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Historical context of Darwin's work in spotlight

Sept. 30, 2009

KALAMAZOO--A noted Boston historian will make two presentations at Western Michigan University next week, one on the historical reaction to Darwin's work and another on scientific discovery during medieval times.

Dr. Thomas Glick, professor of history and director of the Center for Medieval History at Boston University, will speak from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 6, on "The Early Reception of the Origin of Species in England and the United States, November 1859 to February 1860." Glick also will speak from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 7, on "Medieval Scientific Translation Movements: A Comparative Perspective." Both lectures are in the Fetzer Center's Putney Auditorium and are free and open to the public.

Glick is a medieval historian and an authority on the reception of the work of Darwin and Darwinism. He is the author of "Irrigation and Society in Medieval Valencia," "Islamic and Christian Spain in the Early Middle Ages" and "From Muslim Fortress to Christian Castle." His principal interest is in the transfer of ideas, institutions and techniques from the Islamic to the Christian world in the Middle Ages.

Glick earned his bachelor's degree from Harvard University in 1960, his master's degree from Columbia University in 1963 and doctoral degree from Harvard University in 1968. He is considered to be the foremost American authority on science and technology in medieval Spain, and his published work extends beyond Darwin to the reception of Einstein's relativity, science in Latin America and geography and urban planning.

His visit to WMU is through the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program and co-sponsored by the Graduate College and the departments of biology, geography, Spanish, English, history, foreign languages and the Medieval Institute.

The WMU Visiting Scholars and Artists Program was established in 1960 to contribute to the intellectual life of WMU and the community by providing funds for academic units to bring distinguished scholars and artists to campus. In addition to meeting with faculty and students, these scholars address the community at large. Since its inception, it has supported more than 600 visits by scholars and artists representing more than 60 academic disciplines.

The chair of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Elke Schoffers, associate professor of chemistry. She can be reached at elke.schoffer@wmich.edu or (269) 387-2265.

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Media contact: Mark Schwerin, (269) 387-8400, mark.schwerin@wmich.edu

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