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ND to mark Darwin's birthday, anniversary of his book on theory of evolution

Author: Arts and Letters


The University of Notre Dame will recognize Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of his book “On the Origin of Species” with a series of events beginning Feb. 5 (Thursday).

Co-sponsored by the Colleges of Science and Arts and Letters, “Darwin at Notre Dame” is designed to promote discussion about the “father of evolutionary biology” and his book that introduced the theory of natural selection to explain evolution.

“That Notre Dame would celebrate and investigate Darwin’s accomplishments is especially appropriate given the long history of interaction between Catholicism and modern science, from the geneticist monk Gregor Mendel to scholars working at the Vatican observatory,” said John McGreevy, I.A. O’Shaughnessy Dean of Arts and Letters. “We look forward to a series of interdisciplinary conversations in laboratories, classrooms and performance spaces.”

Events include the following:

* Feb. 5 – The film “Inherit the Wind,” based on the 1925 trial of John Thomas Scopes, a science teacher accused of teaching evolution, will be screened at 6:30 and 9:30p.m. in the Browning Cinema of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Admission is $6 for the general public, $5 for faculty and staff and $3 for students.

* Feb. 6 to 8 – Actors Ed Asner and John Heard will headline the cast of L.A. Theatre Works’ presentation of “The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial,” a dramatic recreation of the Scopes trial. Additional information, including a complete schedule of performances is available at .

* Feb. 23 to 26 – Notre Dame’s Department of Film, Television, and Theatre (FTT) hosts the “International Playwrights’ Conference on Darwin and Theatre: Migration and Evolution.”

* Feb. 24 to March 1FTT will present “Guernica,” a play inspired by the 1997 sinking of an Albanian refugee ship off the Italian coast, which relates themes of human migration, adaptation and identity to evolution. A complete schedule of performances is available at .

* March 1 to 29 – “In the Wake of the Beagle: Darwin in Latin America 1831-1836” will be on exhibit at the Snite Museum of Art.

* April 3 and 4 – Students from the Glynn Family Honors Program will host a conference titled “Evolution of Age: Multidisciplinary Reflections on Darwin 150 Years Later.”

* May 28 to June 1 – The Department of Theology will host the annual meeting of the College Theology Society titled “God, Grace and Creation,” bringing some 350 theologians to Notre Dame.

* Nov. 1 to 3 – The international conference “Darwin in the 21st Century: Nature, Humanity and God” is co-hosted by Notre Dame’s Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values and the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Culture.

* Nov. 2 – Playwright, composer and performance artist Claudia Stevens will present “Blue Lias,” a biography of Victorian paleontologist Mary Anning, which explores the intersection of science, religion and artistic experience.

Additional information on “Darwin at Notre Dame” events and related courses is available on the Web at . Ticket information for DeBartolo Center events is available by calling 574-631-2800.

Contact: Marie Blakey, director of communications, College of Arts and Letters, 574-631-1405,

Originally published by Shannon Chapla at on January 30, 2009.