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Thesis title: ‘The Word of Science’: The Popularization of Darwinism in Romania, 1860–1918
Start year: 2015
The main objective of this study is to place Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory within Romanian cultural context and trace its consequences throughout the public sphere. In doing so, the history of Romanian science popularization is of crucial importance, as it gives not only a picture of the interconnectedness between the political and scientific construction of knowledge but also a glimpse of the cultural hegemony of certain scientists and intellectuals on public opinions.
My research will focus on both the written and spoken word of the leading voices of Romanian nineteenth-century naturalists. Special attention will be given to science popularization journals, periodicals, brochures and various public conferences which addressed the evolutionary theory in accordance with their readership and audience’s social status. However, a closer look on science popularization discourse will reveal the appearance of popular science which stood as a weapon of individual social and political liberation.
The structure of my thesis will involve also an important comparative approach, examining both religious and secular currents of thought. In particular, it will try to demonstrate that Darwinism not only impacted conceptions of the relationship between humankind and divinity but also served as an ideological prop for different political and racial ideologies. In this way, by tracing how the zeitgeist of the “survival of the fittest” played out in the context of the nineteenth century Romania, the project will provide an original contribution to the field of Eastern European history of sciences well as, more broadly, to the history of the humanities and social history of scientific ideas.
Darwinism, History of Science, Romanian History, Popularization of Science, Knowledge Transfer, Social History of Ideas, Social Darwinism
History of Science, History of Modern Romania, Science Popularization, Social History of Science, Intellectual History, History of East-Central Europe, Book History, Race Theories, Eugenics