DARWINISM IN BIOPOLITICS

Susan Tenenbaum, 1 June 1998
Political Science



[Susan Tenenbaum]

My participation in the Darwin Seminar made me aware of the biological dimensions of the field of biopolitics. It sensitized me to the role of Darwinian thinking in the realm of political theory. I have used this background to good advantage in my courses. The concepts of social Darwinism and the theories of Herbert Spencer are especially useful in discussion of the history of political economy in America, 19th C capitalism, welfare, immigration laws, and anti-trust policies. The controversial economic theories of Gary S. Becker (Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis With Special Reference to Education and Accounting for Tastes) are based on the contemporary biological interpretation of Darwinian evolution.

I have taught two interdisciplinary Feit Seminars on aspects of Darwin and Darwinism in society. The first, with Professors Gary Hentzi (English Department) and John Wahlert (Natural Sciences), was entitled, "Darwin and Darwinism: Scientific Theory and Social Construction," and the second, with Prof. Mary Jean Holland (Natural Sciences), "Darwinism: Its Uses and Abuses." Feit Seminars provide a rare opportunity to teaching a small group of students at Baruch College; they are an intellectual oasis for stimulating interchanges.

Link to my web page in the Political Science Department


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Last updated 1 June 1998 (ST)