This collection is an interdisciplinary edited volume that examines the circulation of Darwinian ideas in the Atlantic space as they impacted systems of Western thought and culture. Specifically, the book explores the influence of the principle tenets of Darwinism -- such as the theory of evolution, the ape-man theory of human origins, and the principle of sexual selection -- on established transatlantic intellectual traditions and cultural practices. In doing so, it pays particular attention to how Darwinism reconfigured discourses on race, gender, and sexuality in a transnational context. Covering the period from the publication of The Origin of Species (1859) to 1933, when the Nazis (National Socialist Party) took power in Germany, the essays demonstrate the dissemination of Darwinian thought in the Western world in an unprecedented commerce of ideas not seen since the Protestant Reformation. Learned societies, literary groups, lyceums, and churches among other sites for public discourse sponsored lectures on the implications of Darwin’s theory of evolution for understanding the very ontological codes by which individuals ordered and made sense of their lives. Collectively, these gatherings reflected and constituted what the contributing scholars to this volume view as the discursive power of the cultural politics of Darwinism.
Table of Contents
List of Figures Acknowledgments Introduction: The Descent of Darwin in Atlantic Cultures, Jeannette Eileen Jones and Patrick B. Sharp PART I: GENDERS AND SEXUALITIES 1. Strange Birds: Friedrich Nietzsche, Djuna Barnes, and Queer Evolution, Robert Azzarello 2. ‘Sexual Selection’ and the Social Revolution: Anarchist Eugenics and Radical Darwinism in the United States, 1850-1910, Jesse F. Battan 3. The Birds and the Bees: Darwin’s Evolutionary Approach to Sexuality, Kimberly A. Hamlin 4. Love in the Age of Darwinian Reproduction, Mark B. Feldman 5. Victorian Birdsongs: Sexual Selection, Gender, and Darwin’s Theory of Music, Laura M. Bolt PART II: RACE AND DIFFERENCE 6. Rise and Fall: Degeneration, Historical Determinism, and William Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom!, Christy A. Cannariato 7. What Is It? Difference, Darwin, and the Victorian Freak Show, Lindsey Churchill 8. The Mocking Meme: Popular Darwinism, Illustrative Graphics, and Editorial Cartooning, G. Bruce Retallack 9. Selective Affinities: Darwin’s Theory of Evolution in Adventure Novels by Jack London and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Herbert Klein PART III: COLONIZATION, NATION, AND "PROGRESS" 10. Simians, Negroes, and ‘Missing Link’: Evolutionary Discourses and Transatlantic Debates on ‘The Negro Question,’ Jeannette Eileen Jones 11. Evolution in the Backlands: Brazilian Intellectuals and the Development of a Nation, Gildo Magalhães Santos 12. The Evolution of the West: Darwinist Visions of Race and Progress in Roosevelt and Turner, Patrick B. Sharp 13. Darwinism in Spanish America: Union and Diversity in José Rodó and José Vasconcelos, Adriana Novoa 14. The Miseducation of Henry Adams: Fantasies of Race, Citizenship, and Darwinian Dynamos, John P. Bruni Notes on Contributors Index
Jeannette Eileen Jones is Assistant Professor, History and Ethnic Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Patrick B. Sharp is Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Liberal Studies, California State University, Los Angeles.