Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Leeds Centre for Victorian Studies Annual Public Lecture for 2017-18

'The Public Sphere After Darwin: Popular Science Periodicals and the New Space for Debate' 

Professor Bernard Lightman (York University, Canada)
LCVS Visiting Professor, 2017-2018

Thursday 22 February in AG32/33 (Conference Suite)
Leeds Trinity University at 6pm (preceded by a wine reception from 5.30pm)

Macmillan's Magazine was one of several new journals that, beginning in the 1860s, altered the dynamics of the public space in Britain for debating the issue of the relationship between science and religion. These journals were founded just as the evolution issue sparked discussions about this relationship. In effect, journals such as Macmillan's Magazine sought to expand the bounds of permissibility through the creation of new formats that encouraged the toleration of unorthodox views. They provided an outlet for scientific naturalists, such as T. H. Huxley, who sought to establish themselves as respectable, cultural authorities while challenging the conventions of polite debate. The period after the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species was also characterized by the founding of new popular science journals, such as Recreative Science (founded 1859), Quarterly Journal of Science (1864), Science Gossip (1865), Scientific Opinion (1868), and Nature (1869). The central question of this lecture is: how did popular science journals treat the topic of the relationship between science and religion from the 1860s to the 1880s in light of the creation of new spaces for debate in the general periodical press?


Bernard Lightman is Professor of Humanities at York University, and will become President of the History of Science Society starting in January 2018. Lightman's research interests include nineteenth century popular science and Victorian scientific naturalism. Among his most recent publications are the edited and co-edited collections Global Spencerism, A Companion to the History of Science, and Science Museums in Transition. He is currently working on a biography of John Tyndall and is one of the editors of the John Tyndall Correspondence Project, an international collaborative effort to obtain, digitalize, transcribe, and publish all surviving letters to and from Tyndall.


The joint LCVS and University of Leeds Victorian Research Seminar programme – of which the public lecture is the highlight - showcases the research work of Victorianists across the two institutions and beyond. All are warmly welcomed to this event. Please email us to confirm attendance at the public lecture, so we can ensure adequate catering for the occasion.

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