"Charlantanerie", humbug and the evolution of evolution : Charles Darwin and Louis Agassiz in Brazil (thesis)
The purpose of the current study is to challenge the Euro-centric stereotype that during the nineteenth century science spread outwards from the center (Europe, Canada, the United States - collectively "the West") to the periphery (South America, Africa, Asia). The notion that scientific achievement allowed the center to subdue the periphery is a longstanding one, but such a schema ignores the fact that the periphery was critical for Westerners developing science. The focus of the current study will be the time that two scientists, Charles Darwin and Louis Agassiz, spent in Brazil during the nineteenth century and how their interactions with local people, places, and ideas influenced their scientific thinking. Despite many similarities (both Darwin and Agassiz began their careers in geology before switching their focus to natural history and biology) and a professional and social relationship, Darwin and Agassiz disagreed about the key issue of their careers: natural selection and evolution. Darwin became the most prominent supporter of natural selection, and today his name graces the theory of Darwinism. Agassiz argued against natural selection until his death, asserting that a divine plan created species and organisms. [From the Introduction]
Thesis; [FULL-TEXT RESTRICTED TO WASHINGTON AND LEE UNIVERSITY LOGIN]Daniel David Van Denburgh is a member of the Class of 2011 of Washington and Lee University.
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