The Most Popular of Sciences: Natural History through the Centuries
November 25, 5:30 pm, by Denise Phillips, University of Tennessee, History Department
We hope that you’ll join us Tuesday, November 25, at 5:30 pm for a lecture by Dr. Denise Phillips of UT’s History Dept. on “The Most Popular of Sciences: Natural History through the Centuries.” (*Note that this lecture has been rescheduled from November 6 to its current November 25 date.)
In the world of contemporary science, natural history is generally seen as an old-fashioned pursuit of modest intellectual stature. Between 1500 and 1900, in contrast, natural history was the most fashionable and widely admired branch of the sciences. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, it had a strong following among Renaissance nobles, rulers and wealthy merchants. In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, it held a prominent place in the drawing rooms of Europe’s middle classes. This lecture will consider the reasons that people found natural history so interesting during these centuries, and also look at some of the legacies of natural history’s long period of cultural prominence.
Professor Phillips specializes in the cultural history of science in 18th- and 19th-century German-speaking Europe, and teaches courses on early modern German history, modern European intellectual and cultural history, and the history of science.