T4209 DISCOVERING THE ORIGINS OF EVOLUTIONARY THOUGHT: CHARLES DARWIN, ECUADOR, AND THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS
January 4-27, 2014
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Charles Darwin was one of the most revolutionary thinkers of his time, and his work forever changed the way we think about the world. This course aims to familiarize students with Darwin and his work by examining his thought processes, reading what he read, visiting sites which were instrumental in the formulation of his theory, and gaining hands-on experience with the theory and practice of evolutionary biology and natural history. We begin the course in Quito, where we will explore the rich cultural, artistic, political and religious history of this area through walking tours of the city, visits to religious sites, and museums. We will also read about and discuss pre-Darwinian natural philosophical thought and world views – including selections from William Paley, Thomas Malthus, and other scholars whose work Darwin read. In addition, we will examine scientific thought and methodology, specifically addressing the nature of scientific reasoning and its historical development from natural philosophy.
Upon leaving Quito, we will visit Inti Nan (the equator museum), the Mindo Nambillo Cloud Forest, the Cotopaxi Volcano (a young active volcano) and surrounding glaciers, and the Amazon basin. We then travel to Guayaquil, for departure to the Galapagos Islands, where we will study how the islands played a part in Darwin’s ideas, and will also learn about current work there which adds to our understanding of evolutionary processes. Throughout the course, we will study not only the scientific evidence that Darwin so meticulously provided to support his theory of evolution by natural selection, but will also look at modern biological techniques and discoveries that support his work. In this process, students will gain hands-on experience in the field, learning for themselves the power of the scientific method.
*Each home institution may have supplementary fees in addition to the price listed.
Comprehensive Fee Includes: Transportation and course arrangements as indicated, hotel accommodations in twin and triple rooms, home stays, continental breakfast daily, twelve lunches, fifteen dinners. (subject to change)
The course does not have any academic prerequisites.
Weiner, Jonathan. 1994. The Beak of the Finch. Alfred A. Knopf, NY. [paperback]
Kardong, Kenneth. 2008. An Introduction to Biological Evolution, 2nd edition. McGraw-Hill, Boston. [paperback]
Coursepack of readings and laboratory/field exercises
20% Journal entries
20% Field Notebook
20% Field Projects
20% Final Synthesis Paper
20% Class Participation
Cynthia Norton, Ph.D., St. Catherine University (651) 690-6631
Amy Hilden, Ph.D., St. Catherine University (651) 690-8826
Description of Faculty Directors
Dr. Norton is a Professor of Biology and Women’s Studies at St. Catherine University. She received her Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Iowa in 1985. Although a biologist by training, she has taught many interdisciplinary courses including Foundations of Women’s Studies, a course on courtship in humans and other animals, and The Modernist Moment in both 2006, 2008 and 2011. Dr. Hilden traveled to Ecuador and Galapagos in 2009 on a travel grant to plan the 2010 course, and co-led the course in 2010 and 2012.
Dr. Hilden is a Professor of Philosophy and Women’s Studies at St. Catherine University. She has taught the upper division history of philosophy course, Early Modern Philosophy (1600-1800), covering rationalism and empiricism, the Age of Reason/Enlightenment, and the rise of the modern scientific method. Dr. Hilden traveled to Ecuador and Galapagos in 2009 on a travel grant to plan the 2010 course, and co-led the course in 2010 and 2012.
Final Application Deadline: October 1, 2013
For more information on course content, contact Prof. Cynthia Norton
On application procedures or logistical information, contact your study abroad office.