KNOW 40104: Battle in the Mind Fields

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Linguistics, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • Time TBD
  • LING 36555, LING 26550, KNOW 40104
  • John Goldsmith
  • Location TBD

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 27860: History of Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Comparative Human Development, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30-10:50am
  • KNOW 27860, CHSS 37860, HIPS 27860, CHDV 27860 / 37860
  • Dario Maestripieri
  • Location TBD

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 21418 / 31418: Darwinism and Literature

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Human Development, History, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • Wednesdays 3:30pm-6:20pm
  • CHDV 27861 / 37861, HIST 24921 / 34921
  • Bob Richards and Dario Maestripieri
  • SIFK 104

In this course we will explore the notion that literary fiction can contribute to the generation of new knowledge of the human mind, human behavior, and human societies. Some novelists in the late 19th and early 20th century provided fictional portrayals of human nature that were grounded into Darwinian theory. These novelists operated within the conceptual framework of the complementarity of science and literature advanced by Goethe and the other romantics. At a time when novels became highly introspective and psychological, these writers used their literary craftsmanship to explore and illustrate universals aspects of human nature. In this course we read the work of several novelists such as George Eliot, HG Wells, Joseph Conrad, Jack London, Yuvgeny Zamyatin, Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Italo Svevo, and Elias Canetti, and discuss how these authors anticipated the discoveries made decades later by cognitive, social, and evolutionary psychology. 


KNOW 26000: BIG: Monumental Buildings and Sculptures in the Past and Present

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, SIFK, Signature Course
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • M/W/F 12:30-1:20pm
  • SIGN 26000 / NELC 20085
  • James Osborne
  • Location TBD

The building of sculpted monuments and monumental architecture seems to be a universal human trait in all parts of the world, from the pyramids of ancient Egypt to the inuksuit cairns of the arctic Inuit. What explains our urge to create monumental things? Why are monuments built, and how do we experience them? This course explores various answers to these questions through the disciplines that most frequently address monuments: archaeology, architecture, and art history. In the process, we will encounter a number of the major theoretical trends that have characterized the humanities and social sciences in the past century. This course examines humankind’s monumental record through a series of famous case studies from around the world to investigate the social significance of monuments in their original ancient or modern contexts. We will also determine whether lessons learned from the past can be applied to the study of monuments today, and whether studying modern monuments – including those from our immediate surroundings in Chicago – can help us understand those of the past.