Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection may be the single most influential, and controversial, scientific theory ever proposed. This course will examine the origin, nature, and consequences of Darwin’s theory, with an emphasis on interrelationships among the social, cultural, and intellectual dimensions of the scientific enterprise. Topics include the connections between Darwinian theory and social, political, and moral discourse in Victorian Britain; initial and more recent scientific and public controversies; resistance to the theory by conservative Christians; applications and misapplications of the theory, such as Social Darwinism, eugenics, and sociobiology; and the influence of Darwinian thought on literature and the arts. In addition to the Origin of Species and excerpts from Voyage of the Beagle , Descent of Man , and other Darwin writings, readings may include Kurt Vonnegut’s Galapagos , selections from Malthus, Spencer, and Huxley, and recent works by Richard Dawkins, E.O. Wilson, Stephen Gould, Marlene Zuk, Jerry Coyne, and Sarah Hrdy, among others.