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The two cultures controversy: science, literature and cultural politics in postwar Britain
If you have a question about this talk, please contact Lauren Kassell.
This talk will be about my recent book The Two Cultures Controversy: Science, Literature and Cultural Politics in Postwar Britain (Cambridge, 2009). Ever since the scientist-turned-novelist C.P. Snow clashed with literary critic F.R. Leavis in the early 1960s, it has been a commonplace to lament that intellectual life is divided between ‘two cultures’, the arts and sciences. Yet why did a topic that had long been discussed inspire such ferocious controversy at this particular moment? This talk answers that question by recasting this dispute as an ideological conflict between competing visions of Britain’s past, present and future. By excavating the political stakes of the ‘two cultures’ controversy, this talk seeks to explain the workings of cultural politics during the 1960s more generally, while also revising the meaning of a term that continues to be evoked to this day.
This talk is part of the Departmental Seminars in History and Philosophy of Science series.
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