As an interdisciplinary research center in the Chicago tradition, the Institute on the Formation of Knowledge brings together specialists with a strong interest in communicating across boundaries of all kinds. These include international scholars, teachers, researchers, and prominent annual visiting faculty, including MacArthur award winners, Guggenheim fellows and public intellectuals from the United States and abroad. Their immediate research fields may be in microbiome analysis, Mesopotamian astronomy, imperial Chinese taxation, comparative ecology, or the reception of Darwin’s theories, but they share a determination to make their work speak to publics other than that of fellow specialists and to discover broad patterns in the interaction between knowledge and society.
Our Core Faculty Members, drawn from all ranks and departments of the University of Chicago faculty, typically commit to co-teaching core courses and seminars on the formation of knowledge, participate in workshops presenting current research, and advising students in the Institute’s programs.
Our External Faculty Group, acting as an advisory board, consists of pioneering scholars whose research and teaching give insight into the effects of knowledge production on human communities. Many of them have worked in institutional roles that further the study of these questions.
Our Faculty Fellows conduct research in allied fields.
The Institute also fosters the careers of younger scholars in our area of concern. Our Postdoctoral Fellows teach classes, participate in the design of our evolving programs, and advance their research.
The Graduate Fellows, selected by an application process, propose a program of research germane to our concern for the creation, transmission, social embodiment, mediation, and institutionalization of knowledge. They receive a supplementary stipend and research support for one year of their study for the doctorate.
A network of Visiting Scholars will foster international learning and exchange of research results, with the Chicago campus as its pivot.
The Staff maintains the day-to-day operations of the Institute. Working closely with the Director, the Executive Director and Administrative Manager build institutional ties, support student research, do outreach, build a public presence, plan conferences and anticipate future needs. The Steering Committee advises the Director and promotes the aims of the Institute within the University of Chicago and further afield.