Committee on Social Thought
The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought is one of several PhD-granting committees at the University of Chicago. It was started in 1941 by historian John Ulric Nef along with economist Frank Knight, anthropologist Robert Redfield, 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
- writers Saul Bellow, J. M. Coetzee, and T. S. Eliot,
- political theorists Hannah Arendt, Allan Bloom, and Mark Lilla,
- classicist David Grene,
- historians Marc Fumaroli, Marshall G. S. Hodgson and Paul Wheatley,
- sociologist Edward Shils,
- sinologist Anthony C. Yu,
- anthropologist Victor Turner,
- poet and philologist A. K. Ramanujan,
- philosophers Vincent Descombes, Mircea Eliade, Leszek Kołakowski, Jacques Maritain, Yves Simon, Paul Ricoeur, Stephen Toulmin, and
- economists Robert Fogel and Friedrich Hayek.
Eliot, Bellow, Coetzee, Hayek, and Fogel have been awarded Nobel prizes.
Current faculty include Religion scholar Wendy Doniger, theologian David Tracy, sociologist Hans Joas, literary theorist Thomas Pavel, theorist of German literature David Wellbery, classicist James M. Redfield, philosopher and psychoanalyst Jonathan Lear, philosopher Jean-Luc Marion, medieval historian David Nirenberg, philosopher Robert B. Pippin, classicist Laura M. Slatkin, historian of science Lorraine Daston, physician and philosopher Leon Kass (former chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics), political theorist Nathan Tarcov, art historian Andrei Pop, and poet Adam Zagajewski.
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