First, if you are in Chicago, go see Darwin at the Field Museum!!! WGN Radio
A critique of American and British natural history and science museums, Siamang at eBay athesist states that the new Creation Museum is the best museum in offering education with its displays. A 2005 article related to this post discusses the inability to find corporate sponsership for the Darwin Exhibit.
Mark Pagel‘s review (access required) of David Sloan Wilson‘s Evolution for Everyone: How Darwin’s Theory Can Change the Way We Think About Our Lives for Nature.
A recent geology doctorate (and creationist) doesn’t believe his own work.
An abstract of a paper, “Darwin and the imperial archive” by Paul White, author of Thomas Huxley: Making the “Man of Science”, to be presented at the conference “Nature behind glass: historical and theoretical perspectives on natural science collections” in September:
‘The imperial archive’ is an expression used predominantly by literary scholars to describe a vision that emerged in the Victorian period of an empire ruled by knowledge rather than brute force. This view of knowledge as a form of governing power gained a new impetus from emerging disciplines of geography, biology, and anthropology. Networks of collectors and surveyors issuing from institutions like the British Museum, the Royal Geographical Society, and the India Office supplied civil bureaucracies with facts gathered at a distance, facts that were both discrete and comprehensive, cumulative and unifiable. Such an archive has been seen not as a facet of imperial control, however, but rather as a substitute for fragile territorial dominion: a “fantasy of knowledge collected and united in the service of state and empire” (Richards). Darwin’s evolutionary theory is regarded as crucial to this programme, providing a unifying framework in which information about peoples of the world could be placed, and a legitimation of European conquest. Historians of anthropology and post-colonial scholars have tended to agree about the complicity of Darwinian theory in the proliferation of racialist discourses that seem, in turn, to underpin imperial practices of collecting, ordering and display in the period, such as the census of British populations in the colonies launched in 1869 by the
Ethnological Society, that involved the mapping and measurement of native peoples for the purposes of racial taxonomy. In addressing this question of Darwin’s relation to imperial culture, I want to take a different approach. Rather than look primarily at Darwinian theory, or as Darwin scholars have often done, to look at his biography or publications, I want to examine instead his own imperial archive, to look at the practice of building such an archive, as it were, from the ground up, and in its migration from private collection to public display. Darwin’s
zoological and botanical collecting, pursued through a world-wide network of correspondents, is now well known. Still relatively unexplored however is his large and varied collection of materials on human evolution, in particular, on emotional expression, gathered through scientific questionnaires and photography. I will argue that there was a distinctive difference in the ways in which Darwin pursued knowledge of non-Europeans, as compared with the techniques by which other naturalists sought to generate a science of colonized peoples. This comparison of how the imperial archive was actually assembled will serve to highlight and critique some of the assumptions behind scholarship on imperial history and anthropology. If the ‘imperial archive’ appears detached from the application of force, it is because the colonial ‘context’ has been erased from the original material in its collation and transfer to print. In many cases, the emotions Darwin gathered from non-European peoples could only be generated in circumstances of imperial dominion, and in settings where British control was absolute. On the other hand, the movement of such materials from private to public knowledge was in itself highly fragile and contingent. Darwin’s collecting was informed by new technologies of
observation, measurement and display, whose implementation was far from straightforward or authoritative, and in the case of ethnographic photography, ultimately uncontrollable.
Some other posts/links I found interesting:
New Life for Systematics at Science Magazine
Endangered Species Protection Sought for Bigfoot at LiveScience
Rachel Carson’s centennial at WildBird on the Fly
Archaea of Yellowstone Park at Science Notes
Linnaeus Birthday Celebration and Carolus Linnaeus’ Floral Clocks at A Blog Around the Clock
Happy 300th Birthday, Carl. at The Beagle Project Blog
The 300th Birthday of the Man Who Organized All of Nature at Ontogeny
Born This Day: Carl Linnaeus at PALEOBLOG
Happy Linnaeus Day!! at The Panda’s Thumb
Carolus Linnaeus at The Red Notebook: a Darwinian weblog
Linnaeus at 300 and Linn(a)ean Quote of the Day at Stranger Fruit
Carolus Linnaeus (May 23, 1707-Jan 10, 1778)