Frankenstein in the Public Sphere: Science and the Virtue of Sociability in the British Enlightenment

Network Node: 
Thu., Nov. 25, 2010, 6:00pm

Thursday, November 25th, 2010 at 6:00 pm McGill University

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs and the Situating Science Knowledge Cluster present:

Science and its Publics Lecture Series

A multi-part series examining the roles of the public in the translation and understanding of the knowledge of science

Part 2:




Thursday, November 25th, 2010 at 6:00 pm EST

Leacock 232
Leacock Building
McGill University
855 Sherbrooke Street West
Montreal, Quebec H3A 2T7
Live streamed and recorded here (follow link, Silverlight required)
All events are recorded


Dr. Jan Golinski, Professor of History and Humanities, University of New Hampshire presents a lecture on science, ethics and “publics” in the context of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Shelley’s work drew attention to the dangers that could arise when a man of science attempted to harness the powers of nature in isolation from the normal moral bonds of society. In the decades before Shelley wrote her novel, the public sphere developed as a condition of scientific activity while sociability was recognized as an epistemic virtue.  Shelley’s work expressed anxieties about what could happen if these moral imperatives were ignored, anxieties that still resonate with the public today.

This event marks the second part of a multi-part national series on Science and its Publics created by the Situating Science Strategic Knowledge Cluster, ( and the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs, (

This event is supported by the Making Publics Project (MaPS) (, headquartered at McGill University. Their MaPS team explores the creation of new forms of association that allowed people to connect with others in ways not founded in family, rank or vocation but rather founded in voluntary communities built on the shared interests, tastes, and desires of individuals. Members attempt to answer these questions: how did works of art and intellect and the practices of making and partaking in these works change the shape of early modern Europe (around 1500-1700)? And, how did these changes in early modernity influence the development of the modern world?


Monique Morgan, Professor, Department of English, McGill University

Free admission Reception to follow

Click here for more on the Lecture Series