Institute on the Formation of Knowledge
Tal Arbel is a cultural historian of science and medicine. Her primary research interests include the history of behavioral science and health, the sociology of expertise, and the politics of mental measurement. Her new book project, A Scientific Childhood, revisits the lives of children who served as subjects of observation and experiment from the 1880s to the 1950s, and whose childhood experiences had shaped the central tenets of developmental psychology, as well as our ideas about normality. She holds a PhD in History of Science from Harvard University.
A student of the Great Books curriculum, Kerry Balden primarily studies ancient philosophy. In his spare time, he translates poetry from French, German, and Portuguese. Recently, he has studied books authored by women.
Instructor, Liberal Arts
Fred W. Beuttler received his Ph.D. in history from the University of Chicago and then went on to become the Deputy Historian of the U.S. House of Representatives and, later, an Associate Dean at the University of Chicago.
Margot Browning is Associate Director of the UChicago Franke Institute for the Humanities.
Institute on the Formation of Knowledge
Katherine Buse uses methods from science and technology studies, science fiction studies, and the environmental humanities to study how science shapes and is shaped by its cultural milieu. She is working on a book project, titled Speculative Planetology: Science, Culture, and the Building of Model Worlds. It describes planetary world building, or speculative planetology, as a set of shared practices built up between planetary and climate scientists, creators of speculative fiction, engineers, and policymakers since the middle of the 20th century.
Katherine also studies and designs video games, including being on the design team for Foldit: First Contact, a new narrative version of the citizen science video game Foldit. She received her PhD in English with an emphasis in Science and Technology Studies at the University of California, Davis in 2021. As a Marshall Scholar, she received an MA in Science Fiction Studies at the University of Liverpool and an MPhil in Criticism and Culture at Cambridge.
Mr. Davé has studied Asian religions and philosophy for many years as an independent scholar. He holds an MBA from Northwestern University, and is completing the MLA degree from the University of Chicago.
Roger Ferlo, president emeritus of Bexley Seabury Seminary in Hyde Park, is currently a Scholar-in-Residence at the Newberry Library. He earned his PhD at Yale, where he taught Shakespearean comedy, and was awarded one of Yale’s first faculty teaching prizes.
Mr. Gans is the founder and director of a Great Books curriculum in Chicago that earned major grants from the NEH and U.S. Department of Education and has been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Mr. Gibbons holds a PhD from the University of Chicago Department of Music. His works have been performed at the Rockefeller Music Competition and by the Minnesota Chamber Symphony. He received the 2005 Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies Excellence in Teaching Award for the Humanities, Arts, and Sciences.
Mr. Gutmann holds a UChicago PhD. His dissertation, "Traditions and Progress: Islam, Confucianism, Modernity," is about the use of non-Western histories in securing the postcolonial future. It focuses on public education, personal status and the vocation of critique.
Sharon Kennedy-Nolle holds a PhD in nineteenth-century American literature and an MFA from the Writers’ Workshop, University of Iowa. She also holds MAs from Johns Hopkins University and NYU. Her book, Writing Reconstruction: Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the Postwar South, was the 2015 selection for the Gender and American Culture Series of UNC Press. In addition to scholarly publications, her chapbook, Black Wick: Selected Elegies, was chosen as the 2020 Editor’s Pick by Variant Literature Press. Kennedy-Nolle was winner of the New Ohio Review’s 2021 poetry contest and a 2021 finalist for the Black Lawrence Press’s St. Lawrence Book Award.
Institute on the Formation of Knowledge
Anastasia Klimchynskaya is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institute on the Formation of Knowledge at the University of Chicago, where she works at the intersection of technoscience, literary narrative, and the cultural imagination to examine how our fictions shape our technologies and our ideas about them. Her research approaches this through science fiction, focusing on how the rise of the genre in the nineteenth century reflected changing relations between humanity and the natural world during industrialization.
Dylan Knight Rogers
Dylan Knight Rogers is a composer, pianist, writer, raconteur, and educator. A Chicago native, he studied at St. John’s College Annapolis and received his MA in Philosophy from the University of Chicago.
Mr. Latham holds a PhD in Germanic studies from the University of Chicago. His dissertation is on From the Spiritual in Art to Degenerate Art: Aesthetics, Perception, Cultural Politics.
Mr. Mathai has studied at the University of Chicago Committee on Social Thought. His research focuses on Greek literature, philosophy, and history, as well as Russian language and literature.
Mr. Mengelkoch was an Associate Professor of English at Lake Forest College and Visiting Senior Lecturer at Emory University where he taught courses on literature, poetry, philosophy, and medical humanism. His areas of study are comparative literature, poetry, the classical tradition, Renaissance and medical humanism, and Neo-Latin.
Nicholas O’Neill is a PhD candidate in the History Department at the University of Chicago specializing in the history of capitalism in early modern Europe. His dissertation examines the political economy of the French porcelain industry in the eighteenth century.
Robert Porwoll studied Medieval History and taught at the University of Chicago before teaching religion at Gustavus Adolphus College (MN). He focuses on the evolving history and meaning of the liberal arts educational tradition.
Matthias Regan (he/him) has taught professional and creative writing for several colleges and universities around Chicago. He holds an MA in creative writing from Boston University and a PhD in literature from the University of Chicago. His books include Gapers’ Delay, Oil Slick Rainbows, and The People’s Pugilist, an edited volume of Carl Sandburg’s writings. His research interests include modern poetry, the Chicago Renaissance, and genre fiction. With the P.O. Box Collective, he manages a Black Lives Memorial project in Rogers Park. For more information, visit his blog: matthiasregan.org.
Sheryl E. Reiss received her Ph.D. from Princeton University and is a Scholar-in-Residence at the Newberry Library in Chicago; she has taught for the Graham School since 2019. Dr. Reiss is a specialist in Italian Renaissance art and architecture with particular interest in the history of patronage. She is also interested in women and gender; archaism in early modern art; exchange between Italy and Northern Europe; and funerary art. She has published widely on Italian art and art patronage of the early sixteenth century, focusing particularly on the patronage of members of the Medici family, and on Raphael and Michelangelo. Dr. Reiss has previously taught at Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, Cornell University, the University of California, Riverside, the University of Southern California, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Renaissance Society of America, the Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts at the National Gallery of Art, and the Newberry Library. Dr. Reiss has co-edited two books: Beyond Isabella: Secular Women Patrons of Art in Renaissance Italy (2001, with David G. Wilkins) and The Pontificate of Clement VII: History, Politics, Culture(2005, with Kenneth Gouwens). She is currently preparing a book titled The Making of a Medici Maecenas: Giulio de’ Medici (Pope Clement VII) as Patron of Art and is the co-editor of an in-progress collection of essays titled Reconsidering Raphael.
Ms. Rosenfeld is a writer, independent scholar, and Professor Emerita of English at Knox College. She has published a poetry collection, Wild Domestic, a critical book, Outsiders Together: Virginia and Leonard Woolf (Princeton 2000, and an e-chapbook, She and I.
Associate Professor of the History of Medicine, the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and the College at the University of Chicago
Michael Rossi is Associate Professor of the History of Medicine, the Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, and the College at the University of Chicago. A historian of medicine and science in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present, his work focuses on the historical and cultural metaphysics of the body: how different people at different times understood questions of beauty, truth, falsehood, pain, pleasure, goodness, and reality vis-à-vis their corporeal selves and those of others.
His first book manuscript traces the origins of color science—the physiology, psychology, and physics of color—in the late-nineteenth-century United States to a series of questions about what modern America ought to be: about the scope of medical, scientific, and political authority over the sensing body; about the nature of aesthetic, physiological, and cultural development between individual and civilization; about the relationship between aesthetic harmony, physiological balance, and social order.
His second project looks at how linguists, anatomists, and speech pathologists moved, over the course of the twentieth century, from viewing language as a function of sound-producing organs (tongue, lips, palate, larynx, etc.) to searching for a notional “language organ” within the brains of all human beings. Such interpretative shifts in understanding human anatomy are neither an ancient phenomenon nor one limited to extreme medical specialization, but rather are ongoing issues, providing a window on the social, political, and philosophical understanding of modern bodies, medicine, and science.
Prior to Chicago, Michael was a postdoctoral fellow in the Groupe Histoire des sciences de l’homme at the Ecole Normale Superieur de Cachan in France. He received a PhD in the history and anthropology of science, technology, and society from MIT and an AB from Columbia University.
Brian Smith has a bachelor's degree in anthropology and archaeology from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville and has excavated in India, Thailand, and Egypt where he worked with the joint University of Pennsylvania/Yale/Institute of Fine Arts, New York. Brian received a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Memphis in ancient Egyptian Art and Archaeology, and concluded at the University of Chicago in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the Oriental Institute with a Master’s degree in Egyptology.
He teaches courses in ancient Nilotic cultures, Near Eastern Civilizations, and ancient social history at the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. He is also currently teaching “The Art and Archaeology of Ancient Nubia” at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California through virtual platforms.
His interests are in socio-economic interpretations of material culture (particularly ceramics), art historical styles (painting, sculpture, architecture), and religious ideology as reflected in the behavioral systems observed in the archaeological record. Along with his husband, he also has two cats, Tigris and Euphrates.
Mr. Stockwell, executive director emeritus, Chicago Semester, holds MA, MUPP, and PhD degrees (University of Illinois, Chicago); and the MLA (UChicago). His current academic research is on the presidency of Ulysses S. Grant.
A native of Istanbul, Turkey, Esra Tasdelen received her BA degree in Social and Political Sciences at Sabanci University and her MA degree in Middle Eastern Studies in 2005 and her PhD degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations in 2014, both at the University of Chicago. Her teaching focuses on the history, languages, literatures and cinema of the Middle East and North Africa, as well as translation theory.
Chet Van Duzer
Van Duzer is a board member of the Lazarus Project at the University of Rochester and has published extensively on early modern maps. His books include Henricus Martellus's World Map at Yale (c. 1491): Multispectral Imaging, Sources, and Influence.