Day 3 of our class will be entirely discussion based. In an attempt to recreate the coffee houses of the eighteenth century, I will provide coffee for the class, and we will discuss both our homework readings and some in-class readings.
Building on our homework reading by Charlotte Sleigh, students will discuss in groups the connections between science and literature. Is C.P. Snow’s “two cultures” still a useful construct? If science and literature are both shaped by the culture in which they are constructed, shouldn’t there be some interplay between the two? What examples can we think of where science has shaped a literary plot? What impact did writers like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells have on the following generations of scientists? Can literature meaningfully alter our perspectives on certain scientific and ethical issues?
Our in-class readings will focus on eighteenth-century understandings of women’s nature and whether or not women needed equal education as men. We will analyze excerpts from Astell, Rousseu, Condorcet, Jaucuort, and Wollstonecraft for insight on Enlightenment ideas on science, gender and education.
- To do well on your group papers, you will need good teamwork and equal participation from all the group members. Please read the linked 3 page paper, “Coping with Hitchhikers and Couch Potatoes on Teams.” In the comments below (or in an email to me if you’d prefer more privacy), write a paragraph about an experience you’ve had in a previous class with a hitchhiker or couch potato. What happened, how did you handle it, and what would you change if it happened again?
- The longer reading is an overview of science in the coffee house. Just as coffee and comfy chairs bolstered our conversation today, scientists have long met in coffee houses to discuss their work, promote their careers, and gossip. The Temple Coffee-House Club is one of the best known groups who met at coffee houses. Here is a link for for Margaret Riley’s 2006 article over this group. Please read this and bring it with you to class tomorrow for discussion.