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Evolution in Thought, Art, and Culture

Program(s): Pre College Connect

Evolution, as it is understood by biologists and other scientists, refers to the process of generational change in the inherited characteristics of life forms. But it is also a powerful idea with ongoing significance for debates about human nature and the human relationship to nonhuman life and technology. Since its development in the nineteenth century, the idea of evolution has motivated countless writers, scientists, philosophers, and artists to imagine and advocate for diverse visions of the future of human life on earth and beyond. In this class, we will consider a variety of engagements with evolutionary thought—ranging from the construction of political utopias to programs in genetic manipulation and biohacking to efforts at preserving the past and future of endangered species. In so doing, we will analyze the history of evolutionary speculation, consider the ethical values associated with the various scientific, social, and cultural projects it has inspired, and develop the critical skills needed to tackle questions raised by developments in science and technology.

The remote segment of this hybrid class will be devoted to our discussions of readings and films, as well as visits from guest experts. During our in-person week together, we will explore Chicago-area institutions that can enrich our understanding of evolution and the history of science and technology. These may include, for example, the Field Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Science and Technology, and the Museum of Surgical Science.

See sample syllabus here.

Remote or Residential

✓ Hybrid Course


Course Considerations

This course will be held remotely for the first two weeks of the session and will meet from 9:00am - 11:00am CST. During the last week of class, students will meet in-person from 9:00am - 3:00pm. 

Writing Intensive
Reading Intensive
Discussion Intensive

Course Overview

Start Date

July 15

End Date

August 01

Current Grade / Education Level

9th Grade
10th Grade
11th Grade


Pre-College Connect

Class Details

Course Code

SOSC 25131 94

Class Day(s)

Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri

Class Duration (CST)


11:00 A.M.


Session II

Course Length

3 weeks

Primary Instructor

Agnes Malinowska

Academic Interest

Humanities (e.g., arts, philosophy)
Examining Culture and Society
Biological Sciences
Human Body
Social Sciences (e.g., history, sociology)
Writing and Literature