For readers of the book I posted about this morning (Trying Biology), this one from a few years back might be of interest.
Constance Areson Clark, God – or Gorilla: Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008), 312 pp.
As scholars debate the most appropriate way to teach evolutionary theory, Constance Areson Clark provides an intriguing reflection on similar debates in the not-too-distant past. Set against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, God—or Gorilla explores the efforts of biologists to explain evolution to a confused and conflicted public during the 1920s.
Focusing on the use of images and popularization, Clark shows how scientists and anti-evolutionists deployed schematics, cartoons, photographs, sculptures, and paintings to win the battle for public acceptance. She uses representative illustrations and popular media accounts of the struggle to reveal how concepts of evolutionary theory changed as they were presented to, and absorbed into, popular culture.
Engagingly written and deftly argued, God—or Gorilla offers original insights into the role of images in communicating—and miscommunicating—scientific ideas to the lay public.
A review by Marcel Chotkowski LaFollette is on the website of the National Center for Science Education.