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God—or Gorilla

Images of Evolution in the Jazz Age

Constance Areson Clark

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As scholars debate the most appropriate way to teach evolutionary theory, Constance Areson Clark provides an intriguing reflection on similar debates in the not-too-distant past. Set against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, God—or Gorilla explores the efforts of biologists to explain evolution to a confused and conflicted public during the 1920s.

Focusing on the use of images and popularization, Clark shows how scientists and anti-evolutionists deployed schematics, cartoons, photographs, sculptures, and paintings to win the battle for public acceptance. She uses representative illustrations and…

As scholars debate the most appropriate way to teach evolutionary theory, Constance Areson Clark provides an intriguing reflection on similar debates in the not-too-distant past. Set against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, God—or Gorilla explores the efforts of biologists to explain evolution to a confused and conflicted public during the 1920s.

Focusing on the use of images and popularization, Clark shows how scientists and anti-evolutionists deployed schematics, cartoons, photographs, sculptures, and paintings to win the battle for public acceptance. She uses representative illustrations and popular media accounts of the struggle to reveal how concepts of evolutionary theory changed as they were presented to, and absorbed into, popular culture.

Engagingly written and deftly argued, God—or Gorilla offers original insights into the role of images in communicating—and miscommunicating—scientific ideas to the lay public.

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God—or Gorilla

Constance Areson Clark

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Reviews

Reviews

This highly readable book is valuable as it stands. It is also timely. The 1920s shaped pictures of evolution, and of evolutionary debate, that are still in our heads. As biologists work with illustrators to communicate science, and creationists attack textbook icons, it is helpful to reflect on the struggles of that decisive decade.

Engagingly written, well illustrated, and refreshingly free of the theory-driven jargon that often diverts attention from the task at hand, God—or Gorilla is a valuable contribution to our understanding of the Scopes trial, the continuing controversy over the teaching of evolution, and the role of expertise in American society.

A shining example of interdisciplinary American Studies at its very best.

Clark's investigation of the images of evolution in the 1920s is a wonderful window into the place of science in the United States and how the cultural concerns of an era can shape scientific activity.

Perceptive and enjoyable book.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
312
ISBN
9781421407760
Illustration Description
4 halftones, 28 line drawings
Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
1. The Caveman and the Strenuous Life
2. The Museum in the Modern Babylon
3. Nineteen Twenty-two or Thereabouts
4. Saving the Phenomena
5. Unlikely Infidels
6. Stooping to Conquer

Preface
Acknowledgments
1. The Caveman and the Strenuous Life
2. The Museum in the Modern Babylon
3. Nineteen Twenty-two or Thereabouts
4. Saving the Phenomena
5. Unlikely Infidels
6. Stooping to Conquer, and a Hall Full of Elephants
7. The Pictures in Our Heads
8. Scientists and the Monkey Trial
9. Redeeming the Caveman, and the Irreverent Funny Pages
Conclusion
Notes
Index

Author Bio
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