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The University of Southampton
Lifelong Learning

Darwin and the 'Almost Darwin': Darwin, Wallace and the Place of Evolution in Society

Who is Charles Darwin? An easy question. But who is Alfred Russel Wallace? And, why is this (arguably) more romantic and dynamic figure considered by some as the ‘almost Darwin’?

Evolutionary theory
Evolutionary theory

This course will seek to place Wallace more securely alongside Darwin. Why is this man (who co-discovered the theory of evolution by natural selection with Darwin in 1858) now a relative footnote in history? This overarching question will direct us as we use Wallace and Darwin as case studies in the development of and response to ‘Darwinism’ in Victorian society.

We will study the early evolutionary theories as well as the early lives of both men in order to trace the development of the ‘Darwinian’ idea. The course will consider how Darwin and Wallace diverged on a variety of issues, which will allow us to ask questions on the nature of Victorian society as well as the nature of the scientific enterprise itself. Darwin and Wallace may have shared ground-breaking thoughts on the origin of species, but they shared little else. In studying these two Victorian giants’ intellectual convergence and divergence we will travel through the debates on socialism, religion vs. science, the place of man and woman in nature and much more.


Date: Tuesday evenings, starting 4 February 2014
Time: 7 - 9 pm
Duration: 12 meetings

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