Autumn

KNOW 22175: Apprenticeship: Learning on the Job

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Comparative Human Development, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • Time TBD
  • ANTH 22175, CHDV 23407
  • David A. Ansari
  • Location TBD

What does it mean to master one’s craft? How is mastery evaluated and who determines when it is achieved? Apprenticeship tends to involve long-term, intensive, and situated, or site-specific learning, under the guidance of masters and alongside of peers. While explicit instructions or textbooks may feature in apprenticeships, apprentices often learn by observing those with more experience and attempting to repeat or reproduce what they observe. Drawing on ethnographies of apprenticeship in chocolate making, Lucha Libre wrestling, Chinese medicine, and fire fighting, we will examine the embodied processes of socialization and professionalization, and pay close attention to the settings in which learning takes place. By taking this course, students will gain a broader understanding of the nuances between apprenticeship and other forms of learning. Moreover, by completing an ethnographic reflection project, students will develop sharper observation and field note taking skills.

KNOW 21108 / 31108: Time after Physics

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Philosophy, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • Time TBD
  • HIPS 21108, CHSS 31108, PHIL 21108, PHIL 31008
  • Thomas Pashby
  • Location TBD

This course provides a historical survey of the philosophy of time. We begin with the problems of change, being and becoming as formulated in Ancient Greece by Parmenides and Zeno, and Aristotle’s attempted resolution in the Physics by providing the first formal theory of time. The course then follows theories of time through developments in physics and philosophy up to the present day. Along the way we will take in Descartes’ theory of continuous creation, Newton’s Absolute Time, Leibniz’s and Mach’s relational theories, Russell’s relational theory, Broad’s growing block, Whitehead’s epochal theory, McTaggart’s A, B and C theories, Prior’s tense logic, Belnap’s branching time, Einstein’s relativity theory and theories of quantum gravity. 

KNOW 28000: Antiquity, Archaeology, & Anthropology: Humanism & the Rise of Science in Germany

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • T 2:00PM – 4:50PM
  • HIPS 29633
  • Kristine Palmieri
  • Location TBD

What do Homeric poetry and human skulls have in common? What about the Old Testament and Mycenaean pottery shards? Or Roman ruins and entomology? They were all used to illuminate the course of human history and they all transformed pre-existing conceptions about the past. This course traces the development of the human sciences from a general and preparatory program of humanistic study into specialized research disciplines focused on the production of new knowledge. Through a focus on the study of antiquity, archaeology, and anthropology in Germany, students will examine how information about the humanity and its past was produced, what the function or purpose of such knowledge was, and how this changed over time. They will also investigate the ways in which broader political, social, and cultural concerns shaped scientific research and were, in turn, shaped (or not) by it. In so doing this class explores how, why, and in what ways the development of German science was fundamentally and intrinsically shaped by humanistic inquiries about history and humanity. It also challenges linear notions of disinterested, secular, scientific progress as well as the modern division between natural sciences, human sciences, and the humanities.

KNOW 18400: Science, Culture, and Society in Western Civilization II: “Renaissance to Enlightenment”

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • TBD
  • HIPS 18400
  • Robert J. Richards
  • Location TBD

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 31408: Colloquium: Introduction to Science Studies

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Anthropology, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK, Sociology
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • Wednesdays 9:30am to 12:20pm
  • ANTH 32305, HIPS 22001, HIST 56800, SOCI 40137
  • Karin Knorr Cetina; Adrian Johns
  • Location TBD

This course explores the interdisciplinary study of science as an enterprise. During the twentieth century, sociologists, historians, philosophers, and anthropologists all raised interesting and consequential questions about the sciences. Taken together their various approaches came to constitute a field, "science studies." The course provides an introduction to this field. Students will not only investigate how the field coalesced and why, but will also apply science-studies perspectives in a fieldwork project focused on a science or science-policy setting. Among the topics we may examine are the sociology of scientific knowledge and its applications, actor-network theories of science, constructivism and the history of science, images of normal and revolutionary science, accounts of research in the commercial university, and the examined links between science and policy.

KNOW 29901: XCAP:The Experimental Capstone-The Art of Healing: Medical Aesthetics in Russia & the US

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Biological Sciences, Health and Society, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK, Visual Arts
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • Thursday 9:30am-12:20pm
  • HIPS 28350, ARTV 20014, ANTH 24360, BIOS 29209, HLTH 29901
  • William Nickell; Brian Callender; Elizabeth Murphy
  • SIFK 104

What makes a medical treatment look like it will work? What makes us feel that we are receiving good care, or that we can be cured? Why does the color of a pill influence its effectiveness, and how do placebos sometimes achieve what less inert medication cannot? In this course we will consider these problems from the vantage points of a physician and a cultural historian. Our methodology will combine techniques of aesthetic analysis with those of medical anthropology, history and practice. We will consider the narratology of medicine as we examine the way that patients tell their stories—and the way that doctors, nurses, buildings, wards, and machines enter those narratives. The latter agents derive their meaning from medical outcomes, but are also embedded in a field of aesthetic values that shape their apperception. We will look closely at a realm of medical experience that continues to evade the grasp of instruments: how the aesthetic experience shapes the phenomenon of medical treatment.

This course is one of three offered in The Experimental Capstone (XCAP) in the 2019-20 academic year. Enrollment in this course is restricted to 3rd and 4th year undergraduates in the College. For more information about XCAP, visit https://sifk.uchicago.edu/courses/xcap/

KNOW 27016 / 37016: Comparative Metahistory

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tuesday and Thursday 12:30pm-1:50pm
  • CMLT 27016, EALC 27016 / 37016
  • Haun Saussy (University of Chicago) & Ulrich Timme Kragh (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland)
  • SIFK 104

The seminar will focus on classical, medieval, and modern historiography from China, India, and Tibet seeking answers to three general questions: (1) How are senses of historical time created in Asian historiographies by means of rhetorical figures of repetition, parallelism, dramatic emplotment, frame stories, and interweaving storylines? (2) How are historical persons and events given meaning through use of poetic devices, such as comparison, simile, and metaphor? And (3) How do Asian histories impose themselves as realistic accounts of the past by means of authoritative devices using citation of temporal-spatial facts, quotation of authority, and/or reliance on established historical genres? The methods employed to answer these questions are here adapted from pre-modern Asian knowledge systems of literary theory, poetics, dramaturgy, and epistemology, and thus permit looking at other knowledge formations from within the discourse of the traditions themselves.

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.

Winter

KNOW 48809: Trompe l’oeil: Cognition and Depiction in Western Painting

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Art History, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Time TBD
  • ARTH 48809
  • Patrick Crowley
  • Location TBD

This course offers a focused examination of trompe l’oeil, a category of painting that is typically associated with the aims of illusion or deception. Yet who, or rather what set of criteria, adjudicates what counts as an illusion or deception in the first place? Indeed, why are illusion or deception even the appropriate or operative terms here? And how might we begin to attend in an historical fashion to the phenomenological question of how human agents, whether in the distant or even the more recent past, saw such pictures as pictures? For many art historians as well as philosophers and anthropologists of art, the historical emergence of trompe l’oeil constitutes a somewhat paradoxical phenomenon. On one hand, it counts as evidence for a natural-historical revolution in human depictive practices and cognition; on the other, it is an extreme, essentially transhistorical case of picture-making and perception. We will look at works spanning from ancient Roman wall-painting to Dutch Golden Age still life to the immersive environments of contemporary art through various methodological approaches including the philosophy and psychology of depiction, psychoanalysis, ethology (the study of animal behavior), and so-called “neuroarthistory.”

KNOW 40208: Man and/as Machine

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Wednesday 1:30pm-4:20pm
  • CHSS 40208
  • Anastasia Klimchynskaya
  • SIFK 104

Recently, Amazon employees fighting for better working conditions united under the slogan “We are not robots!” Recalling Karl Capek’s R.U.R., which coined the word robot (from the Czech word for slave), the slogan suggests the importance of the machine as an object and a concept in relation to which human identity has been – and continues to be – defined. Throughout the history of human thought, the machine has existed as both something that we are like (for example, Descartes comparing the brain to a machine) but also as an opposite to humanity (as in the aforementioned slogan). This course will trace this tension between the machine as an ‘Other’ and as a metaphor for our human self from the early modern period to the present. Beginning with theoretical and philosophical writing on the importance of oppositions and binaries to human identity and language, it will trace the history of the idea of the machine as it relates to the human in texts by Rene Descartes, La Mettrie, Emile Zola, Karl Capek, Alan Turing, and Donna Haraway, among others. In addition to confronting the complexity and ambiguity of a concept that ubiquitously shapes our lives today, students in this course will also wrestle with broader humanistic questions regarding the nature of the Self, the boundaries between self and other, and the relationship between human identity and technology.

KNOW 40207: Human Rights and Humanitarianism in the Modern World

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Thursday 2pm-4:50pm
  • CHSS 40207
  • Yan Slobodkin
  • SIFK 104

The related concepts of human rights and humanitarianism form the basis of contemporary ethical and political thought. Acting in the name of “humanity” is seen as unequivocally noble, and very few of us would ever claim to be anti-humanitarian or anti-human rights. Yet the moral consensus surrounding these terms obscures a contested and often disturbing history. Rather than uncritically accepting a triumphalist story of the progressive victory of human rights and humanitarianism, this course will explore how these concepts were constructed over time, paying special attention to how they were used in practice, what kind of rhetorical work they accomplished, and whose interests they served. 
The course will consider the origins of modern concepts of humanity, rights, citizenship, and social responsibility during the enlightenment and trace how they developed over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries. We will study the role of human rights and humanitarianism in the transformative events and processes of modern history, including the rise of nation-states, the trans-Atlantic slave trade and its abolition, imperial expansion and decolonization, the world wars, and twentieth-century genocides. Students will leave the course with an understanding of how human rights and humanitarianism can be applied to their own research interests. 

KNOW 28003: Tutorial: Histories of Scientific Communication, 1650-1914

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • M 3-5:50pm
  • HIPS 29636
  • Zachary Barr
  • Location TBD

In a 2004 address to the History of Science Society, historian James Secord exhorted his audience to play closer attention to what he called “knowledge in transit,” meaning the practices and mechanisms that have historically served to circulate knowledge claims, arguing that “questions of ‘what’ is being said can only be answered through a simultaneous understanding of ‘how,’ ‘where,’ ‘when,’ and ‘for whom.’”
The aim of this course is to apply Secord’s maxim to a series of case studies in the history of scientific communication. That is, each week we will historicize a different form of scientific communication or inscription, ranging from the public demonstrating to the scientific image, and situate it within a particular socio-political context and regime of knowledge production.

KNOW 22709: Introduction to Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Philosophy, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Time TBD
  • PHIL 22709, HIPS 22709
  • Thomas Pashby
  • Location 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.
Prerequisites: Prior knowledge of quantum mechanics is not required since we begin with an introduction to the formalism. Only familiarity with high school geometry is presupposed but expect to be introduced to other mathematical tools as needed.
 

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

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department:
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Time TBD
  • HIST 25308/35308, HIPS 25808, CHSS 35308, ANTH 34307/24307
  • Michael Rossi
  • Location TBD

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 practices affect historical and anthropological studies of science and medicine.

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, Signature Course
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Time TBD
  • HIST 12203, ITAL 16000, SIGN 26034, RLST 22203, CLCV 22216, MDVL 12203
  • Ada Palmer
  • Location TBD

This course will consider 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.
Prerequisites: Graduate students by consent only; register for the course as HIST 90000 (sect 53) Reading and Research: History.
Course Description Notes: History Gateways are introductory courses meant to appeal to first- through third-year students who may not have done previous course work on the topic of the course; topics cover the globe and span the ages.
 

KNOW 15620: Imagining Pagans in the Middle Ages

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: English, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Tu/Thu 12:30pm-1:50
  • ENG 15620
  • Joe Stadolnik & Julie Orlemanski
  • SIFK 104

This undergraduate course investigates what became of classical paganism during the Christian Middle Ages. How did medieval writers portray Greek and Roman practices of worship and its pantheon of gods? For medieval literate culture, classical myths were both an index of historical difference – 'we no longer believe what they believed' – and an ongoing source of poetic, narrative, and symbolic potency. Through the close-reading of a variety of source texts, the course examines what classical myths and pagan belief means to late-medieval poets and thinkers. In particular, we’ll look to how ‘imagining pagans’ incited the medieval historical imagination; inspired cosmological or proto-scientific thought experiments; disrupted orthodox theology; and finally, worked to establish fiction as a domain of literature. The poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer will be at the heart of the class, but we will also read widely across medieval culture. No previous experience with Middle English is necessary.

KNOW 40206: Assaulting the Paradigm: Franz Boas and His Contemporaries

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Tuesdays 2pm-4:50pm
  • CHSS 40206, ANTH 44810
  • Isaiah Lorado Wilner
  • SIFK 104

How do ideas succeed? What challenges do those who voice new ideas face as they try to gain adherents, and how do they rise to influence against the odds? This course examines how the unexpected, the unconventional, and the radically original can dethrone accepted truths. We will investigate this question through a case study of the anthropologist Franz Boas and his contemporaries, who assaulted the paradigm of race at the turn of the twentieth century. In addition to reading Boas, we will study the works of John Dewey, W. E. B. Du Bois, Sigmund Freud, Zora Neale Hurston, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Margaret Mead, and Thorstein Veblen. By tracing the mutual influence between Boas and thinkers in fields from psychology to philosophy, we can examine how knowledge is contested and propagated—including the challenges those who frame ideas face as they break away from the pack, the role of social networks in the success of concepts that go “against the grain” of conventional wisdom, and the special agency of multidisciplinary collaboration in the periods of ferment produced when authority is tested and new ideas are demanded.

KNOW 40205: Ecological Thinking

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Tuesdays 9:30am-12:20pm
  • CHSS 40205
  • Nicolette I. Bruner
  • SIFK 104

What is the environment, anyway? Is it a collection of resources? An entity in need of protection? An autonomous state of being? In this course, we will engage with writers and thinkers who have grappled with what it means to think ecologically. We will examine how environmental concerns have reached across borders to shape law, culture, and theories of knowledge on a global scale. Course themes will include environmental justice, the energy humanities, postcolonial environmentalisms, ecocriticism, ecofeminism, queer ecologies, and critical life studies. Readings will include works by Rachel Carson, William Cronon, Lawrence Buell, Helena Maria Viramontes, Christopher Stone, Rob Nixon, Tamara Giles-Vernick, Timothy Morton, and others.

KNOW 29941: XCAP: The Experimental Capstone - The Affect System

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Psychology, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Winter
  • Wednesdays 9:30am to 12:20pm
  • PSYCH 29941
  • Stephanie Cacioppo & Eric Oliver
  • SIFK 104

The Affect system in Medicine and the Political Science is a multidisciplinary course that aims to explore the concept of “affect” from different angles and unique perspectives. Drawing broadly from Medicine, philosophy and the political science, this course seeks to understand the affect system in different cultures and environments. The term “affect” typically refers to feelings beyond those of the traditional senses, with an emphasis on the experience of emotions and variations in hedonic tone. The structure and processes underlying mental contents are not readily apparent, however, and most cognitive processes occur non-consciously with only selected outcomes reaching awareness. Over millions of years of evolution, efficient and manifold mechanisms have evolved for differentiating hostile from hospitable stimuli and for organizing adaptive responses to these stimuli. These are critically important functions for the evolution of mammals, and the integrated set of mechanisms that serve these functions can be thought of as an “affect system.” It is this affect system – its architecture and operating characteristics, as viewed from neural, psychological, social, and political perspectives, that is the focus of the course.

This course is one of three offered in The Experimental Capstone (XCAP) in the 2019-20 academic year. Enrollment in this course is restricted to 3rd and 4th year undergraduates in the College. For more information about XCAP, visit https://sifk.uchicago.edu/courses/xcap/

Spring

KNOW 24106/34106: Uncanny Resemblances

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Art History, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Time TBD
  • ARTH 24106 / 34106
  • Patrick Crowley
  • Location TBD

This course examines one of the most captivating bodies of portrait art in the Western tradition. Captivating because they are at once disquietingly familiar and strange: familiar in their realism and psychological presence, yet foreign in their temporal remoteness. For well over a century, the study of Roman portraiture, an essentially German subfield of classical archaeology, has largely confined itself to forensic problems of dating and identification. More recent work has focused on social and political topics ranging from site-specific issues of context and display, patronage and power, gender, and the ideological stakes of recarving and reuse. Additionally, we will consider the historiographical and media-archaeological contexts that have profoundly shaped and framed our understanding of these objects, both in antiquity and modernity: e.g., the production (and reproduction) of wax and plaster death masks in Roman funerary custom; ancient theories in the domain of optics that were used to explain the phenomenon of portraits whose eyes appear to follow a beholder in space; how the stylistic category of “veristic” portraiture in the Roman Republic has its origins not in antiquity (despite the Latin etymology), but rather in the painting and photography of the Neue Sachlichkeit in Weimar Germany; and how the contemporary use of digital craniofacial anthropometry to study the recarving and reuse of Roman portraits relates to Sir Francis Galton’s criminological apparatus for creating composite photographic images using portraits from ancient coins as early as 1885.

KNOW 30926: Wonder, Wonders, and Knowing

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: SIFK, Social Thought
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Mondays 9:30am-12:20pm
  • SCTH 30926
  • Lorraine Daston
  • F 305

“In wonder is the beginning of philosophy,” wrote Aristotle; Descartes also thought that those deficient in wonder were also deficient in knowledge. But the relationship between wonder and inquiry has always been an ambivalent one: too much wonder stupefies rather than stimulates investigation, according to Descartes; Aristotle explicitly excluded wonders as objects of inquiry from natural philosophy. Since the sixteenth century, scientists and scholars have both cultivated and repudiated the passion of wonder. On the one hand, marvels (or even just anomalies) threaten to subvert the human and natural orders; on the other, the wonder they ignite fuels inquiry into their causes. Wonder is also a passion tinged with the numinous, and miracles have long stood for the inexplicable in religious contexts. This seminar will explore the long, vexed relationship between wonder, knowledge, and belief in the history of philosophy, science, and religion.

Prerequisites: Reading knowledge of at least one language besides English, some background in intellectual history.

KNOW 40308: Political Theologies of Slavery and Freedom in the Atlantic World

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: SIFK, Social Thought
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Thursdays 2:00pm-4:50pm
  • SCTH 40308
  • Alex Mazzaferro
  • SIFK 104

This seminar examines the interdisciplinary form of knowledge known as “political theology” in the context of Atlantic slavery. The course will trace two major developments. First, we will explore how Christian metaphysics facilitated colonialism and slavery, focusing on the emergence of race as a theological (rather than a biological) concept and on the self-fulfilling providentialism that structured fantasies of Euro-Christian world dominance. Second, we will explore how indigenous and African cosmologies and Christianities informed enslaved resistance and abolitionism. Our readings will range from works of political theology (Augustine, Calvin, Hobbes) to early American writings (Las Casas, Ligon, Jefferson) to Black Atlantic anti-slavery texts (Wheatley, Walker, Turner). We’ll consider the explorer George Best’s rewriting of the biblical Curse of Ham, Francis Bacon’s claim that Europe’s superior technology evidenced its Chosen status, and the ideology of “hereditary heathenism” that forestalled early efforts to convert slaves to Christianity. Likewise, we’ll consider the role of obeah in the Haitian Revolution, the competing attitudes toward Christian slave revolt found in fiction by Douglass and Stowe, and the continued contestation of what W. E. B. Du Bois called “the new religion of whiteness.” Secondary authors may include Charles Taylor, Talal Asad, Max Weber, Colin Kidd, Rebecca Goetz, Jared Hickman, Katharine Gerbner, Jorge Cañizares-Esguerra, and J. Kameron Carter.

KNOW 40307: Seeing and Knowing

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Tuesdays 3:30pm-6:20pm
  • Alex Campolo
  • SIFK 104

The concept of visuality attends to the ways in which things become seeable, knowable, and governable. Scholars who study optical instruments, architecture, cinema, and media have done much to show us how visual technologies change our ways of seeing. Others in the history of science study how practices of observation transform our understanding of nature—and ourselves. 
This comparative course analyzes regimes of visuality in different cultural and historical contexts. After a short introduction on the philosophy of visual experience and psychology of visual perception, we will investigate a series of configurations of seeing and knowing. These sites range from the history of disability to contemporary climate science, and students will be asked to contribute visual topics from their own research or disciplines for collective exploration in our seminar. Through comparative study, we will work to develop new categories or relationships for linking perception and knowledge.

KNOW 53003: Explanation

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Philosophy, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Time TBD
  • PHIL 53003
  • Thomas Pashby
  • Location TBD

This course surveys recent work on explanation across philosophical disciplines. Beginning with classic accounts of scientific explanation we will proceed to consider recent work on mechanical explanation, mathematical explanation, causal explanation (particularly in the physical and social sciences), the relation between explanation and understanding, and metaphysical explanation (particularly the idea of explanation as ground). (II)

KNOW 28002: Tutorial: Power and Medicine

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Time TBD
  • HIPS 29635
  • Emily Webster and Caine Jordan
  • Location TBD

The marvel of modern medicine has been lauded as a great leveler of the human condition. From sanitary regimes, to the discovery of antibiotics, to anaesthesia and the development of successful surgery and lifestyle intervention, medicine has improved the lives of all humankind. However, research shows that this improvement is not uniform - that some benefit more from medicine than others. This disparity, which public health scientists and medical researchers have followed for decades, is borne of a complex set of societal factors - including socioeconomic status, race, genetic background, environment, and lifestyle. These studies show us a key feature of medicine: it does not exist in a vacuum, and one’s lifespan and quality of life are as tethered to social factors as they are to scientific innovation. 
This class will explore the effects of uneven power systems on health and human medicine in modern history.  We will explore how different peoples – of diverse racial, socioeconomic and historical backgrounds - experienced medical and sanitary regimes, and how they navigated disparities in access. Every week we will examine a particular theme in the history of medicine and explore its effects first on a regional scale in the U.S., and the following meeting in the global context. The goal in this structure is to demonstrate the diversity of experience and the complex systems that influence medical regimes.

KNOW 28001: Interrogating “Progress” at the 1893 World’s Columbian Expo

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • W 10:30AM – 1:20PM
  • HIPS 29634
  • Ashley Clark
  • Location TBD

TUTORIAL: The aim of the course is to explore how deep the notion of “progress” burrowed into the foundation of Chicago’s 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition (also known as the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair). On the surface, the World’s Fair was all about progress, made explicit in the planning documents, opening speeches, lecture and exhibit titles, and even in the inscriptions on visitors’ postcards (which, it should be noted, were the first postcards ever sent from the USA). It was, after all, a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the “discovery” of the Americas by Christopher Columbus. In this course, we will learn about explicit considerations of “progress,” but we will also discuss allegories of it. Together we will practice close-readings of primary and secondary texts, close-looking of images and objects, and close-listening of music and sounds from the fair. The course will encourage students to seek evidence in new places and discover new tools for analysis including visual and aural analyses. It should, also, add a new appreciation for the historical significance of the physical space in which they live and study.

KNOW 37612: Literary Theory and the Hebrew Bible

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Bible
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Time TBD
  • BIBL 37612
  • Simeon Chavel
  • Location TBD

Readings in literary theory and in select works of the Hebrew Bible, with special attention to voice and genre. Seminar-style presentations and discussion.

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

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Art History, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Time TBD
  • HIST 57000, ANTH 54835, ARTH 47300, CHSS 57000
  • Patrick Crowley & Michael Rossi
  • Location 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.

KNOW 28900: Magic, Science, and Religion

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, Religious Studies, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Time TBD
  • RLST 28900, ANTH 23906, AASR 30501
  • Alireza 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: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Time TBD
  • CMST 34112/24112, HIST 36808/26808, SALC 30511/2051
  • Rochona Majumdar
  • Location TBD

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, and Urdu, this course will ask if Indian cinema can be thought of as a form of knowledge of the twentieth century. 

KNOW 40309: Miracles, Marvels, and Mystics: Unknowing in Medieval England

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: English, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Tuesdays 11am-1:50pm
  • ENGL 40309
  • Joe Stadolnik
  • SIFK 104

In this seminar we will explore how premodern literary texts imagined experiences of ‘unknowing’: narrating scenes of astonishment, misapprehension, and disbelief. Our primary readings will draw on a rich tradition of vernacular writing in medieval England. We will read across that tradition’s genres, as writers experimented with ways to represent the wondrous, the occluded, the incomprehensible, and the horrific in a variety of forms, among them spectacular miracle plays, prose exercises in mystical negation, and the poetry of dreamworlds and alchemical secrecy.

KNOW 27017: Passing

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies, English, Gender and Sexuality Studies, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:30-10:50am
  • GNSE 27017, ENGL 27017, CRES 27017
  • Nicolette I. Bruner
  • SIFK 104

In this course, we examine how people move within and between categories of identity, with particular attention to boundary crossings of race and gender in U.S. law and literature from the nineteenth century to the present.  Law provides a venue and a language through which forces of authority police categories of identity that, at Jean Stefancic and Richard Delgado observe, “society invents, manipulates, or retires when convenient.” Readings will include theoretical texts as well as court rulings, cultural ephemera, and literary texts.

KNOW 21419: Indigenous Knowledge and the Foundations of Modern Social Theory

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Tuesday 2pm- 4:50pm
  • HIPS 21419
  • Isaiah Lorado Wilner
  • Registrar Room TBD

Indigenous people are often seen as “objects” of social theory; this course considers their role as subjects of social theory—makers of modern knowledge who made foundational contributions to basic ideas about humanity. We will take up three case studies, each of which highlights an indigenous people who unleashed a cascade of fresh thinking: the Australian Aborigines who influenced the ideas of Émile Durkheim and Sigmund Freud; the Native peoples of the Northwest Coast of America who stimulated Franz Boas to reconstruct the concept of culture; and the indigenous peoples of the Trobriand Islands who shaped Bronisław Malinowski’s ideas about gifts, hospitality, and reciprocity. As we will see, much of what we call social theory turns out to rely on a vast archive of nonstate knowledge generated by indigenous intellectuals. This course names the generators of the knowledge, investigating how ideas circulate, intermix, and transform as they exit their sites of enunciation and go global. To trace these connections, we will make excursions to Georges Bataille, Jacques Derrida, and Judith Butler and also to indigenous studies, multispecies ethnography, and the environmental humanities. Behind such foundational constructs as totem and taboo, the Oedipus complex, and le don (“the gift”), there exist equally important indigenous philosophies—including ideas of sustainability, diversity, and collective survival that indigenous intellectuals facing the profound shock of colonial violence archived in the “host body” of social theory, preparing the resurgence of today.

KNOW 29971: XCAP: The Experimental Capstone - What is an Intervention (for Mental Health)?

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Human Development, Health and Society, SIFK
  • Year: 2019-20
  • Term: Spring
  • Monday 1:30-4:20pm
  • CHDV 20971, HLTH 29971
  • Eugene Raikhel and Michael Marcangelo
  • SIFK 104

What does it mean for a practice to be understood as an intervention in the domain of mental health? Interventions in mental health can be carried out with tools ranging from chemicals and electrical impulses, to words, affects, and social relationships, to organizations. They can involve acting on a range of distinct targets -- from brains and bodies to psyches and emotional conflicts to housing and employment. This course will use a focus on mental health interventions to introduce students to a range of conceptual and practical issues surrounding mental health and illness, as well as to raise a set of broader questions about the relationships between knowledge formation, practice, ethics, and politics. The questions we will ask throughout the course will include: What does it mean for an intervention to be successful? How is effectiveness understood and measured? Are mental health interventions ethically-neutral or do they contain embedded within them assumptions about the normal, the pathological, and the good life? We will think through these questions vis-a-vis readings drawn from psychiatry, psychology, and the social sciences -- but more importantly, through weekly practical and experiential activities. Each week will focus on one kind of mental health intervention, and will involve a particular kind of practical learning activity.

This course is one of three offered in The Experimental Capstone (XCAP) in the 2019-20 academic year. Enrollment in this course is restricted to 3rd and 4th year undergraduates in the College. For more information about XCAP, visit https://sifk.uchicago.edu/courses/xcap/

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.