History of Science Colloquium – Melissa Charenko

“Environmental Change through Deep Time.”

Melissa Charenko
UW-Madison, History Graduate Student

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Refreshments start at 3:45
Colloquium begins at 4:00 PM

Memorial Library Special Collections
728 State St, Madison, WI

As ecology emerged as a scientific discipline in the early twentieth century, a number of influential ecologists argued that the basic function of science, and ecology in particular, was “to give perspective to the human adventure and from that perspective to provide direction for the long future.” This vision of ecology as a predictive science is at first surprising. Ecology is usually understood as a descriptive science, interested in characterizing change and uniformity, instability and equilibrium, as well as competition and cooperation in plant and animal communities. Yet, at its root, ecologists promoted ecology as prophecy. My paper reflects on the claims ecologists were making about ecology as a prophetic discipline by focusing on the ways they connected pronouncements about the future with environmental change through deep time.

Future History of Science Colloquium

  • April 5 (Thursday): Frederick Davis, Purdue University.”The Making of Silent Spring: Rachel Carson’s Sources to Ecology and Environmental Health.”

All Colloquium are held in Memorial Library Special Collections. Refreshments start at 3:45. Colloquium begins at 4:00 PM.