Alfred Russel Wallace was a great natural historian and a leading figure in the debates that swirled around the questions of evolution and the origins of humans in the nineteenth century. He and Charles Darwin are often paired as co-discoverers of evolution by natural selection. But Wallace’s interests were very wide ranging. One hundred years after his death, we will remember in this lecture series Wallace the natural historian and evolutionist, but we will also explore lesser known aspects of Wallace’s life, including Wallace’s involvement with spiritualism, his political sympathies, and even Wallace the protagonist in controversies around the existence of extra-terrestrial life. These multiple idiosyncracies are usually described as paradoxical departures from, even diminishments of, Wallace’s scientific competence. We find in them a different sort of paradox. They simultaneously attest to Wallace’s profound intellectual originality and independence while also being inextricable from the culturally and historically specific milieu of Victorian science. Each of the talks in the series will explore a different aspect of this paradox and the interesting problems it poses for the study of science.


The time travelers: Alfred Russel Wallace and Peter Kropotkin
Wednesday October 2nd 3:30pm Tory 2-58
Kathleen Lowrey - Associate Professor Anthropology University of Alberta


Alfred Russel Wallace, Mars, Extra-Terrestrials and the Nature of the Universe
Wednesday, October 9th 3:30pm Tory 2-58
Robert Smith, Professor, History and Classics University of Alberta


Alfred Russel Wallace, Collector
Wednesday, October 16th 3:30pm Tory 2-58
Andrew Berry, Lecturer on Organismic and Evolutionary Biology Harvard University


Wallace on Science and the Problems of Progress
Wednesday, October 23rd 3:30pm Tory 2-58
Martin Fichman, Professor, Department of Humanities York University


Capstone Address - Other Worlds: Alfred Russel Wallace and the Cross-Cultures of Spiritualism
Wednesday, October 30th 3:30pm Tory 2-58
Christine Ferguson, Senior Lecturer, English Literature University of Glasgow