STS Colloquium: Phillip Thurtle, March 10

On Thursday, March 10 at 4pm in BuTo 1197, Phillip Thurtle, Associate Professor, Department of History and Comparative History of Ideas, University of Washington, Seattle. will be presenting “Losing My Wings: An Interactive Fable of Evolutionary and Developmental Biology.


Literature and evolutionary theory share an uneasy alliance. Some scholars have looked at evolutionary
theory as a form of narrative, while other scholars have appealed to evolutionary theory to understand the interactions of characters in novels. This presentation offers a third way of thinking about the relationship between literature and evolution: literature as an experiment in ontology. In this case, I will use cultural history, evolutionary and developmental biology, and science fiction to explore potentially winged but ultimately flightless ontologies in science and literature. What emerges is an evolutionary theory based on the selection of undifferentiated potentials, a genetic theory predicated on connectivity and change, and an affect informed by the coming into being of lives haunted by their inability to fly.