Biological Interest Group

Meeting time: Friday mornings 10:15-11:30 am Central time
Meeting place: online via Zoom. We are hoping to move to a hybrid format soon.

The biological interest group (BIG) reads and discusses works of mutual interest in the history and philosophy of biology. We select readings for a variety of reasons: to keep up on the most exciting developments in the field, to help participants scrutinize literature relevant to their research projects (faculty or graduate student research), to provide feedback on works in progress being written by BIG participants (graduate students, faculty, and Center visitors), to revisit classic articles in the literature, and sometimes just to have fun discussing a topic related to biology. For more information, please contact Alan Love (

Our meetings are informal and some participants need to arrive late or leave early because of scheduling conflicts. All faculty from the University of Minnesota and area colleges and universities and graduate students are welcome to attend whenever they would like (without invitation) and without giving advanced notice. Undergraduates are included by invitation. (If you know of an undergraduate who is well-suited and possibly interested, please contact Alan Love at so an invitation can be extended.)

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Spring 2022

Please join our mailing list for the zoom invitation or email

  • January 21: Willoughby, E.A., A. Giannelis, S. Ludeke, R. Klemmensen, A.S. Nørgaard, W.G. Iacono, J.J. Lee, and M. McGue. 2021. Parent contributions to the development of political attitudes in adoptive and biological families. Psychological Science 32:2023-2034. (pdf)
  • January 28: Milam, E. 2021. The evolution of Darwinian sexualities. British Journal for the History of Science Themes 6:133-155. (pdf)
  • February 4: Kriegman, S., D. Blackiston, M. Levin, and J. Bongard. 2021. Kinematic self-replication in reconfigurable organisms. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 118:e2112672118. (pdf)
  • February 11: 
  • February 18: 
  • February 25: 
  • March 4: No meeting
  • March 11: No meeting Spring Break
  • March 18: 
  • March 25: 
  • April 1: 
  • April 8:
  • April 15: 
  • April 22:
  • April 29:

Fall 2021

  • September 10: Ryan, M.J. 2021. Darwin, sexual selection, and the brain. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 118(8):e2008194118.
  • September 17: Brooks, R. 2021. Darwin’s closet: the queer sides of The Descent of Man (1871). Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 191:323–346.
  • September 24: Longino, H. 2021. Scaling up; scaling down: What’s missing? Synthese 198:2849–2863.
  • October 1: Serpico, D. 2021. The cyclical return of the IQ controversy: Revisiting the lessons of the resolution on genetics, race and intelligence. Journal of the History of Biology 54:199–228.
  • October 8: Harpak, A. and M. Przeworski. 2021. The evolution of group differences in changing environments. PLoS Biology 19(1):e3001072. 
  • October 15: Bergelson, J. M. Kreitman, D.A. Petrox, A. Sanchez, and M. Tikhonov. 2021. Functional biology in its natural context: A search for emergent simplicity. eLife 10:e67646. 
  • October 22: Burnam, T. and M. Travisano. 2021. The landscape of innovation in bacteria, battleships, and beyond. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 118(26):e2015565118.
  • October 29: Desmond, H. 2021. The selectionist rationale for evolutionary progress. Biology & Philosophy 36:32. 
  • November 5: Hancock, Z.B., E.S. Lehmberg, and G.S. Bradburd. 2021. Neo-Darwinism still haunts evolutionary theory: A modern perspective on Charlesworth, Lande, and Slatkin (1982). Evolution 75:1244–1255. 
  • November 12: Adams, M.B. 2021. Little evolution, BIG evolution: Rethinking the history of Darwinism, population genetics, and the “Synthesis.” In: R. Delisle (ed.), Natural Selection: Revisiting its Explanatory Role in Evolutionary Biology. Cham: Spring, pp. 195–229.
  • November 19: Smith, S.E. 2020. Is evolutionary psychology possible? Biological Theory 15:39–49.  Subrena Smith (University of New Hampshire) will be attending
  • November 26: No meeting - Thanksgiving
  • December 3: Richerson, P.J., S. Gavrilets, and F.B. de Waal. 2021. Modern theories of human evolution foreshadowed by Darwin's Descent of Man. Science 372:eaba3776. 
  • December 10: Sultan, S.E., A.P. Moczek, and D. Walsh. 2021. Bridging the explanatory gaps: What can we learn from a biological agency perspective? BioEssays.

Previous BIG topics