Courses

From the Death of Nature to the Science of Life, From the Seventeenth Century to the Twenty First

Three Tuesdays, October 18, 25, and November 1 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. | Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard at Greenbriar Adult Forum Room, downstairs


John H. Zammito will analyze recent developments in understanding man's relationship to science and nature. He is the John Antony Weir Professor of History, professor of German and Slavic studies, and chairman of the German department at Rice University, where he teaches European intellectual history.

OCTOBER 18: THE "DEATH OF NATURE" IN THE SCIENTIFIC REVOLUTION
Zammito will examine what happened to the Western idea of nature during the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century by analyzing Carolyn Merchant's 1980 book, The Death of Nature. Merchant combined history of science with feminism to produce a scathing indictment of the violence of science, which stripped spiritual integrity from natural objects and thereby rendered nature "dead" and available to humans for use and abuse.

To read an interview with Carolyn Merchant, please click here.

OCTOBER 25: FROM ENLIGHTENMENT VITALISM TO ROMANTIC NATURPHILOSOPHIE
The late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries were swept by a powerful current of scientific and philosophical innovation. Zammito will describe the idea that nature was "alive" with forces (electricity, magnetism, heat, chemical bonding, and, above all, organic life). This Romantic philosophy of nature has not generally been taken seriously as science (or philosophy). Zammito will reconsider the validity of this view.

NOVEMBER 1: NATURA NATURANS FOR THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY
Our contemporary world is in the throes of an upheaval in the life sciences, and we are faced with unprecedented challenges to determine what it means to be human and what we should permit ourselves to do to nature and ourselves. Zammito will discuss whether ideas from history and philosophy hold clues for orienting ourselves as humans in our "brave new world" of biotechnology.

 

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Registration for fall 2018 is ongoing. You may register online, by mail, or by phone with a credit card. 

 

If you are interested in traveling with the Houston Seminar to Natchez October 26-29, 2019 you may access the itinerary, trip cost, and registration documents here.
 

If you are interested in traveling to Virginia in the spring of 2019, please call the registrar at 713.666.9000 to place your name on a list. Please see Terms and Conditions for "travel list" policy. 

 

Please note a date in the Mid-term Elections course has changed from that published in the brochure. The course will meet the first two Mondays, October 29 and November 5 as planned, but will meet Tuesday, November 13 instead of Monday, November 12. 

 

Also note Art Underground: Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern on Wednesday, November 14 is FULLY SUBSCRIBED. A second session has been added and will meet Monday, November 12 from 2:00-3:30 P.M. Registrations are being accepted for November 12. You may register online, or by phone.

 

AND WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE A FALL POP-UP COURSE!
Who Gets to Vote: Challenges for the 2020 Elections?
Speaker: Dale Ho, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Voter Rights Project
Monday, November 19, 6:30-8:00 P.M.
Location to be announced

 

Register today!

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For additional information about any of our courses, to register offline, or to add your name to our mailing and/or email lists, please contact our adminstrator at registrar.houstonseminar.org  or phone 713.666.9000.