KNOW courses are offered by the faculty of the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge at both the graduate and the advanced undergraduate levels. For graduate students, we offer a number of cross-listed seminars as well as an annual core sequence in topics in the formation of knowledge (KNOW 401, 402, 403). These seminars will be team-taught by faculty from different departments or schools and are open to all graduate students regardless of field of study. Graduate students who enroll in two quarters of this sequence are eligible to apply for the SIFK Dissertation Research Fellowships.

KNOW 22709: Introduction to Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics

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

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

KNOW 17403: Science, Culture, & Society: Early Modern Science: Revolutions in Astronomy and Anatomy

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2017-18
  • Term: Spring
  • M/W 1.30–2.50pm
  • HIPS 17403, HIST 17403, KNOW 17403
  • Margaret Carlyle

This course explores scientific developments in Western Europe from the sixteenth-century Scientific Revolution to the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. Through the works of Copernicus, Galileo, Vesalius, Harvey, Newton, Emilie du Châtelet, and more, we will explore revolutionary change in the fields of both astronomy and anatomy.

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

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Classical Studies, History, Italian, Religious Studies, SIFK, Signature Course
  • Year: 2018-19
  • Term: Spring
  • TBD
  • HIST 12203, ITAL 16000, SIGN 26034, RLST, 22203, CLCV 22216
  • Ada Palmer

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

MEDC 30020/1: Scholarship and Discovery 1B:  Introduction to Medical Evidence

  • Course Level:
  • Department: Pritzker School of Medicine
  • Year: 2017-18
  • Term: Winter
  • MWF 11-12
  • Adam Cifu

For first year medical students. Enrollment available upon consent from Dr. Adam Cifu.

KNOW 47002: Topics in the Philosophy of Judaism: Soloveitchik Reads the Classics

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: History of Judaism, Philosophy, Philosophy of Religions
  • Year: 2017-18
  • Term: Winter
  • Tue : 02:00 PM-04:50 PM
  • PHIL 53360, HIJD 53360, DVPR 53360
  • Arnold Ira Davidson

"Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik was one of the most important philosophers of Judaism in the twentieth century. Among his many books, essays and lectures, we find a detailed engagement with the Bible, the Talmud and the fundamental works of Maimonides. This course will examine Soloveitchik's philosophical readings and appropriation of Torah, Talmud, and both the Guide and the Mishneh Torah. A framing question of the course will be: how can one combine traditional Jewish learning and modern philosophical ideas? What can Judaism gain from philosophy? What can philosophy learn from Judaism? All students interested in enrolling in this course should send an application to jbarbaro@uchicago.edu by 12/16/2016. Applications should be no longer than one page and should include name, email address, phone number, and department or committee. Applicants should briefly describe their background and explain their interest in, and their reasons for applying to, this course. Winter 2017."

Additional Notes
All students interested in enrolling in this course should send an application to jbarbaro@uchicago.edu by 12/15/2017. Applications should be no longer than one page and should include name, email address, phone number, and department or committee.

KNOW 45699: When Cultures Collide: Multiculturalism in Liberal Democracies

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Anthropology, Comparative Human Development, Gender and Sexuality Studies, Human Rights, Psychology, SIFK
  • Year: 2017-18
  • Term: Winter
  • Wed : 09:30 AM-12:20 PM
  • CHDV 45699, PSYC 45300, ANTH 45600, HMRT 35600, GNSE 45600
  • Richard A Shweder

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

KNOW 42214: Transnational Religious Movements

  • Course Level: Graduate
  • Department: Anthropology and Sociology of Religion, History of Religions, SIFK
  • Year: 2017-18
  • Term: Winter
  • Wed : 02:30 PM-05:20 PM
  • AASR 42214, HREL 42214
  • Angie Heo

This course examines the transnational reach of various religious movements drawing mainly from literature in anthropology, sociology and cultural studies. Topics that will be considered include migration and refugees, social movements, diasporic nationalism and financial capitalism.

KNOW 32808: Planetary Britain

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, Environmental and Urban Studies, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, SIFK
  • Year: 2017-18
  • Term: Winter
  • Thu : 02:00 PM-04:50 PM
  • HIST 22708, HIST 32708, ENST 22708, HIPS 22708, CHSS 32708
  • Fredrik Albritton Jonsson

What were the causes behind Britain's Industrial Revolution? In the vast scholarship on this problem, one particularly heated debate has focused on the imperial origins of industrialization. How much did colonial resources and markets contribute to economic growth and technological innovation in the metropole? The second part of the course will consider the global effects of British industrialization. To what extent can we trace anthropogenic climate change and other planetary crises back to the environmental transformation wrought by the British Empire? Topics include ecological imperialism, metabolic rift, the sugar revolution, the slave trade, naval construction and forestry, the East India Company, free trade and agriculture, energy use and climate change.

KNOW 25804: Feminists Read the Greeks

  • Course Level: Undergraduate
  • Department: Gender and Sexuality Studies, Political Science, SIFK
  • Year: 2017-18
  • Term: Winter
  • Mon: 03:30 PM-06:20 PM
  • PLSC 25804, PLSC 45804, GNSE 25804, GNSE 45804
  • Demetra Kasimis

As one scholar puts it, feminist thought 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." Since the 1970s, writing on gender, sex, and sexuality has staged a series of generative, critical, and sometimes controversial encounters with ancient Greek thought and culture. We examine the ways in which the texts and practices of ancient Greece, if not the idea of "the Greeks," have offered theoretical and symbolic resources for feminists and others to think critically about gender as a conceptual and political category. What sorts of interpretive and historical assumptions govern these engagements? To what extent are the trajectories of gender studies and classics intertwined? Was there a concept of "gender" in ancient Greece? Of sexuality? Is it fair to say, as many have, that classical ideas about gender and the sexed body are wholly opposed to those of the "moderns"? Readings range from feminist theory to Greek mythology, philosophy, and drama to scholarship on gender and sexuality in antiquity (including Foucault, Halperin, and Winkler).

KNOW 25415 / 35415: History of Information

  • Course Level: Graduate, Undergraduate
  • Department: Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, History, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, Law, Letters, and Society, SIFK
  • Year: 2017-18
  • Term: Winter
  • Mon : 09:30 AM-12:20 PM
  • HIST 25415, HIST 35415, LLSO 23501, CHSS 35415, HIPS 25415
  • Adrian D S Johns

"Information" in all its forms is perhaps the defining phenomenon of our age. But although we tend to think of it as something distinctively modern, in fact it came into being through a long history of thought, practice, and technology. This course will therefore suggest how to think historically about information. Using examples that range from the Middle Ages to the twenty-first century, we shall explore how different societies have conceptualized the subject, and how they have sought to control it. We shall address how information has been collected, classified, circulated, contested, and destroyed. The aim is to provide a different kind of understanding of information practices-one that can be put to use in other historical inquiries, as well as casting an unfamiliar light on our own everyday lives.