Autumn

The History of Capitalism in India

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: History, South Asian Languages & Civilizations, MAPSS
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tues-Thurs 9:30-10:50 am
  • HIST 26805/36805, SALC 26805/36805, KNOW 36805
  • Elizabeth Chatterjee

This discussion-based, seminar-style course explores the trajectory of capitalism in India from the late colonial period to the present. How should we understand colonial India’s place in the global history of capitalism? What was the relationship between postcolonial economic planning and changing class politics in the decades after independence in 1947? Finally, has India begun to converge upon a global paradigm of neoliberalism since the 1980s? As part of this course, we will read classic texts of Indian political economy, analyzing how both the theory and practice of capitalism in the region challenge Western-centered histories. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/. 

Christianity and Slavery in America, 1619-1865

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: History, History of Christianity, History of Religions, RAME
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • Wed 9:30 am - 12:20 pm
  • HCHR 42901, HIST 47102, RAME 42901, KNOW 42901
  • Curtis Evans

This seminar will examine the relationship between Christian thought and the practice of slavery as they evolved historically, especially in the context of European enslavement of peoples of African descent in the colonies of British North America and in the antebellum South. Emphasis will be placed on the ways in which Christianity functioned as an ideological justification of the institution of slavery and an amelioration of practices deemed abusive within slave societies. The following questions will be addressed in some form: Why did some Christians oppose slavery at a specific time and in a particular historical context? In other words, why did slavery become a moral problem for an influential though minority segment of the United States by the early 19th century? What was the process by which and why did white evangelical Christians, especially in the South, become the most prominent defenders of slavery as it was increasingly confined to the South? What were some of the consequences of debates about slavery in regard to efforts to engage broader social reform? What role did race play in the historical development of slavery? How did people of African descent shape and practice Christianity in British North America and the Southern States of the United States? Although our focus is on what became the United States of America, we also linger on discussions about the broader international dimensions of slavery and slavery's importance in the development of the Americas.  This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/.  

Riding about the South Side

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Environmental and Urban Studies
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • KNOW 22211, ENST 22211
  • William Nickell

This course is based on bicycling through the South Side neighborhoods surrounding the University of Chicago. There will be some readings, but the primary input will be from riding-from seeing things at street level and speaking with people who are committed to living in places that often have been abandoned by others. We can read and theorize about the community surrounding us, but the premise in this class is that our work should begin with experience in that world, with direct contact and in conversation. My approach in this class is less to teach than to lead you to where things are waiting to be learned and to people who can teach you about their world better than I. Some of the themes we will cover include land rights and exploitation, architecture, town planning, placemaking, urban farming and ecology, sustainability, grass roots organization, labor rights and exploitation, immigration, social work, and street art. Each ride is organized around a set of key concerns and includes a conversation with a local insider who can help us better understand them.

Law and Citizenship in Latin America

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: History, Latin American Studies, Law, Letters, and Society
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tue 2:00 PM-4:50 PM
  • KNOW 36509, HIST 36509, LACS 36509, LLSO 26509
  • Brodwyn Fischer

This course will examine law and citizenship in Latin America from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries. We will explore the development of Latin American legal systems in both theory and practice, examine the ways in which the operation of these systems has shaped the nature of citizenship in the region, discuss the relationship between legal and other inequalities, and analyze some of the ways in which legal documents and practices have been studied by scholars in order to gain insight into questions of culture, nationalism, family, violence, gender, and race. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/.

Classical Theories of Religion

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, History of Religions
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • T, Thur 9:30 am -
  • KNOW 35005, AASR 32900, ANTH 35003, HREL 32900
  • Christian Wedemeyer

This course will survey the development of theoretical perspectives on religion and religions in the 19th and 20th centuries and the institutional and historical contexts within which they developed. Thinkers to be studied include Kant, Hume, Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, Marx, Muller, Tiele, Tylor, Robertson Smith, Frazer, Durkheim, Weber, Freud, James, Otto, van der Leeuw, Wach, and Eliade. ​This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/.

God of Manga: Osamu Tezuka’s “Phoenix,” Buddhism, and Post-WWII Manga and Anime

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Fundamentals: Issues and Texts
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • Tue-Thurs 3:30 -4:50 PM
  • FNDL 24613, KNOW 24613
  • Ada Palmer

How can the Buddhist axiom "All Life is Sacred" describe a universe that contains the atrocities of WWII? Osamu Tezuka, creator of Astro Boy and father of modern Japanese animation, wrestled with this problem over decades in his science fiction epic Phoenix (Hi no Tori), celebrated as the philosophical masterpiece of modern manga. Through a close reading of Phoenix and related texts, this course explores the challenges genocide and other atrocities pose to traditional forms of ethics, and how we understand the human species and our role in nature. The course will also examine the flowering of manga after WWII, how manga authors bypassed censorship to help people understand the war and its causes, and the role manga and anime have played in Japan's global contributions to politics, science, medicine, technology, techno-utopianism, environmentalism, ethics, theories of war and peace, global popular culture, and contemporary Buddhism. Readings will be mainly manga, and the final paper will have a creative option including the possibility of creating graphic work.

Technologies of Race Making

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: Anthropology, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Sociology, MAPSS
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • Th 9:30-10:50 AM
  • KNOW 32012 / 22012 CRES 32012, SOCI 30325, HIPS 22012/CHSS 32012, ANTH 33336
  • Iris Clever
  • SIFK 104

This course considers the intersections between technology, science, and race. It explores how technologies have been developed and used to assign racial meaning to people's identities and bodies and how this has impacted economic, political, and social power structures. We will read studies relating to historical and present-day technologies and discuss topics such as racial science, phrenology, biometry, surveillance and policing, artificial intelligence and automation, and data production and reuse. A major theme that runs through the course is the practice of race-making, how biological race is enacted and made relevant in specific technological practices. Which assumptions and expectations about human variation are built into the technologies? What are the effects of its use in practice? How does race making configure into more durable forms, such as standards, databanks, and protocols? This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/.

Explorations of Mars

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, MAPSS, Environmental Studies
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • T/Th 12:30-1:50 PM
  • KNOW 36070, HIST 35200, ENST 26070, HIPS 26070
  • Jordan Bimm
  • SIFK 104

Mars is more than a physical object located millions of miles from Earth. Through centuries of knowledge-making people have made the “Red Planet” into a place that looms large in cultural and scientific imagination. Mars is now the primary target for human exploration and colonization in the Solar System. How did this happen? What does this mean? What do we know about Mars, and what’s at stake when we make knowledge about it? Combining perspectives from the social sciences and humanities, this course investigates how knowledge about Mars is created and communicated in not only science and technology fields but across public culture. A major focus will be learning how Mars has been embedded within diverse social and political projects here on Earth. Through reading-inspired group discussions and instructor-led experiential research projects, the course will move from the earliest visual observations of Mars to recent robotic missions on the planet’s surface. In doing so, this seminar will critically grapple with evolving human efforts to make Mars usable. No prior knowledge of Mars is required. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/

The End of Certainty? Chaos, Complexity, and Human Life

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, IRHUM
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • T/Th 3:30 - 4:50 PM
  • IRHU 26075 / KNOW 26075 / HIPS 26075
  • Isabel Gabel
  • SIFK 104

What is uncertainty? Is it a temporary state of affairs, a situation to be resolved with more data, or is it permanent feature of our world? This course examines how uncertainty, once understood as the absence of knowledge, has become an object of knowledge in its own right. We will pay particular attention to the fields of chaos theory and complexity science, which emerged in the late twentieth century from physics and mathematics but have since become widely applied sciences, making their way into fields as diverse as molecular biology and economic theory. Together we will follow the path of ‘complexity’ in its many forms, reading texts by geneticists, physicists, climate scientists, philosophers, economists and many others. By the end of the course we will have developed a shared archive of uncertainty, and gained a better understanding of how uncertainty underpins what we do, in fact, know. This course is collaborative, interdisciplinary and historical, and welcomes all interested students, including those with backgrounds in history, philosophy, biological sciences, environmental studies, mathematics, and economics.

Human Bodies in History

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, IRHUM
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Autumn
  • M/W 3:00-4:20 PM
  • IRHU 26076 / KNOW 26076
  • Iris Clever and Jordan Bimm
  • SIFK 104

How have we come to know and experience our bodies? This undergraduate seminar develops humanities research skills necessary to study the body in history. Spanning early modern cultural practices to modern medicine, science, and technology, this course explores how ideas and practices concerning the body have changed over time and how the body itself is shaped by culture and society. A major focus will be learning how to conduct different forms of historical research to produce cutting-edge humanities scholarship about the human body. Readings will introduce key themes and recent scholarship including work on disability, reproduction, race, gender, ethics, extreme environments, and identity. This dynamic research group will grapple with issues at the heart of our corporeal existence by combining perspectives from the history of science, medicine, and technology, cultural history, anthropology, and science and technology studies (STS). 

Winter

When Cultures Collide: The Multicultural Challenge in Liberal Democracies

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Comparative Human Development, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Human Rights, Psychology
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Wed : 09:30 AM-12:20 PM
  • ANTH 45600 / CHDV 25699 / GNSE 45600 / HMRT 35600 / KNOW 45699 / PSYC 45300
  • 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.

Philosophy of History:  Narrative & Explanation

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Philosophy
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Tue Thu : 03:30 PM-04:50 PM
  • CHSS 35110 / HIPS 25110 / HIST 35110 / KNOW 31401 / PHIL 20506 / PHIL 30506
  • Robert Richards
  • TBA

This lecture-discussion course will focus on the nature of historical explanation and the role of narrative in providing an understanding of historical events. Among the figures considered are Gibbon, Kant, Humboldt, Ranke, Collingwood, Acton, Fraudel, Furet, Hempel, Danto. (B) (III)

Religion, Medicine, and the Experience of Illness

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Committee on Clinical and Translational Science, Health and Society, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Sociology
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Mon Wed : 01:30 PM-02:50 PM
  • CCTS 21012 / HIPS 26312 / HIST 24923 / HLTH 26302 / KNOW 26302 / SOCI 20542
  • Mark Lambert
  • TBA

This course introduces students to both the dynamic relationship between religion and medicine and the role of religion as it relates to the experience of illness. Through a survey of a broad selection of religious traditions, textual genres, and case studies, students will evaluate how religion offers a pliable explanatory system (through myths, symbols, rituals, etc.) to address questions of causation, coping, and curing vis-à-vis illness. The historical relationship between religions and medical systems has been fascinatingly complex. We will encounter examples where religion and medicine work in tandem as complementary explanatory systems, e.g., with devotion to holy figures such as Saint Jude. We will also discuss what happens when religion usurps the explanatory role of medicine, e.g., when the activity of spirits becomes the diagnostic explanation for a medical condition such as epilepsy. Drawing upon literature from art history, medical anthropology, sociology, history, and theology, this course surveys the impressive variety of responses to illness both across religious traditions and within those traditions. Prior knowledge of religious studies and/or medical history is not required for the course.

Coming of Age: Youth Cultures in Postcolonial India

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Critical Race and Ethnic Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, History, Sociology
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • TBA
  • KNOW 21352/1 [22794]
  • Titas De Sarkar
  • Arranged ARR

In this course, we will gain a deeper understanding of how certain key moments in postcolonial India-from student protests to an economic transition to globalization, from rise of Bollywood to the omnipresence of social media-have shaped the youth of the country and how young people in turn have been at the forefront of some of the major events and have created history on their own terms. We will ask-if youth is a construct like gender and caste then how was it constructed over the last seventy years? We will keep two guiding questions in mind-who all are considered to be the youth in postcolonial India? And-what are the lived experiences of young people during this time? The ever changing, seemingly arbitrary, and conflicting definitions of youth in government reports, commercial advertisements, or popular culture demands a thorough analysis of this category inside out. We will take an inter-disciplinary approach and examine how the identity of being young intersects with other identities such as class, ethnicity, linguistic abilities and so on. By identifying the constitutive elements of being part of the young generation in a young nation such as India, we will challenge any homogeneous perception of "the youth" and read young people's experiences in their own contexts. Focusing on youth culture in South Asia will help us think critically about youth culture studies where the Global South remains underrepresented.

The Role of Science in U.S. Education Reform

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Comparative Human Development
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • M/W 1:30-2:50 PM
  • CHDV 23050 / KNOW 23050
  • Lily Ye

How should science inform the improvement of education? Can education be studied scientifically? These questions have haunted American education research since its 19th century beginnings. In this course, Lagemann’s history of U.S. education research, An Elusive Science, will serve as a central orienting text, and students will read primary sources by the figures it describes: Dewey, James, Thorndike, Coleman, Tyler, and more. The course will end with a consideration of contemporary topics such as research-practice partnerships and design research. In taking on the case of American education research, students will confront and discuss the entanglements of epistemology and history, measurement and social organization, knowledge and authority.

The Scientist in the Nineteenth-Century Imagination

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, MAPSS
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Tues 3:30 - 5:50 pm
  • KNOW 36088 / CHSS 36088 / HIPS 26088 / CMLT 36088
  • Anastasia Klimchynskaya

The nineteenth century saw both the professionalization of science and the specialization of its practitioners. In this age of “human empire” produced by industrialization, new technologies offered humanity unprecedented dominion over the natural world, and the “scientist,” a term coined in 1834, marked the advent of the idea of a vocation dedicated to that mastery. Moreover, by the end of the century, the natural philosophers and polymaths of earlier ages had given way to chemists, physicists, biologists, and statisticians, whose scope of study was necessarily both deeper and narrower. These developments produced a new social and political positioning for the scientist – an expert, an authority, a wielder of power. This class explores how nineteenth-century fiction writers, from Mary Shelley and Edgar Allan Poe to Jules Verne and Arthur Conan Doyle, engaged with these emerging and transforming conceptualizations of the scientist figure. We will pair our literary explorations with non-fiction readings texts by thinkers and scientists such as Humphry Davy, Karl Pearson, Claude Bernard, William Whewell, and Max Weber (“Science as Vocation”) about what the scientist should be and science should do. Additionally, we’ll consider how this literary genealogy influences both our fictional portrayal of science to this day as well as our perceptions of it – from our contemporary distrust of expertise to our fear of the scientist playing god. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/.

Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Morality

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: Psychology, MAPSS
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Tues 12:30-3:20 PM
  • PSYCH 33165/23165, KNOW 33165
  • Jean Decety

Morality is essential for societal functioning and central to human flourishing.  People across all cultures seem to have the same sense about morality.  They simply know what morality is, often without being able to concretely define what exactly it means to label something as a moral kind.  But when one tries to more precisely and scientifically define what morality is, things become less clear and more complex.  As we’ll see in the class, the field of morality is incredibly dynamic, and characterized more by competing theories and perspectives than by scientific consensus.  Some research has worked deductively, starting with a theoretical definition (like the moral foundation theory) to generate hypotheses.  Other research has taken a more inductive approach, starting with lay people’s perception of morality. 

The past decades have seen an explosion of theoretical empirical research in the study of morality.  Amongst the most exciting and novel findings and theories, evolutionary biologists and anthropologists have shown that morality has evolved to facilitate cooperation and social interactions.  Developmental psychologists came up with ingenious paradigms, demonstrating that some elements underpinning morality are in place much earlier than we thought in preverbal infants.  Social psychologists and behavioral economists examine the relative roles of emotion and reasoning, as well as how social situations affect moral or amoral behavior. Social neuroscientists are mapping brain mechanisms implicated in moral decision-making.  The lesson from all this new knowledge is clear: human moral cognition and behavior cannot be separated from biology, its development, culture and social context. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/. 

Britain in the Age of Steam, 1783–1914

  • Course Level: Graduate, Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: History
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • HIST 21404/31404 / KNOW 31410 / CHSS 31404 / ENST 21404 / HIPS 21404 / LLSO 21404
  • F. Albritton Jonsson

In the Victorian era, Britain rose to global dominance by pioneering a new fossil-fuel economy. This course explores the profound impact of coal and steam on every aspect of Victorian society, from politics and religion to industrial capitalism and the pursuit of empire. Such historical investigation also serves a second purpose by helping us see our own fossil-fuel economy with fresh eyes through direct comparison with Victorian energy use. Assignments include short essays based on energy "field work" and explorations in past and present material culture. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/.

Scientific and Humanistic Contributions to Knowledge Formation

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Comparative Human Development
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Wed 11:30 AM - 2:20 PM
  • KNOW 47015, CHDV 47015
  • Dario Mestripieri

In this course, we will explore whether the sciences and the humanities can make complementary contributions to the formation of knowledge, thus leading to the integration and unification of human knowledge. In the first part of the course we will take a historical approach to the issue; we will discuss how art and science were considered complementary for much of the 18th and 19th century (for example, in the views and work of Wolfgang Goethe), how they became separate (‘the two cultures’) in the middle of the 20th century with the compartmentalization of academic disciplines, and how some attempts have recently been made at a reunification under the concept of ‘consilience’. In the second part of the course, we will focus on conceptual issues such as the cognitive value of literature, the role of ideas in knowledge formation in science and literature, the role of creativity in scientific and literary production, and how scientific and philosophical ideas have been incorporated into literary fiction in the genre known as ‘the novel of ideas’. As an example of the latter, we will read the novel ‘One, No One, and 100,000’ (1926) by Luigi Pirandello and discuss how this author elaborated and articulated a view of the human persona (including issues of identity and personality) from French philosophers and psychologists such as Henri Bergson and Alfred Binet. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/.

Sociology of urban planning: cities, territories, environments

  • Course Level: Graduate, Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: Political Science, Public Policy Studies - Harris School, Sociology, Architectural Studies
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • ARCH 20521 / CHST 20521 / ENST 20521 / GEOG 20521 / KNOW 30521 / PBPL 20521 / PLSC 20521 / PLSC 30521 / PPHA 30521 / SOCI 30521
  • Neil Brenner

This course provides a high-intensity introduction to the sociology of urban planning under modern capitalism.  Building upon an interdisciplinary literature drawn from urban sociology, planning theory and history as well as urban social science and environmental studies, we explore the emergence, development and continual transformation of urban planning in relation to changing configurations of capitalist urbanization, modern state power, sociopolitical insurgency and environmental crisis.  Following an initial exploration of divergent conceptualizations of “planning,” the “city” and “urbanization,” we investigate (a) the changing sites and targets of planning intervention; (b) the evolution of political and institutional struggles regarding the instruments, goals and constituencies of planning; (c) the contradictory connections between planning and diverse configurations of inequality, power and domination in modern society (including class, race, gender and sexuality); and (d) the question of whether and how planning strategies might help produce alternative (more socially just and environmentally sane) forms of urbanization in the future.   This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/. 

Art and Technology Since World War I

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Art History, Media, Art, and Design
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Tuesdays, 2:00-4:50 PM
  • ARTH 31310 / KNOW 21310 / MAAD 15310
  • Talia Shabtay
  • Cochrane-Woods Art Ctr 152

This seminar tracks the entanglements of visual art and "technology," a term which took on an increasingly expanded set of meanings beginning in the early decades of the twentieth century. Focusing on the period between World War I and the present, we examine these expanded meanings and ask how the work of art fundamentally shifted with, extended, tested, or acted upon "technology." We consider cases from the art historical avant gardes, the impact of cybernetics and systems thinking on architecture and visual perception, midcentury collectives that sought to institutionalize collaborations between artists and engineers, as well as more subtle exchanges between art and technology brewing since the Cold War. Course readings drawn from art history and the histories of science and technology, as well as site visits to art collections on campus, will inform our investigation. Students will gain historical insights into the relation between visual art and technology; develop analytical tools for critically engaging with the present-day interface of art, science, and engineering; and consider the implications for the futures we imagine. Students will have the option to propose alternative final projects that incorporate or extend practices across visual art and the sciences on campus.

Students must attend first class to confirm enrollment.

Normal People

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Health and Society, IRHUM
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • IRHU 27009 / KNOW 27009 / HLTH 26074
  • Tal Arbel

We often worry about what’s normal and what’s not. Is my IQ above average? What about my BMI? Should I be feeling this way? Is there a pill for that? People seem to have always been concerned with fitting in, but the way of describing the general run of practices and conditions as “normal” is a rather recent phenomenon; testament to the vast influence modern science have had on how we understand ourselves. Charting a wide-ranging history of the ways that human traits and behaviors came to be classified and measured, this research seminar will introduce students to the theories and techniques used to distinguish the normal from the pathological and the deviant for the past 200 years. We will read Cesare Lombroso on born criminals and Richard von Krafft-Ebing on sexual perversion; learn about psychological tests and developmental milestones; and consider the kinds of people these scientific and medical efforts brought into being. In addition to lecture and class discussions, the course includes close engagement with a diverse historical archive: scientific and medical treatises, clinical case studies, diagnostic tools, and patient narratives. Students will also explore how the University of Chicago contributed to the definition and establishment of normality through a project at the university’s archival collections.

Knowing Animals

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: History, MAPSS
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • KNOW 36071, HIST 35102
  • Brad Bolman

“What is an animal, and are we them?” In “Knowing Animals,” we will approach this deceptively simple question from multiple angles, exploring the diverse ways that humans come to know and differentiate themselves from other animals and the implications of that labor. How can we understand and write about the lived experience of a bat, an octopus, or a hawk? Who decides which species are essential to experimental science, and which are simply edible? Why do we buy canine pharmaceuticals or construct tiger preserves in Oklahoma? The course will explore how hunting, eating, petkeeping, labor, experimentation, and cohabitation with animals contribute to the formation of knowledge. We will draw on scholarship in history, cultural anthropology, philosophy, and critical theory, as well as novels and films in order to do so. The course is meant to serve in part as an introduction to the topics and methods of animal history and animal studies, so we will read foundational texts as well as recent scholarship on the intersections of animality, capital, disability, gender, and race. Students will leave with core competencies in the field as well as—hopefully—a deeper sense of what it means to be human. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/.

SIFK MAPSS Core: Ways of Knowing

  • Course Level: Graduate; undergraduate with permission
  • Department: History, MAPSS
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • KNOW 36054, HIST 35103
  • Katherine Buse and Isabel Gabel

This seminar introduces students to the processes of knowledge formation that shape our understandings of nature, our theories of social life, and our projections of possible futures. “Ways of Knowing” examines how claims to knowledge emerge out of disciplinary, historical, and political contexts, as well as local cultural factors both explicit and unspoken. How do we decide  what we know and don’t know? How have societies produced, stabilized, or disrupted knowledge? How do techniques of inscription, observation and mediation—like seismographs, experiments, and simulations—allow us to see what we know and to know what we see? The course will take an expansive approach to knowledge formation by considering the interface of epistemology, social theory, technology, and governance.

"Ways of Knowing" is a required seminar for all students wishing to undertake the Formation of Knowledge MAPSS track. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/. This course counts towards the MAPSS graduate methods requirement. 

KNOW 20035/30035: Babylonian Knowledge: The Mesopotamian Way of Thought

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Tue Thu : 09:30 AM-10:50 AM
  • NEHC 20035
  • Seth Richardson
  • Oriental Institute 210

This course has two goals. The first is an interior goal, to introduce students to the major categories of knowledge created and employed in ancient Assyria and Babylonia, as the Mesopotamian "core curriculum." This was the corpus of material that had to be mastered by scribes of the Neo-Sumerian and Neo-Assyrian periods, including proverbs, lists, omens, geographies, medicine, magic, law, mathematics, history, royal wisdom, and accounting. The second goal is "exterior": to examine the epistemological precepts on which knowledge was constructed. What was held to be knowable? What methods and techniques were used to identify and justify knowledge as valid or authentic? What roles did copying, editing, authorship, and literacy play in the production of knowledge texts? How the organization and preservation of texts create canons and curricula? No prior knowledge of Mesopotamian history or literature is required. Students are asked to think with the primary texts, not to demonstrate mastery of them.

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

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Tue Thu : 12:30 PM-01:50 PM
  • HIST 17410 / KNOW 18400 / HIPA 18400
  • Robert Richards
  • TBA

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

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, Signature Course, Architectural Studies
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Mon Wed Fri : 09:30 AM-10:20 AM
  • ARCH 20085 / KNOW 26000 / SIGN 26000
  • James Osborne
  • Location TBD

Why are so many societies - including our own - obsessed with building monumental things like pyramids and palaces? What do we learn about cultures past and present from the monuments they built? This course explores famous monuments from around the world to answer these questions through the lens of archaeology, architecture, and art history.

KNOW 25804: Feminists Read the Greeks

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Gender and Sexuality Studies, Political Science
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Winter
  • Tue Thu : 03:30 PM-04:50 PM
  • PLSC 25804, PLSC 45804, GNSE 25804, GNSE 45804
  • Demetra Kasimis
  • Foster Hall 107

Since the 1970s, thinkers writing on gender, sex, and sexuality have staged a series of generative, critical, and sometimes controversial encounters with ancient Greek thought, politics, and culture. As one classicist puts it, feminist theory has "gone a long way… toward inscribing classical Greek philosophy at the origins of some of the most tenacious assumptions about sexual difference in the Western tradition." This course explores the ways that the texts and practices of ancient Greece, if not the idea of "the Greeks," have provided theoretical and symbolic resources for feminists and others to think critically about gender (and sexuality) as a conceptual and political category. What sorts of interpretive and historical assumptions govern these engagements? To what extent might the trajectories of gender studies, feminism, and classics be intertwined? Was there a concept of "gender" in ancient Greece? Of sexuality? Is it fair to say, as many have, that classical Greek ideas about gender and the sexed body are wholly opposed to those of the moderns? What other oppositions could this habit of thought be working to keep in place? Sample reading list: Sophocles' Antigone, Plato's Republic, Foucault's The Use of Pleasure, Ann Carson's Oresteia, Judith Butler's Antigone's Claim.

Spring

The Crisis of Expertise

  • Course Level:
  • Department: MAPSS
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Spring
  • KNOW 36077
  • Tal Arbel

In recent years, there has been intensive talk about an unfolding “crisis of expertise” in liberal-democratic societies. Along with attacks on the credibility of scientific knowledge, technical experts are seen as detached elites whose impartiality is questionable and whose motivations can no longer be trusted. As British MP Michael Gove stated just before the Brexit referendum: “the people of this country have had enough of experts.” The COVID-19 pandemic poses a particularly difficult challenge to the authority of scientists, doctors and other experts, and has raised tough questions about the place of expertise in our lives. What are the consequences of deferring to experts in political decision-making and policy design? Does this leave room for other priorities? For different views of health and wellbeing? Who has the right to assess risks and calculate costs? This course examines the historical roots of our expert culture and deals with the causes and processes that led to the loss of public trust in professional advice as it manifests itself in phenomena such as resistance to vaccines, climate change denial, and dismissive treatment of economists and other fiscal experts. This course fulfills the elective requirement for a new MAPSS concentration on the Formation of Knowledge https://sifk.uchicago.edu/mapss/.

Gaming History

  • Course Level:
  • Department: IRHUM
  • Year: 2021-22
  • Term: Spring
  • IRHU 26703 / KNOW 26703
  • Brad Bolman and Katherine Buse

How do games reflect, theorize, and alter history? This interdisciplinary research seminar will explore the history, design, and function of games, drawing on strategies from history, media and game studies, and cultural anthropology in order to understand the place of games in the history of knowledge and our knowledge of history. How have historical simulations, such as Civilization, represented scientific, social, and cultural progress? How do games, such as Settlers of Catan, invite players to perform and inhabit historically specific subjectivities? What is the role of popular titles, such as Call of Duty: Cold War, in the pedagogy of public history? By representing alternate and future histories, games articulate theories of historical change. They even change the future by suggesting and popularizing modes of political, economic, and social agency. In this course, we will play games about history, including video games, tabletop games, and other analog game formats, to consider how they represent the structure of time, causality, and choice. Through class discussions, example games, and theoretical readings, we will learn about methods, theories, and case studies for gaming history and historicizing games. Students will practice original archival, ethnographic, and media archaeological research into the history of games, and gain experience writing about and critically analyzing media objects. The seminar will emphasize practice-based research alongside traditional humanistic research, including critical game play and game design. The course will culminate in a solo or collaborative game design project that intervenes in gaming culture and its histories.