Autumn

KNOW 21417: American Modernities

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • M/W 3:00pm-4:20pm
  • KNOW 21417, HIPS 21417, HIST 27014, CRES 21417
  • Isaiah Lorado Wilner
  • SIFK 104

This seminar covers social thought in the United States from the Progressive Era to the present. The central theme will be the highly charged concept of modernity. Modernity is often thought of as an attribute or invention of Western Europe, but what if we see it as a family of experiences shared by many interconnecting peoples? After framing the concept of modernity globally, drawing on Baudelaire, Weber, and Taylor, we will move to the United States. There, three historical processes of rupture and renascence—the Atlantic slave trade; the indigenous cataclysm brought about by European settlement; and transnational migration—yielded forms of modernity autochthonous to the Americas. Part I, Sources of Modernity, considers the influence of diaspora and historical trauma on the making of the social sciences, giving attention to the rise of new ideas of race, culture, and the unconscious that led to an assault on universal standards of civilization. Part II, Rupture and Reweaving, traces the affect of modernity across landscapes of perception—conceptual (American philosophy), sonic (music), and visual (state surveillance). Part III, Disciplines of Witnessing, turns to modernism as praxis through an investigation of idea networks: psychological, poetic, mathematical, and aesthetic. Postwar incubators of modernist experimentation produced situations of epistemic flux, destabilizing binaries between Self and Other, human and machine, thinking and nonthinking—leading to posthumanist understandings that cracked the foundations of modernity. Part IV, Deconstructing Modernity, turns to the fracture of modernism in the aftermath of decolonization through a consideration of identity, the linguistic turn, and the memory boom. A final set of discussions locates modernity in the Anthropocene.

KNOW 29900: XCAP: The Experimental Capstone: The Body in Medicine and the Performing Arts

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesday 2pm-4:50pm
  • Brian Callender and Catherine Sullivan
  • TBD

The Body in Medicine and the Performing Arts is a multidisciplinary course designed to explore the human body through the unique combination of medical science and the performing arts. Drawing broadly from medicine, anthropology, and the performing arts, this course seeks to understand the human body by comparing and contrasting the medicalized body with the animated or performing body. With an emphasis on experiential learning, the primary pedagogy will be interactive activities that allow students to learn about the human body through interactions with other bodies as well as their own. The medical sequence of the course will examine how medicine uses the body as an educational tool, examines the body with diagnostic intent, views the body through radiographic imaging, utilizes the dead body to make diagnoses, and endeavors to prolong life. In the performing arts sequence, students will use their own bodies as instruments of inquiry to explore the ways in which the body is animate, expressive and prone to transformation and signification.

This course is one of three offered in The Experimental Capstone (XCAP) in the 2018-19 academic year. Enrollment in this course is by application only. Only students graduating in the 2018-19 academic year will be considered for enrollment. For more information about XCAP, visit https://sifk.uchicago.edu/courses/xcap/

KNOW 40104: Battle in the Mind Fields

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Linguistics, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesdays 9:30am-10:50am
  • LING 36555, LING 26550, KNOW 40104
  • J. Goldsmith

The goal of this course is to better understand both the ruptures and the continuity that we find in the development of linguistics, psychology, and philosophy over the period from early in the 19th century up until around 1960. Among the topics we will look at are the emergence of 19th century linguistics through the methods developed to reconstruct Proto Indo-European, and at the same time, the emergence of two wings of German psychology (exemplified by Brentano and by Wundt); the transplanting of both of these disciplines to the United States at the end of the 19th century; the rise of behaviorism in psychology and its interaction with Gestalt psychology as German scholars were forced to leave their homes in Europe in the years before World War II; the development of an American style of linguistics associated with the Linguistic Society of America; and the interactions after World War II of cybernetics, cognitively-oriented psychology, and a new style of linguistic theory development. 

This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. No instructor consent is required, but registration is not final until after the 1st week in order to give Ph.D. students priority.

KNOW 27002: Foucault and the History of Sexuality

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Literature, Fundamentals: Issues and Texts, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Philosophy, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • T/Thur 11am-12:20pm; Discussion Time Varies
  • GNSE 23100, HIPS 24300, CMLT 25001, FNDL 22001, PHIL 24800
  • Arnold Ira Davidson
  • Stuart Hall 101

This course centers on a close reading of the first volume of Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality, with some attention to his writings on the history of ancient conceptualizations of sex. How should a history of sexuality take into account scientific theories, social relations of power, and different experiences of the self? We discuss the contrasting descriptions and conceptions of sexual behavior before and after the emergence of a science of sexuality. Other writers influenced by and critical of Foucault are also discussed.

Prerequisites: One prior philosophy course is strongly recommended. Students should opt in to the discussion section that fits their schedule. 
 

KNOW 17403: Science, Culture, & Society in Western Civilization II: Early Modern Period

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • M/W 1.30–2.50pm
  • HIPS 17403, HIST 17403, KNOW 17403
  • R. Richards
  • TBD

Section 1, offered by Robert J. Richards - “Renaissance & Enlightenment.” This lecture-discussion course examines the development science and scientific philosophy from the mid-fifteenth to the mid-nineteenth centuries. The considerations begin with the recovery of an ancient knowledge in the works of Leonardo, Vesalius, Harvey, and Copernicus. Thereafter the course will focus on Enlightenment science, as represented by Galileo, Descartes, Newton, and Hume. The course will culminate with the work of Darwin, who utilized traditional concepts to inaugurate modern science. For each class, the instructor will provide a short introductory lecture on the texts, and then open discussion to pursue with students the unexpected accomplishments of the authors under scrutiny.

KNOW 29629: Romantic Bodies: Theater in the History of Science and Medicine

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesday 11:00AM - 1:50PM
  • HIPS 29629, HIST 24920
  • Ashley Clark
  • TBD

It seems that science and theater have longed shared an ambiguous treatment as amoral yet bordering the ethically suspect.  Scientific, medical, and technological advancements alter our everyday lives in profound ways and theater can play with the development and repercussions of these advancements, altering our memories of history.  This stimulates a line of questioning for historians who view “science plays,” or plays that use science as the basis of their content and often also their form.  In this tutorial, we will explore how these plays can (or cannot) fit into intellectual history as well as social and cultural histories of science.  We will investigate how these plays can act as vehicles for remembering (or reconstructing) histories of science, reminding ourselves that the moral quandaries and ethical dilemmas that we juggle in science and medicine are as recurring as the theatrical productions are. 

KNOW 29630: History and Philosophy of Social Science

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • M 3:30pm-6:20pm
  • HIPS 29630
  • Parysa Mostajir
  • TBD

Sociology and anthropology are highly self-reflexive disciplines. Their own contested histories have been taught and critiqued as a matter of course in the majority of sociology and anthropology departments in the US and Europe since their inception--hardly a surprise, given how dense, kaleidoscopic, and political they are. Meanwhile, the philosophy of social science has been gaining popularity in philosophy departments, apparently independently of the centuries-old reflection on social scientific methodologies that can be found within sociological and anthropological texts2. In true interdisciplinary fashion, this course seeks to marry these areas of scholarship, bringing together readings in philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and classical social theory, under the common themes that unite (and divide) them. We will cover debates on the epistemological priority of the individual or of society, the priority of naturalist or humanist perspectives, and the generalisability or spatio-temporal specificity of social scientific explanations.

 

KNOW 27004: Babylon and the Origins of Knowledge

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays 2-3:20pm
  • HIST 25617, NEHC 20215, HIPS 27004
  • E. Escobar
  • SIFK 104

In 1946 the famed economist John Maynard Keynes declared that Isaac Newton “was the last of the magicians, the last of the Babylonians.” We find throughout history, in the writings of Galileo, Jorge Luis Borges, Ibn Khaldun, Herodotus, and the Hebrew Bible, a city of Babylon full of contradictions. At once sinful and reverential, a site of magic and science, rational and irrational, Babylon seemed destined to resound in the historical imagination as the birthplace of knowledge itself. But how does the myth compare to history? How did the Babylonians themselves envisage their own knowledge? In this course we will take a cross comparative approach, investigating the history of the ancient city and its continuity in the scientific and literary imagination.

KNOW 27860: History of Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Human Development, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesday and Thursday 9:30am-10:50am
  • CHDV 27860/CHDV 37860, CHSS 37860, HIPS 27860
  • D. Maestripieri

This course will consist in lectures and discussion sessions about the historical and conceptual foundations of evolutionary behavioral sciences (evolutionary anthropology, evolutionary psychology, ethology, comparative behavioral biology), covering the period from the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species up to the present day. Topics will include new theoretical developments, controversies, interdisciplinary expansions, and the relationships between evolutionary behavioral sciences and other disciplines in the sciences and the humanities.

KNOW 44600: Zion & Zaphon: Biblical Texts of the 7th Cent. BCE

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Bible, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • TBD
  • BIBL 44600
  • S. Chavel
  • TBD

Students will examine biblical texts on the premise they respond to the astonishing turn of events in the eighth century bce, in which Assyria dissolved the Israelian kingdom and nearly destroyed the Judean, with:theoretical orientation from history and historiography, memory studies, and literary theory; survey of ancient written and image-based sources; archaeological evidence. 

KNOW 55100: The Development of Whitehead’s Philosophy of Nature

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Philosophy, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesdays: 11:00 am – 1:50 pm
  • PHIL 55100, CHSS 55100
  • T. Pashby

In this course we will read Whitehead with the aim of understanding how he arrived at his mature views, i.e., the “philosophy of organism” expressed in Process and Reality (1929).  The development of Whitehead’s philosophy can be traced back to a planned fourth volume of Principia Mathematica (never completed) on space and time.  This course will examine how these concerns with natural philosophy led Whitehead to develop his philosophy of organism. Beginning in the late 1910s, we will read over 10 years of published work by Whitehead, supplemented by recently discovered notes from his Harvard seminars 1924/25 and selected commentaries

KNOW 35000: Winckelmann: Enlightenment Art Historian and Philosopher

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Art History, Center for Latin American Studies, German, SIFK, Social Thought
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesdays 9:30-12:20pm
  • SCTH 35000, ARTH 25115/35115, CLAS 35014, GRMN 25015/35015
  • A. Pop
  • SIFK 104

We approach the first great modern art historian through reading his classic early and mature writings and through the art and criticism of is time (and at the end, our own). Reading-intensive, with a field trip to the Art Institute. 

KNOW 21416: Reproduction and Motherhood in Multimedia (1800–present)

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30 – 4:50 PM
  • KNOW 21416, HIPS 21416, HIST 21416, GNSE 21416, CRES 21416
  • M. Carlyle
  • SIFK 104

What do artificial wombs, monstrous creations, and dystopian medical landscapes have in common? Answers to these questions are the subject of this interdisciplinary course in which we explore the many ways in which human reproduction has entered multimedia from the eighteenth century through present. In our course, the concept of "reproduction" will be problematized through film, advertising, texts, literature, and objects. Through these sources, we will critically explore how popular representations of human reproduction have shaped the status of the female body and notions of motherhood over time. We will also see how the liberating potential of new forms of multimedia have often served to reinforce--rather than resist or reimagine--longstanding motifs and beliefs surrounding the maternal body and womanhood, from the image of the hysterical woman to that of the monstrous mother. Themes covered include the science of reproduction, hysteria, monstrosities, maternal imagination, artificial life, race, contraception, in/fertility, and sex education.

KNOW 25425 / 40103: Censorship, Info Control & Revolutions in Info Tech from Press to Internet

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Big Problems, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, History, History of Religions, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK, Signature Course
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Autumn
  • Fridays 1:30–4:20pm
  • HIST 25425/35425, CHSS 35425, HIPS 25425, HREL 35425, SIGN 26035, BPRO 25425
  • Adrian Johns & Ada Palmer
  • Kent Chem Lab 120

Full title: Censorship, Information Control, and Revolutions in Information Technology from Printing Press to Internet 

The digital revolution is triggering a wave of new information control efforts and censorship attempts, ranging from monopolistic copyright laws to the "Great Firewall" of China. The print revolution after 1450 was a moment like our own, when the explosive dissemination of a new information technology triggered a wave of information control efforts. Many of today's attempts at information control closely parallel early responses to the printing press, so the premodern case gives us centuries of data showing how diverse attempts to control or censors information variously incentivized, discouraged, curated, silenced, commodified, or nurtured art, thought, and science. Part of a collaboration co-organized with digital information expert Cory Doctorow, this unique course will bring pairs of experts working on the print and digital revolutions to campus to discuss parallels between their researches with the class. Classes will be filmed and shared on the internet to create an international public conversation. This is a Department of History "Making History" course: rather than writing traditional papers, students will create web resources and publications (print and digital) to contribute to an ongoing collaborative research project. 

This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. Ph.D. students must register with the KNOW 40103 course number in order for this course to meet the requirement. 

Winter

KNOW 29522 / 39522: Europe’s Intellectual Transformations Renaissance to Enlightenment

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: French, History, History of Christianity, Religious Studies, SIFK, Signature Course
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • Tue Thu : 02:00 PM-03:20 PM
  • FREN 29322, FREN 39322, HCHR 39522, RLST 22605, SIGN 26036, HIST 39522
  • Ada Palmer
  • Ryerson Phys Lab 251

This course will consider the foundational transformations of Western thought from the end of the Middle Ages to the threshold of modernity. It will provide an overview of the three self-conscious and interlinked intellectual revolutions which reshaped early modern Europe: the Renaissance revival of antiquity, the "new philosophy" of the seventeenth century, and the light and dark faces of the Enlightenment. It will treat scholasticism, humanism, the scientific revolution, Bacon, Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Voltaire, Diderot, and Sade.


Additional Notes
PQ: Students taking FREN 29322/39322 must read French texts in French. First-year students and non-History majors welcome.

KNOW 24710: Genealogy of Confession: Foucault, Christianity, and the History of Truth

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Religious Studies, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • M 10:30am-1:20pm
  • RLST 24710
  • Maureen Kelly
  • Swift 208

"Western man has become a confessing animal," Foucault writes, calling our attention to the religious background of secular institutions, especially in the persistence and proliferation of confession in juridical, medical, and psychiatric domains. In this course, we will take up confession as a practice in order to examine both its history and development within the Christian tradition, and its diverse and persisting forms in extra-religious contexts. Following the argument that religious forms act in our contemporary world in varying, diverse, and often unseen ways, the class will pursue an inquiry into confession and the insight it affords into contemporary questions. The course will proceed in three modules. First, we will read selections of Foucault in order to gain a framework and vocabulary for asking philosophical, critical, and historical questions on confession. In the second module, we will study primary sources from the Christian tradition that signal key moments in the history of confession, including sources from Tertullian, Cyprian, Cassian, Augustine, and Luther. In the third module, we will look for patterns of continuity and discontinuity in the domains of philosophy, literature, psychoanalysis, law, and criticism. Treating these sections in turn will allow for comparisons of critical themes, including truth, judgment, freedom, and subject. In answering these critical questions, we will pursue a theoretical and historical investigation of key texts from the history of confession, and put our analytic skills to work on current discursive modes.  

KNOW 27015 / 37015: Graphic Medicine

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, English, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • Tuesday and Thursday 9:30am-10:50am
  • HIPS 27015, CHSS 37015, ENGL 27015
  • Brian Callender; MK Czerwiec
  • IFK 104

What do comics add to the discourse on health, illness, and disease? What insight do comics provide about the experience of illness? Can comics improve health? Graphic Medicine: Concepts and Practice is a course designed to introduce students to the basic concepts and practices of the emerging field of graphic medicine. Broadly defined as the “intersection between the medium of comics and the discourse of healthcare,” graphic medicine allows for a unique exploration of health, disease, and illness through the narrative use of graphic and textual elements. Following a life-cycle framework, this course will examine the range of graphic medicine works that address topics such as pregnancy, abortion, mental health, sexuality, chronic medical diseases, HIV/AIDS, dementia, and end-of-life issues. Students will learn about conceptual and practical aspects of the field and be exposed to a variety of styles and genres that capture its breadth and diversity. In addition to reading, analyzing, and discussing the works, an important component of the class will be exercises during which students will create their own graphic medicine works. Taught by a nurse cartoonist (also a founding figure in the field) and a physician, the course also provides a perspective of the field from within the practice of medicine. Through didactics, discussion, and practice, this course will provide students with a thorough understanding of the field of graphic medicine. 

KNOW 45699: When Cultures Collide: Multiculturalism in Liberal Democracies

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Comparative Human Development, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Human Rights, Psychology
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • Wednesdays 9:30am-12:20pm
  • CHDV 45699, PSYC 45300, ANTH 45600, HMRT 35600, GNSE 45600
  • Richard A. Shweder
  • Rosenwald Hall 329

Coming to terms with diversity in an increasingly multicultural world has become one of the most pressing public policy projects for liberal democracies in the early 21st century. One way to come to terms with diversity is to try to understand the scope and limits of toleration for variety at different national sites where immigration from foreign lands has complicated the cultural landscape. This seminar examines a series of legal and moral questions about the proper response to norm conflict between mainstream populations and cultural minority groups (including old and new immigrants), with special reference to court cases that have arisen in the recent history of the United States.

KNOW 31407: Hermeneutic Sociology

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Anthropology, SIFK, Sociology
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • M 5:30 - 8:20pm
  • SOCI 40156, ANTH 40150, KNOW 31407
  • Andreas Glaeser

The core ideas of a social hermeneutics expanding traditional textual hermeneutics into social life, were developed in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. They can be summarized in a few intertwining propositions: First, discursive, emotive and sensory modalities of sense making, conscious and unconscious, characterize and differentiate social life forms. Second, sense making is acting, thus entangled in institutions. Third, sense making proceeds in diverse media whose structures and habits of use shape its process rendering form and style important. Fourth, sense making is structured by the relationships within which they take place. Fifth, sense making is crucial for the reproduction of all aspects of life forms. Sixths, sense making, life forms, and media are dialectically (co-constitutively) intertwined with each other. Seventh, social hermeneutics is itself sense-making. The course will explore these ideas by reading classical statements that highlight the core analytical concepts that social hermeneuticists employ such as symbolization, interpretation, mediation, rhetoric, performance, performativity, interpretive community, institutionalization. Every session will combine a discussion of the readings with an analytical practicum using these concepts. Authors typically include Vico, Herder, Dilthey, Aristotle, Burke, Austin, Ricoeur, Schütz, Bourdieu, Peirce, Panofsky, Ranciere, Lakoff, Mackenzie, Latour.

This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. Ph.D. students must register with the KNOW 31407 course number in order for this course to meet the requirement. 

KNOW 40203: Biopolitics and Posthumanism

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Comparative Literature, English, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • Wednesdays 9:30am-12:20pm
  • CMLT 40203, CHSS 40203, ENGL 40203
  • N. Bruner
  • IFK 104

Much has been written about the possibility (or impossibility) of creating an integrated political schema that incorporates living status, not species boundary, as the salient distinction between person and thing. In this course, we will explore how biopolitical and posthumanistic scholars like Michel Foucault, Hannah Arendt, Giorgio Agamben, Jane Bennett, Cary Wolfe, and Donna Haraway have acknowledged (and advocated transcending) the anthropocentric ümwelt, to borrow Jakob von Üexküll’s influential term. In parallel with our theoretical readings, we will explore how actual legal systems have incorporated the nonhuman, with a particular focus on Anglo-American and transnational law. Our goal is to develop our own sense of an applied biopolitics—whether to our own research, to future legislation and jurisprudence, or both.  

This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. No instructor consent is required, but registration is not final until after the 1st week in order to give Ph.D. students priority.

KNOW 27012: Reading the Known World: Medieval Travel Genres

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: English, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays 11:00am-12:20pm
  • HIPS 27012, ENGL 27012
  • J. Stadolnik
  • IFK 104

This course will consider how medieval English readers came to knowledge of their world, and imagined a place within it, through genres of travel narrative such as the pilgrim’s itinerary, the merchant manual, and the saint’s life. We will reflect on genre as concept en route: how did generic conventions and strategies organize this knowledge of unknown lands, other peoples, and distant marvels?  We will read medieval texts like Book of Margery Kempe, Mandeville’s Travels, and the Digby play of Mary Magdalene, along with medieval and modern literary theory, to survey how vernacular literature presented a picture of the world and charted paths across it. Students will leave the class proficient in reading Middle English (the precursor of modern English). No previous experience with the language is required, and an optional weekly reading group will meet to work through passages in this half-new language.

KNOW 29940: XCAP: The Experimental Capstone: Knowledge Claims - Theory/Praxis

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • Tuesdays 12:30pm-2:50pm
  • Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer; Co-Instructor Changes Weekly
  • SIFK 104

This course incorporates the practice and theory of various knowledge systems.  Each week will feature a different expert, and we will cover (albeit not deeply) a historical, topical, and geographical range of readings and experiments. Our explorations will be in chemistry, medicine, textile knowledge, museum collections, conspiracy theories:  we examine knowledge claims throughout, with our investigations crossing over the traditional boundaries between science, social science, medicine, and humanities.

This course is one of three offered in The Experimental Capstone (XCAP) in the 2018-19 academic year. Enrollment in this course is by application only. Only 3rd and 4th year students in the College will be considered for enrollment. For more information about XCAP, visit https://sifk.uchicago.edu/courses/xcap/

KNOW 17403: Science, Culture, & Society: Early Modern Period II

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • MW 1:30pm-2:50pm
  • HIPS 17403, HIST 17403
  • M. Carlyle
  • Stuart Hall 105

Section 2 - "Revolutions in Astronomy Anatomy." This course explores scientific developments in Western Europe from the sixteenth-century Scientific Revolution to the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. During this period, European understandings of the natural world-and ways of achieving such understandings-underwent a series of radical and far-reaching transformations that are often called the Scientific Revolution.

KNOW 21415: Evolution Before Darwin

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Ecology and Evolution, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Organismal Biology & Anatomy, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30 – 4:50 PM
  • KNOW 21415, ECEV 30415, ORGB 30415, HIST 25316, HIPS 21415
  • J. Daly
  • SIFK 104

This course will explore the emergence and development of evolutionary thought prior to Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859). We will pay particular attention to the way in which transformism was a feature of nineteenth-century thought more generally, connecting natural history to astronomy, theology, and the study of humanity. Natural philosophers and later scientists who wished to make arguments concerning nature's deep past and hidden or obscured processes (such as the long-term transformations of stars, strata, and organic species) faced an essential problem: the power of observation and experiment was limited. Our class will interrogate this problem, and examine the way in which the development of evolutionary thought prior to Darwin was intimately connected to contentious debates regarding speculation and scientific method. We will conclude by contemplating the ways in which the ideas and challenges raised by transformism and evolution influenced the reception of Darwin's work, and the way in which these ideas and challenges remain embedded within seemingly disparate fields of study today.

KNOW 22709: Introduction to Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Philosophy, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • Tuesdays/Thursdays: 12:30 – 1:50 pm
  • PHIL 22709, HIPS 22709
  • T. Pashby
  • TBD

In this class we examine some of the conceptual problems associated with quantum mechanics. We will critically discuss some common interpretations of quantum mechanics, such as the Copenhagen interpretation, the many-worlds interpretation and Bohmian mechanics. We will also examine some implications of results in the foundations of quantum theory concerning non-locality, contextuality and realism. Prior knowledge of quantum mechanics is not required since we begin with an introduction to the formalism, but familiarity with matrices, freshman calculus and high school geometry will be presupposed. 

KNOW 25308 / 40202: History & Anthropology of Medicine & the Life Sciences

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Winter
  • TR 2–3.20
  • HIST 25308/35308, HIPS 25808, CHSS 35308, ANTH 34307/24307
  • Michael Rossi

In this course we will examine the ways in which different groups of people—in different times and places—have understood the nature of life and living things, bodies and bodily processes, and health and disease, among other notions. We will address these issues principally, though not exclusively, through the lens of the changing sets of methods and practices commonly recognizable as science and medicine. We will also pay close attention to the methods through which scholars in history and anthropology have written about these topics, and how current scientific and medical practice affect historical and anthropological studies of science and medicine.

This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. Ph.D. students must register with the KNOW 40202 course number in order for this course to meet the requirement. 

Spring

KNOW 25315: Science Outside of Europe

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK, South Asian Languages & Civilizations
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • SALC 25315, HIPS 25315
  • Eric Gurevitch

The classical narrative of the history of science is, as one prominent historian of science has recently put it, “not just a Eurocentric narrative, it is the Eurocentric narrative, the one that explained how the West had outstripped the rest by inventing science and thereby winning the modernity sweepstakes.” This course will explore how, when and why this narrative took shape, and how recent scholarship has grappled with its legacy. Is it possible or desirable to tell the
story—or a story—of science from outside of Europe? What might we learn about that thing we call modernity if we start from traditions of systematized knowledge outside of Europe? The course will expose undergraduates to a range of contemporary debates about non-western and non-modern science from post-colonial, post-positivist, and more traditional historicist perspectives. While the course will take a global perspective, it will often draw on materials from
South Asia, which, as the purported ‘jewel’ in the crown of the British empire and as a location with a long history of scholarly traditions, is a productive place from which to pose global questions. No prior knowledge of South Asian history or South Asian languages is required.

KNOW 40306: Race, Land, and Empire: History, Intersectionality, and the Meanings of America

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, History, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • Thursday 2:00pm-4:50pm
  • CHSS 40306, HIST 37013
  • Isaiah Lorado Wilner
  • IFK 104

This seminar examines the making and meaning of the United States at the intersections of race, land, and empire. It considers a set of profound historical transformations that shape American and global life today: the conquest and colonization of the vast North American continent; the expansion of slavery and, with it, a system of global capitalism; the growth of opposition to that system of labor, culminating in the Civil War; the origins, as a result of that war, of a modern American nation-state; the ethnic cleansing and resettlement of the West; and the ascension of the United States of America to global eminence as a military power. Rather than framing these events within a national narrative about the idea of Manifest Destiny or an epic struggle toward the ideal of democracy—an approach that ignores most of the continent, divides the West from the North and South, and frames history itself as progress—this course makes use of a global lens to analyze the borders between and border crossings by American communities. Our foci will be the interrelations between regions and peoples; the processes that led to alteration; and the evolution of structures that redistributed social power. Our three interwoven factors—race, land, and empire—give us an acute lens of observation. At the intersections of these patterns of belonging, modes of land use, and relations of domination, we can come to a new understanding of the most rapid surge of colonization in world history, which led to the rise of a global empire. Salient themes include democracy and its contradictions, imperial science, questions of historical agency, the politics of sex and gender, and the ongoing legacies of slavery and ethnic cleansing.

This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. No instructor consent is required, but registration is not final until after the 1st week in order to give Ph.D. students priority. 

KNOW 30928: Thinking the Present through the Past: Classic Works of History since 1750

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Social Thought
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • SCTH 30928
  • Lorraine Daston

As proudly empirical as the sciences, as interpretive as the humanities, and as analytical as the social sciences, history as the pursuit of knowledge about the past resists classification. Because all history is written through the lens of the present, most works of history cease to be read after a generation, especially during the modern period, as the pace of change accelerated. In this seminar we will read some of the exceptions, including works by Kant, Tocqueville, Michelet, Cassirer, Huizinga, Lovejoy, and Frances Yates, to understand how a powerful vision of the past can transcend its own present.

KNOW 21405 / 31405: The Italian Renaissance

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Center for Latin American Studies, Classical Studies, History, History of Christianity, Italian, Religious Studies, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays 3:30 – 4:50 PM
  • KNOW 21405/31405, HIST 22900/32900, CLAS 32914, HCHR 32900, ITAL 32914/22914, CLCV 22914, RLST 22900
  • Ada Palmer

Florence, Rome, and the Italian city-states in the age of plagues and cathedrals, Dante and Machiavelli, Medici and Borgia (1250–1600), with a focus on literature and primary sources, the recovery of lost texts and technologies of the ancient world, and the role of the Church in Renaissance culture and politics. Humanism, patronage, translation, cultural immersion, dynastic and papal politics, corruption, assassination, art, music, magic, censorship, religion, education, science, heresy, and the roots of the Reformation. Assignments include creative writing, reproducing historical artifacts, and a live reenactment of a papal election. First-year students and non-history majors welcome.

KNOW 27700 / 37700: The (Auto)Biography of a Nation: Francesco De Sanctis and Benedetto Croce

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Literature, Italian, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • W 1:30pm-4:20pm
  • ITAL 27700/37700, CMLT 28800/38800
  • Rocco Rubini
  • Wieboldt 207

At its core, this course examines the making and legacy of Francesco De Sanctis’s History of Italian Literature (1870-71), a work that distinguished literary critic René Wellek defined as “the finest history of any literature ever written” and “an active instrument of aesthetic evolution.” We will read the History in the larger context of De Sanctis’s corpus, including his vast epistolary exchanges, autobiographical writings, and so-called Critical Essays in order to detail his reform of Hegelian aesthetics, his redefinition of the intellectual’s task after the perceived exhaustion of the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Romantic moments, and his campaign against the bent toward erudition, philology, and antiquarianism in 19th-century European scholarship. We will compare De Sanctis’s methodology to that of his scholarly models in France (Alphonse de Lamartine, Alfred Mézières) and Germany (Georg Gottfried Gervinus, Georg Voigt) to explore De Sanctis’s claim that literary criticisms – not just literary cultures – are “national.” In the second part of the course, we assess Benedetto Croce’s appropriation of De Sanctis in his Aesthetics (1902), arguably the last, vastly influential work in its genre and we conclude with Antonio Gramsci’s use of De Sanctis for the regeneration of a literary savvy Marxism or philosophy of praxis. In the current age of “world literature,” characterized by a wariness toward national literary canons, we may find that reading De Sanctis, one of the uncontested founders of modern literary critcism, proves therapeutic  and usefully introspective in critically revaluating and clarifying our current values and beliefs as women and men of letters.      

KNOW 27013: Being Corporate

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: English, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • Tuesdays & Thursdays 11:00am-12:20pm
  • ENGL 27013, HIPS 27006
  • N. Bruner
  • SIFK 104

Corporations suffuse our lives.  We study with them, work with them, consume their products—even become part of them through the purchase of stock.  But what, exactly, is a corporation?  In this course, we will trace the evolution of the US corporation from its historical roots through the present day.  Our focus will be twofold: the evolving rights and responsibilities of the corporate person in law, and the ways that individual humans both inside and outside the corporate structure have imagined that person in a wider social context.  Texts will include US court cases, legal treatises, historical analyses, novels, and cultural ephemera.  By the end of the course, students will have a deeper understanding of the persistent and evolving problems of corporate personhood and corporate social responsibility, both from a business and a consumer perspective.

KNOW 40305: The Archive of Early English Literature: Manuscripts, Books, and Canon

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, English, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays 12:30pm-1:50pm
  • CHSS 40305, ENG 40305
  • J. Stadolnik
  • Regenstein 133

This course will introduce students to early English literature through manuscript studies and book history. Throughout the course we will reflect on archival research as a critical practice: how do the material histories of early texts invite us to rethink the fundamental categories that organize literary history, like authorship or canonicity? The course will be both a practicum (teaching the basics of paleography, codicology, and textual editing) and an ongoing conversation about the archives of literary history, as sites of interpretation, memory, and erasure. 

We will meet in the Special Collections Research Center, and use the collections of the University of Chicago. We will first focus on the archives of Chicago’s Chaucer Research Project and its principals, John Matthews Manly and Edith Rickert, who tried to establish an authoritative text of the Canterbury Tales in the early twentieth century. The second half of the course will focus on print culture and reading practice, with a focus on Chicago’s collection of early modern commonplace books. Students will propose and pursue a research project in the U of C or Newberry Library collections, on a topic of their choosing. Students will produce a piece of scholarship that reflects both careful research in those collections and thoughtfulness about the place of that research in critical practice.  

This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. No instructor consent is required, but registration is not final until after the 1st week in order to give Ph.D. students priority.

KNOW 29970: XCAP: The Experimental Capstone: Experiencing the Real - Nature, Culture, Society

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • Friday 9:30am-12:20pm
  • Michael Rossi & Jason MacLean
  • IFK 104

An essential – if little remarked-upon – aspect of our work as scholars and students within an academic community is that we are concerned with that which is real. We read about things that are real. We write about things that are real. We attempt to prove the realities of our theories and we theorize the real. But what is it like to take “the real” as a question not simply of text or theory, but of experience? In this course, we will immerse ourselves in some of the many ways in which we (human beings living in an industrialized society in the early twenty-first century) have come to know that which is real, and to distinguish it from that which is unreal, ambiguous, or even fake. Equal parts ethnography, history, reportage, philosophy, and fabrication, this course takes action and embodiment as its key elements – particularly action and embodiment as manifested through the sometimes-twinned, sometimes-conflicting pursuits of science and art. In considering the nature of the real, we will consider our own embodiment and cognition in conjunction with the material and technological worlds of our own late modern moment as principle elements of the ways in which we come to know the real.

This course is one of three offered in The Experimental Capstone (XCAP) in the 2018-19 academic year. Enrollment in this course is by application only. Only students graduating in the 2018-19 academic year will be considered for enrollment. For more information about XCAP, visit https://sifk.uchicago.edu/courses/xcap/

KNOW 29632: The Poet’s Scientist: A Pre-Disciplinary Course in Science & Literature

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • Monday 12:30pm-3:20pm
  • HIPS 29632
  • Lily Huang
  • TBD

I’m interested in understanding a way of writing about scientists that is not readily available to historians of science, a more expressive, more intuited way of writing that we can find in some poets and novelists: Osip Mandelstam writing of the way “Lamarck wept his eyes out over his magnifying glass”; Arthur Koestler of how Kepler laid “a monstrous egg” with his elliptical orbit. I am interested in the particular license taken in these instances—that flash of soul; I think the same license is taken to great effect in, for instance, the historical fiction of Hilary Mantel, and I want to see what we can win by it if we permit ourselves to tolerate it in real histories, and particularly in histories of science. That’s a larger inquiry than this course undertakes, but I try to begin here by studying some writers who have won by it.

KNOW 40304: Between Nature and Artifice: The Formation of Scientific Knowledge

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • W 3-5:50pm
  • KNOW 40304, HIST 34920, CHSS 40304, HIPS 40304, CRES 40304, GNSE 40304
  • M. Carlyle, J. Daly, E. Escobar
  • SIFK 104

This course critically examines concepts of "nature" and "artifice" in the formation of scientific knowledge, from the Babylonians to the Romantics, and the ways that this history has been written and problematized by both canonical and less canonical works in the history of science from the twentieth century to the present. Our course is guided by three overarching questions, approached with historical texts and historiography, that correspond to three modules of investigation: 1) Nature, 2) Artifice, and 3) Liminal: Neither Natural nor Artificial. 

This course fulfills part of the KNOW Core Seminar requirement to be eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowship. No instructor consent is required, but registration is not final until after the 1st week in order to give Ph.D. students priority.

KNOW 28900: Magic, Science, and Religion

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Religious Studies, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • Time TBD
  • RLST 28900, ANTH 23906, AASR 30501
  • A. Doostdar
  • Location TBD

The relationship between the categories of magic, science, and religion has been a problem for modern social science since its inception in the nineteenth century. In the first half of this course, we will critically examine some of the classical and contemporary approaches to these concepts. In the second half, we will explore a number of detailed historical and ethnographic studies about modern phenomena that call some of the fundamental assumptions behind these categories into question.

KNOW 24112 / 34112: Screening India: Bollywood and Beyond

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Cinema and Media Studies, History, SIFK, South Asian Languages & Civilizations
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • Monday and Wednesdays 1:30-2:50 PM
  • CMST 34112/24112, HIST 36808/26808, SALC 30511/2051
  • R. Majumdar
  • Cobb Hall 307

Cinema is, unarguably, the medium most apposite for thinking through the complexities of democratic politics, especially so in a place like India.  While Indian cinema has recently gained international currency through the song and dance ensembles of Bollywood, there remains much more to be said about that body of films.  Moreover, Bollywood is a small (though very important) part of Indian cinema. Through a close analysis of a wide range of films in Hindi, Bengali, Kannada, Urdu, this course will ask if Indian cinema can be thought of as a form of knowledge of the twentieth century.

KNOW 12203: The Italian Renaissance: Dante, Machiavelli, and the Wars of Popes and Kings

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Classical Studies, History, Italian, Medieval Studies, Religious Studies, SIFK, Signature Course
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • MW 1:30pm-2:50pm
  • HIST 12203, ITAL 16000, SIGN 26034, RLST 22203, CLCV 22216, MDVL 12203
  • Ada Palmer
  • Harper Memorial Library 130

Florence, Rome, and the Italian city-states in the age of plagues and cathedrals, Dante and Machiavelli, Medici and Borgia (1250–1600), with a focus on literature, philosophy, primary sources, the revival of antiquity, and the papacy's entanglement with pan-European politics. We will examine humanism, patronage, politics, corruption, assassination, feuds, art, music, magic, censorship, education, science, heresy, and the roots of the Reformation. Writing assignments focus on higher level writing skills, with a creative writing component linked to our in-class live-action-role-played (LARP) reenactment of a Renaissance papal election. This is a Department of History Gateway course. First-year students and non-History majors welcome.

KNOW 57000: –/+: Molding, Casting, and the Shaping of Knowledge

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Art History, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, History, SIFK
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • Thursday 2:00pm-4:50pm
  • HIST 57000, ANTH 54835, ARTH 47300, CHSS 57000
  • Patrick Crowley & Michael Rossi
  • TBD

Of all technologies of reproduction and resemblance, those of molding and casting are perhaps the most intimate. An object, a sculpture, a creature, a person is slathered in plaster (or some other form-hugging material), and the resulting "negative" image is rendered into a "positive" replica. This course explores the various historically and culturally contingent meanings that have been attached to these technical procedures—despite their ostensibly "styleless" or "anachronistic" character—from the ancient world to the present day. Used in practices ranging from funerary rituals to fine art, natural history to medicine, anthropology to forensics, molding and casting constitute forms of knowledge production that capture at once the real and the enduring, the ephemeral and fleeting, and the authentic and affective. Featuring a diverse set of readings by authors such as Pliny the Elder, Charles Sanders Peirce, Walter Benjamin, Oswald Spengler, Gilbert Simondon, and others, the colloquium will address theoretical and methodological questions pertaining to concepts of materiality, indexicality, tactility, scalability, and seriality. Besides plaster, the objects of our analysis will comprise a diverse range of media including but not limited to wax, metal, photography and film, synthetic polymers, and digital media.

N.B.: This course is a colloquium for graduate students only.