10 June, 2020, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Insect Case – or, Life Lessons from Insects for Economics, Empire and Evolution

Matt Holmes & Alex Aylward


All Welcome

During the late 19th and early 20th century, a number of new scientific disciplines sought to control nature for the economic benefit of the British Empire. Among these were economic entomology and economic ornithology. This lecture explores how both disciplines sought to control insect pests for the benefit of human health and agriculture: one through improved knowledge of insect behaviour and the other through the use of birds as a form of biological control. How was the rapid rise of these disciplines shaped by the demands of empire, and why was there an equally rapid decline? 2oth-century biology was profoundly influenced by a powerful concoction of political forces and imperial ambition. Alongside empire, economic considerations were more than mere motivations for the application of biological knowledge; they provided important conceptual resources.

Click here to watch Matt Holmes & Alex Aylward and explore these questions

Then, if that fires your imagination and curiousity, why not join the online discussion group at 4pm Wed 10th June. For details of how to access the discussion group, please click here.

This lecture is the 18th in a series of 20 as part of a free online course offering an introduction to the History of Science by the Centre for History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Leeds.