Darwin and the Politics of Nature at Commonwealth Ballroom, VCU Student Commons

Friday, 15 February, 2019


Science, Technology, and Society at VCU is thrilled to welcome Dr. Erika Milam (Princeton University) for her talk, “Darwin and the Politics of Nature," the second talk in our annual lecture series, "Imagining Animals Through Science," sts.vcu.edu/current-lecture-series.

Nature is politically flexible. Historians know well the story of eugenics, when the language of science was used to devalue some human lives as less valuable than others. Scientists and social activists alike, however, have also mobilized evolutionary theory in the service of progressive, even radical political stances. This talk explores select episodes from Charles Darwin’s own writings as well as later scientists who used his ideas to address questions of sex and violence in society. Together these examples illustrate the impossibility of reducing any biological insight to a single social interpretation. Danger, yes, but also power and hope lurk in the naturalizing promise of evolutionary understandings of human nature.




Commonwealth Ballroom, VCU Student Commons
907 Floyd Ave.
Richmond, VA 23220

Event Contact

Kathryn Shively Meier

Phone: (804) 828-8427
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