Committee on Social Thought

Committee on Social Thought

Ask a question about 'Committee on Social Thought'
Start a new discussion about 'Committee on Social Thought'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
The Committee on Social Thought is one of several PhD
PHD may refer to:*Ph.D., a doctorate of philosophy*Ph.D. , a 1980s British group*PHD finger, a protein sequence*PHD Mountain Software, an outdoor clothing and equipment company*PhD Docbook renderer, an XML renderer...

-granting committees at the University of Chicago
University of Chicago
The University of Chicago is a private research university in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It was founded by the American Baptist Education Society with a donation from oil magnate and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller and incorporated in 1890...

. It was started in 1941 by historian John Ulric Nef
John Ulric Nef (economic historian)
John Ulric Nef was an American economic historian, and the co-founder of the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought. He was associated with the University of Chicago for over half a century, and co-founded the Committee there in 1941.-Early life:Nef was born in 1899. He was a native...

 along with economist Frank Knight
Frank Knight
Frank Hyneman Knight was an American economist who spent most of his career at the University of Chicago, where he became one of the founders of the Chicago school. Nobel laureates James M. Buchanan, Milton Friedman and George Stigler were all students of Knight at Chicago. Knight supervised...

, anthropologist Robert Redfield
Robert Redfield
Robert Redfield was an American anthropologist and ethnolinguist. Redfield graduated from the University of Chicago, eventually with a J.D. from its law school and then a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, which he began to teach in 1927...

, and University President Robert Maynard Hutchins.

The committee is interdisciplinary, but it is not centered on any specific topic; rather, the committee has, since its inception, drawn together noted academics and writers to "foster awareness of the permanent questions at the origin of all learned inquiry"

Notable past members of the committee have included Marshall G. S. Hodgson and
  • writers T. S. Eliot
    T. S. Eliot
    Thomas Stearns "T. S." Eliot OM was a playwright, literary critic, and arguably the most important English-language poet of the 20th century. Although he was born an American he moved to the United Kingdom in 1914 and was naturalised as a British subject in 1927 at age 39.The poem that made his...

    , Saul Bellow
    Saul Bellow
    Saul Bellow was a Canadian-born Jewish American writer. For his literary contributions, Bellow was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the Nobel Prize for Literature, and the National Medal of Arts...

    , and J. M. Coetzee, and
  • political theorists Hannah Arendt
    Hannah Arendt
    Hannah Arendt was a German American political theorist. She has often been described as a philosopher, although she refused that label on the grounds that philosophy is concerned with "man in the singular." She described herself instead as a political theorist because her work centers on the fact...

    , James E. Block, Allan Bloom
    Allan Bloom
    Allan David Bloom was an American philosopher, classicist, and academic. He studied under David Grene, Leo Strauss, Richard McKeon and Alexandre Kojève. He subsequently taught at Cornell University, the University of Toronto, Yale University, École Normale Supérieure of Paris, and the University...

    , and David Grene
    David Grene
    David Grene was a professor of classics at the University of Chicago from 1937 until his death. He was a co-founder of the Committee on Social Thought and is best known for his translations of ancient Greek literature.-Life:...

    , and
  • sociologist Edward Shils
    Edward Shils
    Edward Shils was a Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and in Sociology at the University of Chicago and reputedly an influential sociologist. He was known for his research on the role of intellectuals and their relations to power and public policy...

  • anthropologist Victor Turner
    Victor Turner
    Victor Witter Turner was a British cultural anthropologist best known for his work on symbols, rituals and rites of passage...

  • poet and philologist A. K. Ramanujan
    A. K. Ramanujan
    Attipat Krishnaswami Ramanujan was a scholar of Indian literature who wrote in both English and Kannada. Ramanujan wore many hats as a Indian poet, scholar and author, those of a philologist, folklorist, translator, poet and playwright. His academic research ranged across five languages: Tamil,...

  • philosophers Mircea Eliade
    Mircea Eliade
    Mircea Eliade was a Romanian historian of religion, fiction writer, philosopher, and professor at the University of Chicago. He was a leading interpreter of religious experience, who established paradigms in religious studies that persist to this day...

    , Yves Simon
    Yves Simon
    This article is about the political philosopher. For the singer, see Yves Simon .Yves René Marie Simon was a French Catholic political philosopher, sometimes referred to as the "Philosopher of the Fighting French" for his support of the resistance to the Vichy government.-Life:Simon studied under...

    , Leszek Kołakowski, Stephen Toulmin
    Stephen Toulmin
    Stephen Edelston Toulmin was a British philosopher, author, and educator. Influenced by Ludwig Wittgenstein, Toulmin devoted his works to the analysis of moral reasoning. Throughout his writings, he sought to develop practical arguments which can be used effectively in evaluating the ethics behind...

    , Paul Ricoeur
    Paul Ricoeur
    Paul Ricœur was a French philosopher best known for combining phenomenological description with hermeneutic interpretation...

  • economist Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich Hayek
    Friedrich August Hayek CH , born in Austria-Hungary as Friedrich August von Hayek, was an economist and philosopher best known for his defense of classical liberalism and free-market capitalism against socialist and collectivist thought...


Eliot, Bellow, Coetzee, and Hayek have been awarded Nobel prize
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...


Current faculty include Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

 scholar Wendy Doniger
Wendy Doniger
Wendy Doniger is an American Indologist and Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions at the University of Chicago Divinity School, the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, and the Committee on Social Thought...

, theologian David Tracy, sociologist Hans Joas
Hans Joas
Hans Joas is a German sociologist and social theorist.Joas is the Director of the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt and Professor of Sociology and a Member of the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. He currently serves as...

, theorist of German literature David Wellbery, classicist James M. Redfield
James M. Redfield
James M. Redfield is the Edward Olson Distinguished Service Professor of Classics at the University of Chicago. He has made numerous contributions to current scholarship on Homer and Herodotus, probably the most notable of which is his book, Nature and Culture in the Iliad: The Tragedy of Hector ,...

, psychologist and philosopher Jonathan Lear
Jonathan Lear
Jonathan Lear is the John U. Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the Committee on Social Thought and professor of philosophy at the University of Chicago.-Biography:...

, philosopher Jean-Luc Marion
Jean-Luc Marion
Jean-Luc Marion is among the best-known living philosophers in France, former student of Jacques Derrida and one of the leading Catholic thinkers of modern times. Marion's take on the postmodern is informed by his expertise in patristic and mystical theology, phenomenology, and modern philosophy...

, philosopher Robert B. Pippin
Robert B. Pippin
Robert B. Pippin is an American philosopher. He is the Evelyn Stefansson Nef Distinguished Service Professor in the John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, the Department of Philosophy, and the College at the University of Chicago....

, Nobel Laureate
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 economist Robert Fogel
Robert Fogel
Robert William Fogel is an American economic historian and scientist, and winner of the 1993 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. He is now the Charles R. Walgreen Distinguished Service Professor of American Institutions and director of the Center for Population Economics at the...

, historian of science Lorraine Daston
Lorraine Daston
Lorraine Daston is an American historian of science, presently the executive director of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin...

, physician and philosopher Leon Kass
Leon Kass
Leon Richard Kass is an American physician, scientist, educator, and public intellectual, best known as proponent of liberal education via the "Great Books," as an opponent of human cloning and euthanasia, as a critic of certain areas of technological progress and embryo research, and for his...

 (former chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics), and poet Adam Zagajewski
Adam Zagajewski
Adam Zagajewski is a Polish poet, novelist, translator and essayist.In 1982 he emigrated to Paris, but in 2002 he returned to Poland, and resides in Kraków. His poem "Try To Praise The Mutilated World", printed in The New Yorker, became famous after the 11 September attacks...