Nearly everyone is familiar with Darwin’s famous theory of natural selection detailed in his 1859 masterpiece, “On the Origin of Species.” Perhaps not so commonly known is his theory on the universality of race, presented in the 1872 publication of “The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals.”
In “Expression,” notes Darwinian scholar Gregory Radick, the author showed that humans of every race, throughout the globe, express their emotions identically. For instance, we all cry when we’re sad and smile when we’re happy. Darwin claimed that this identity amounted to a “new argument” for all the races descending from a single, common ancestral stock.
In his talk at 4 pm Monday November 7, “How and Why Darwin Got Emotional About Race,” Radick will track the origins of Darwin’s research that led to this conclusion and offer a better understanding of how and why he first began to collect evidence on emotional expression across the human races. It can also help us see how, exactly, Darwin’s scientific work reflected his lifelong hatred of slavery.
Radick holds the positions of professor of history and philosophy of science, and director of the Humanities Research Institute at the University of Leeds. He is the outgoing president of the British Society for the History of Science.
In addition to his study of Darwin, Radick is known for his work on the evolution of primate language, explained in the seminal publication, “The Simian Tongue: The Long Debate about Animal Language.”
Radick actively promotes history of science literacy. He has appeared on the PBS/National Geographic show “Genius” with Stephen Hawking, and on the BBC Radio 4 broadcast of “In Our Time.” His essays have appeared in the Times Literary Supplement.
This is the annual Thomas Hall Lecture and the final program for the fall Assembly Series.