The Institute on the Formation of Knowledge is delighted to announce an unprecedented set of new courses: XCAP, The Experimental Capstone. Designed for upper-level undergraduates, a new XCAP class will be debuted each quarter in 2018-19. XCAP courses, which will be team-taught by faculty from different Divisions or Schools, are designed to challenge students to build upon their UChicago educational experience by adding practice, impact, and influence as important dimensions for undergraduate education.

XCAP courses will incorporate a variety of topics and frameworks, but inherent in each of these courses are the following three elements:

  • an element of practice, a result in a product, or a measurable impact;
  • an appeal to students from all the College divisions for maximal interaction of different points of view; and
  • a part of the college experience with particular relevance to post-college life.

The XCAP courses may be taken pass/fail or for a quality grade, and students may take one, two, or all three quarters of XCAP, as the courses are not part of a sequence. Each course will be taught by a different team of faculty, and will provide a distinct perspective on the three core elements above.

Apply now for the Autumn 2018 XCAP Course!

2018-19 XCAP Courses

Autumn 2018

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

Instructors: Brian Callender, Assistant Professor of Medicine, and Catherine Sullivan, Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts

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

View syllabus here. 

Winter 2019

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

Instructors: Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Classics and the Program in Gender Studies. Co-instructor Changes Weekly.

This course incorporates the practice and theory of various knowledge systems, with the goals of understanding the claims of various knowledge systems, experiencing the relationship of theory to practice, and learning specific sets of claims to knowledge.  Each week will feature a different expert and will cover a historical, topical, and geographical range of readings and experiments. Our explorations will be in psychology, chemistry, medicine, anatomy, textile knowledge, museum collections, spirituality, conspiracy theories; we examine knowledge claims throughout, with our investigations crossing over the traditional boundaries between science, social science, medicine, and humanities.

View syllabus here. 

Spring 2018

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

Instructors: Michael Rossi, Assistant Professor of the History of Medicine, the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and the College. Co-instructor TBA.

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

View syllabus here. 

Application Process and Deadlines

Admission will be by application, and a cohort of no more than 15 will be selected. The application process is simple and will include submission of your contact information and major(s), an up-to-date c.v. or resume, and a brief statement of why you are interested in taking part in the XCAP course. 

The priority application deadline for the autumn 2018 XCAP course is 4:00 PM on May 9, 2018. Students who applied to the priority deadline will be notified of their status on May 11th, in time for pre-registration. After the priority deadline, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis through the third week of the Autumn Quarter or until the class is filled. For Winter and Spring 2019, the application portals will open in Week 4 of the preceding quarter. Priority deadlines will be in Week 7 of the preceding quarter, but applications will be accepted on a rolling basis from upper-level undergraduate students until the class is filled or through the third week of the quarter in which the course is offered.

Please send any questions to sifk-apps@uchicago.edu

Apply now for the Autumn 2018 XCAP Course!