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SCI 56 — The Evolution of Evolution

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Sep 26—Dec 5
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Oct 9
Units: 2
Tuition: $480
Instructor(s): Forrest Hartman
Status: Closed
Please Note: No class on November 21
7:00—8:50 pm
Sep 26—Dec 5
10 weeks
Drop By
Oct 9
2 Units
Forrest Hartman
Please Note: No class on November 21
Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection was the beginning of a radically new approach to understanding the source of the diversity of life on earth. How plants and animals have come to be so exquisitely adapted to their respective environments could be explained for the first time by a natural principle.

Darwin’s theory, first published in On the Origin of Species in 1859, has itself undergone its own evolution, as it responded to new scientific challenges. This course will trace the path Darwin’s theory of evolution has taken from the mid-19th century until today. It began in the 19th century as a groundbreaking theory. Then, in the 20th century, it underwent a synthesis with genetics (the neo-Darwinism of Theodosius Dobzhansky). More recently, it has entered the realm of epigenetics and evolutionary development, which has diminished the importance of natural selection as the driving force behind evolution.

By the end of the course, students will have gained a deeper insight into evolution and how, from its humble beginnings, it has evolved into a complex theory that continues to be tested in every field of biology. Primary texts, in addition to Darwin’s Origin, will be The Evolution of Darwinism by Timothy Shanahan and Evolution: The History of an Idea by Peter Bowler.

Forrest Hartman, Senior Adjunct Professor in Critical Studies, California College of the Arts

Forrest Hartman’s research interests are based in the history of ideas and cultural studies, especially the relationship between the sciences and the humanities. He received a PhD in rhetoric/philosophy from UC Berkeley and a PhD in evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Peter J Bowlder, Evolution: The History of an Idea, 25th Anniversary Edition (ISBN 978-0520261280)
(Required) Timothy Shanahan, The Evolution of Darwinism: Selection, Adaptation and Progress in Evolutionary Biology (ISBN 978-0521541985)
(Required) Charles Darwin, Origin of Species, 150th Anniversary Edition (ISBN 978-0451529060)
(Required) Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (ISBN 978-0451529060)
(Recommended) Richard C. Francis, Epigenetics: How Environment Shapes Our Genes (ISBN 978-0393342284)
(Recommended) Peter Ward, Lamarck's Revenge (ISBN 978-1632866158)