Tag Archives: Feminism

‘The Evolution of Woman’ versus ‘The Descent of Man’

Women have interpreted and applied evolutionary theory in arguments about women’s nature for over a century. Eliza Burt Gamble (1841-1920) was a pioneer in this endeavor. Gamble was an advocate of the Woman Movement, a mother, a writer, and a … Continue reading

Harvard Project #2: “Man has Ultimately Become Superior to Woman” – or has he?

Following the success of last year’s collaboration, the Darwin and Gender project is delighted to team up again with students at the Department of the History of Science, Harvard University.   Students of Prof. Sarah Richardson’s Sex, Gender and Evolution course have used … Continue reading

Harvard Project #1: The Amazing Dar-Man

Following the success of last year’s collaboration, the Darwin and Gender project is delighted to team up again with students at the Department of the History of Science, Harvard University.   Students of Prof. Sarah Richardson’s Sex, Gender and Evolution course have used … Continue reading

Lady Florence Dixie: a woman who had it all?

On October 29th 1880, Lady Florence Dixie wrote a letter to Charles Darwin from her home in the Scottish Borders; “Whilst reading the other day your very interesting account of A Naturalist’s Voyage round the world,” she said, “I came across a … Continue reading

Darwin and Feminism

As previous posts have shown, Darwinian evolution acted in some ways to shore-up established Victorian ideas about intellectual, breadwinning masculinity and reproductive, maternal femininity. In identifying patriarchal gender order in the natural world, Darwin might be charged with putting the ‘gender … Continue reading

“One of the cleverest and oddest women in Europe”

Getting Origin translated into French was harder than Darwin had expected.  The first translator he approached, Madame Belloc, turned him down on the grounds that the content was ‘too scientific‘, and then in 1860 the French political exile  Pierre Talandier rescinded his … Continue reading

Darwin, Becker & Sexual Equality

Charles Darwin is not well known as a promoter of women’s rights. Indeed, much of his work explicitly opposed the arguments for sexual equality put forward by first wave feminists of the nineteenth century. In The Descent of Man, for example, Darwin makes … Continue reading