Who's afraid of Charles Darwin?
This is a very big year for the man who wrote The origin of species. Not only is it the 150th anniversary of this germinal book's publication. It's also the bicentenary of its author's birth. There have been monographs, exhibitions, pamphlets, conferences, TV documentaries, radio broadcasts and newspaper articles aplenty - even a set of new Royal Mail stamps designed as pieces of a jigsaw to represent the interconnectedness of all life on earth. Worldwide we have witnessed glowing tributes being paid to Charles Darwin and his theory of 'evolution by means of natural selection'. Except in geography, that is. Darwin and his massive legacy are, it seems, largely irrelevant to us. It's not so much that the bicentenary has passed geographers by. It's just that it's commanded precious little attention, if the content of our journals (such as Geoforum) and conference programmes this year is anything to go by. 1 Given that Darwin's thought was formative for Anglophone geography during its late 19th century inception (see Stoddart, 1966 and Livingstone, 1992), our relative disinterest in it during 2009 may seem like a peculiar oversight. But it's not. In fact, to celebrate Darwin's signal achievements we would - quite literally - have to go out of our way.