This lecture took place on 11 November 2003
Professor Gillian Feeley-Harnik, University of Michigan
Radcliffe-Brown proposed to make social anthropology into ‘a natural science of society’, a proposal that was controversial in his lifetime, and remains so now, especially in the study of kinship with which he is so closely associated. Anthropology originated in part to explain Darwin’s Descent of Man (1871) in social terms. The purpose of this lecture is to explore the popular science and culture of descent in Darwin’s time, focusing on his co-workers among the pigeon-breeders of London, in particular the silk-weavers of Spitalfields, and their concerns with the art of ‘propagating life’.