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HPSC2013 Evolution in Science and Culture

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Module description

A historical survey of evolutionary thinking from the Enlightenment to the present. Content includes the history of scientific ideas and the context for those ideas. It also considers the influence of evolutionary ideas, especially Darwinism, on society and vice versa.

Assessment

  • 50% essay (2500 words)
  • 50% examination in Term 3

Timetable 2017-18

  • Term 2
  • view the timetable online (link)

Syllabus

  • 2015-2016 syllabus is here (link). This was the most recent offer of the module.
  • 2017-18 syllabus in development

Module tutor

  • Professor Joe Cain

Aims

As an intermediate module, HPSC2013 pursues several kinds of goals. To develop knowledge of content in the history and context of evolutionary studies, this module surveys major themes, actors, and conceptual shifts – in short, what are the big ideas associated with evolution and Darwinism? It seeks to integrate broad historical themes and contexts into this survey.

Primary sources are the foundation of required readings for this module so students may develop skills working with original source materials: their reading, weighting, and critical assessment. To further develop skills in textual analysis and critical assessment, attention will be paid to close reading of secondary materials from different types of sources. This module also asks critical questions about historiography.

The teaching method for this module during contact hours will be lectures and in-class discussions. A schedule of independent reading and research also is set. Module assessment is integrated into this programme.

Objectives

By the end of this module students should be able to:

  • demonstrate content knowledge for the module's domain and historiographical insight into relevant scholarly literature
  • demonstrate the ability to critically interpret both primary and secondary sources
  • demonstrate skill in historical reasoning and comparative analysis
  • approach new material in this module's domain from a historical perspective and with a critical historian's eye
  • demonstrate an appreciation for principles of historical contingency, myth making, and icon construction

Module plan

Student responsibilities in this module will revolve around three components: lectures, a project, and an examination.

lecture

A lecture schedule is set. Lectures are related to specific required reading. Lectures critically survey key content and historiography relevant to each themes. This also includes discussions of set readings. Students are encouraged to come to lecture having read and reflected on readings set for the lecture. Specific discussions will be announced in advance. Additional readings and Web sites are suggested for continued investigation of module topics.

essay

One essay is set for HPSC2013, not to exceed 2,500 words. This essay contributes 50% of the final module mark. See separate guidance for expectations.

examination

A 3-hour closed-book examination will take place during Term 3 and contributes 50% of the final module mark.

This examination will place considerable emphasis on the required readings for the module and on themes developed in lecture. Students should remind themselves of module expectations as they revise. All required readings and lecture materials are fair game for examination.

The examination's format and domain will be discussed in lecture and in an optional revision session prior to the examination. At the end of Term 2, I will publish a “mock examination” for this module. Past exam scripts are available, too. Because this module has been renumbered, search for exams under the module code “HPSC3027”.