Ecological Thought at the International Congress of Arts and Science, 1904
Ecological thought shows remarkable continuity since 1800. Personal connections provide the groundwork for this cohesion. The emergence of ecological thought involved individuals exchanging ideas through letters, publishing studies, and by participating in academic events. These links appear in sufficient numbers that it is clear ecology functioned as a vibrant network long before it was a viable scientific field. This dissertation examines ecological thought during the long nineteenth century, using the proceedings of the International Congress of Arts and Science, 1904 (ICAS) as an entry point. The ICAS was hosted during a universal fair that commemorated the Louisiana Purchase (1803). In light of the reflective atmosphere, participants were asked to comment on the development of their respective fields over the previous century and to explain to their audience how their fields related to contemporary science. This exercise provides historians with a unique primary source. The proceedings became, in effect, an accidental survey administered to leading scientists at the turn of the century concerning how academic science was practiced and who they considered to be the most important influences in their fields. Ecological thinking is evident in many of the life science presentations at the ICAS, and studying the proceedings constitutes an excellent opportunity to better understand and appreciate how ecological thinking became a force in modern Western society.
Ecology, Social history
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)