA, who studies historical and contemporary questions raised by human and medical genetics, science in the Cold War, nuclear weapons and radiation genetics. She is the Janice and Julian Bers Professor of the History of Science. Her books include Suffering Made Real (1994), The DNA Mystique (1995) with the late sociologist Dorothy Nelkin, and Moments of Truth in Genetic Medicine (2005). Lindee also has been involved in collaborations with anthropologists, including her work with Alan Goodman and Deborah Heath, on the 2003 edited volume Genetic Nature/Culture: Anthropology and Science Beyond the Two Culture Divide, and her April 2012 co-edited special issue of Current Anthropology, “The Biological Anthropology of Living Human Populations: World Histories, National Styles and International Networks." In fall 2014, she was a visiting professor at Hiroshima University. Lindee is a Guggenheim Fellow, a Weiler Fellow and the winner of a Burroughs Wellcome Fund 40th Anniversary Award and the Schuman Prize of the History of Science Society. Lindee is working this Spring on a book called Rational Fog: A History of Science, Technology and War.