The Novel Knowledge Series

The Novel Knowledge Series engages lifelong learners in multi-disciplinary courses that challenge conventional perspectives and encourage new ways of approaching longstanding questions.

Nuclear Energy sculpture by Henry Moore, with the Mansueto Library in the background.

Institute on the Formation of Knowledge logo.

Presented collaboratively by the Institute on the Formation of Knowledge and the Graham School at the University of Chicago, the courses open the doors of the University’s groundbreaking approach to inquiry and knowledge formation to all learners.

Upcoming Courses

Science and Liberalism

Instructor: Isabel Gabel, Institute on the Formation of Knowledge

Autumn 2023 | Tuesdays | 9/26/23 – 11/14/23 | 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Science and Liberalism

In the era of "post-truth" it has become common to link a crisis of scientific authority with a crisis of liberalism. Democracies around the world are under threat, this reasoning goes, in part because of an attack on scientific truth. But what does liberalism - as political culture and as a form of governance - need (or want) from science? Depending where you look, the answer might appear to be facts, truth, a model 'public sphere,' an ethic of objectivity, tactics for managing risk and uncertainty, or technologies of population management (to name a few). This course takes a multi-disciplinary perspective to explore the complex historical relationship between science and liberalism in the modern era. Authors include Karl Popper, Max Weber, Steven Shapin, Deborah Coen, Hannah Arendt, Jacques Derrida, and Paul Feyerabend.

Introduction to Posthumanist Thought
Part human, part robot hands

Instructor: Andre Uhl, Institute on the Formation of Knowledge

Autumn 2023 | Thursdays | 9/28/23 – 11/16/23 | 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

This course explores the emergence of posthumanist thought in contemporary critical theory. We will read and discuss works that renegotiate the human condition through critical inquiry into posthuman desires and the complicated relationship between human and non-human ‘others,’ including animals, plants and micro-organisms, waste and toxins, artificial life, and hyperobjects. By engaging diverse viewpoints that map the stakes of a non-anthropocentric politics of culture, we will reflect on the capacity of the arts and humanities to decipher the posthuman predicament of the contemporary ecological crisis.

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