The exhibition "A Dialogue on Our Origins" will be open to the public on November 11th at 10:30 am. Dartmouth students will be available to answer questions about the exhibit and light refreshments will be served.
“I look at the natural geological record, as a history of the world imperfectly kept, and written in a changing dialect; of this history we possess the last volume alone...Of this volume, only here and there a short chapter has been preserved; and of each page, only here and there a few lines.”
– Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (1859)
What if, like Darwin in the quotation above, we imagine science, religion, and the arts as participants in a mutual conversation? What happens when we think of the Bible and scientific texts as forms of storytelling?
What questions open up when we read scientific texts, the Bible, and literature alongside each other? How do these different systems of belief shape how people understand the world and their place in it?
This exhibition was designed and organized by students in a class taught by Professor Christie Harner in the Department of English and Creative Writing at Dartmouth College. The class, titled “God, Darwin, & the Literary Imagination,” focuses on five themes that emerged from debates about evolution and religion in nineteenth-century British literature and culture: Creation and Design, Selection and Extinction, Heredity and Development, Time and Progress, and Human/Animal. Students drew inspiration from the course material to reinterpret existing histories and spark new dialogues on evolutionary thought: “our origins.” The materials in this exhibition cover the nineteenth century up to the present moment, but they all ask you to consider how science, religion, and culture are co-producers and co-participants in a shared discussion. We ask you not to “choose sides” but to think about the forces that shape ongoing dialogue – science, religion, and cultural products, from literary texts to museum exhibitions like this one.