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Darwin’s First Days in America
April 15, 10:00 am–12:00 pm
A great spiritual crevasse was opened for nineteenth-century Americans when in 1859 Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species in which he described his theory of evolution through natural selection. Many Americans still grapple with the theory of evolution today. But how was Darwin’s book and later supporting work originally received in America and around the world? What were the debate’s original battle lines and how have those battle lines themselves evolved? We will explore the development of Darwin’s theories as well as the personalities that animated their simultaneous acceptance and denial in Victorian America.
Dr. Erica Hannickel is an associate professor of environmental history at Northland College. She is the author of Empire of Vines: Wine Culture in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013), wrote the chapter “Alcohol” for the Routledge History of American Foodways (2016), and has several other articles published in the Chronicle of Higher Education, ISLE, American Studies, and Yoganonymous. She has lived in Ashland for the past decade and is an avid gardener and orchid grower. Currently she has two book projects simmering, both focusing on the history of botany.