Essay Collection: Darwin in American Textual Studies

full name / name of organization: 
Lydia Fisher and Tina Gianquitto

Darwin in American Textual Studies
We are seeking submissions for an interdisciplinary textual studies essay collection that explores Darwinism in the American scene. Essays will examine the ways in which Darwinian language and theories have made their way into American literary and cultural texts, initially providing writers with a new vocabulary to describe human affairs and interactions with other living organisms, and continuing to shape the discourse and debates of today. We expect to include articles that address texts written from the publication of _On the Origin of Species_ (1859) through the present day. Texts examined may include fiction, nonfiction, popular science, film, documentary/television series, visual art, performance art, personal correspondence, etc. Comparative studies that treat texts of a single writer before and after publication of _On the Origin_ are welcome. We are also very interested in textual readings that engage with Darwin's works other than _On the Origin_ and _Descent of Man_, such as _The Expression of the Emotions in Man and the Animals_, the barnacle and worm studies, and the plant researches. Essays that examine the distinctive qualities of America's textual engagement with Darwin are also of particular interest.

Submissions should explore the diverse issues that arose as a result of Darwin's exploration into the mechanisms of evolution: How, for instance, did Darwin's vision of natural and/or sexual selection shape late-century cultural productions? What role did the Darwinian view of evolutionary kinship play in late century benevolence literature? How did his work on animal behavior and communication in _The Expression of the Emotions in Man and the Animals_ affect the representation of animal consciousness and animal rights?

Other topics might include, but are not limited to:
-Evolution and race/gender/class/nation
-Social Darwinism
-Darwin and feminism
-Evolutionary psychology
-Darwin and pragmatism
-Darwin and modernism; Darwin and postmodernism
-Sexual selection and the representation of sex and gender
-Intelligent design and Creation science
-Conceptions of Darwin's work in contemporary popular and/or educational texts

We imagine the collection as useful not only for scholars of American literature and culture, but also offering resources for advanced undergraduate science and history of science courses that might incorporate textual studies work.

Please send a 500-word abstract or completed essay to both Tina Gianquitto
( and Lydia Fisher ( by January 5. Inquires welcome.

Submissions should contain the author's name and contact information (e-mail, postal address, phone, and fax numbers), and the working title of the proposed submission. Submitted manuscripts should be between 20-25 pages and formatted in MLA style.