Workshops in Related Departments

Ancient Societies Workshop

"The theme for the Ancient Societies Workshop in 2011-12 will be “Law, Society, and the Economy.” The field of ancient economics has seen considerable debate over the past decade. Old orthodoxies have been overthrown. The new consensus, such as it is, gives tenuous consensus to a focus on the role of the private, poliadic and suprapoliadic institutions in the structuring of economic life. Much the same might be said of law in itself, as also of the role of law in shaping economic conduct. This scholarly trend transcends narrow disciplinary boundaries, as the debate on economy and law has intensified both in the field of Greco-Roman and Ancient Near Eastern studies. In the course of the year, we will explore how social and legal institutions influenced ancient economies and vice versa."
Coordinator: Kassandra Jackson

History & Philosophy of Science Workshop

CHSS/Fishbein Workshop
A workshop in the history and philosophy of science. Meetings are held (roughly) every other Friday afternoon at 4 pm.

Faculty contact: Robert Richards

Jewish Studies Workshop

Bringing together faculty and students from across various disciplines, the Jewish Studies Workshop seeks to provide a forum for vibrant discourse and critical reflection on work and topics that may range across the field
of Judaica. From Jewish language, literature, and music to religion and philosophy, this workshop looks to engage students and faculty interested in Jewish studies while stretching them to think beyond the strictures that currently typify their sub-disciplines.

Literature and Philosophy Workshop

The Literature and Philosophy Workshop is a forum for discussion among graduate students and faculty interested questions raised at the intersection of philosophy and literature. We work across traditional disciplinary boundaries to encourage a conversation that transcends historical and geographical divisions. Topics of iinterest to the workshop include (though they are not limited to): the philosophy of literature, philosophy in literature and literary philosophy, the influence of philosophy on literature and vice-versa, the overlap of philosophy and literature in the intellectual imaginary of an era, intellectual and/or literary exchange between philosophers and literary figures, and hybrid forms of cultural production (e.g. myth).

The workshop is a primary site of intellectual exchange between the Department of Philosophy and the various departments devoted to the study of literature at the University of Chicago.

Enrollment limit is 25.

Faculty Coordinators: Thomas Pavel (RLL) and David Wellbery (Germanic Studies)
Joseph Simmons.
List Serve:


Political Theory Workshop

This workshop is a forum for the critical discussion of new research in all varieties of political theory, political philosophy, and moral, social, and legal theory and philosophy, historical and contemporary. Presenters include graduate students, faculty from the University and other local institutions, and prominent visitors. Graduate students also have the opportunity to serve as discussants for presentations by other students, faculty, and visitors. The workshop subscribes to no particular methodology or political ideology and welcomes participants from all departments and disciplines. We seek to create a rigorous but comfortable space for the development of graduate students’ projects and professional skills.

Faculty contacts: John McCormick (Political Science Department)

Student coordinator: Daniel Nichanian

Rational Choice Workshop

Rational Choice Seminars are a speaker series at the University of Chicago that engage scholars from the disciplines of economics, philosophy, law, sociology, psychology – anything connected with the insights of applying theories of rational choice to social, economic, and political issues.  The Seminars are led by Gary Becker, Professor in the Departments of Economics and Sociology and Booth School of Business; and Richard Posner, Senior Lecturer in Law and Judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.  Assisting Professor Becker and Judge Posner are junior faculty professors Glen Weyl and James Evans, from the Economics and Sociology departments respectively.  The Seminars take place four times during the fall and spring quarters, and occasionally a seminar is given in the winter quarter.

Contact: Virginia Bova  773-702-8191

Seminar on Important Things

Every other Friday, Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science (CHSS) students meet for an informal seminar from noon to 2. This is a forum for CHSS students to discuss their interests. Recent topics have included discussions on the works of Pierre Duhem, Francis Bacon and his time, and the social construction of science. Lunch is generally provided.

Faculty contact: Robert Richards

Workshop on Language, Cognition, and Computation

The Workshop on Language, Cognition, and Computation is an interdisciplinary forum for students and faculty whose work concerns the intersection of these topics, with a particular emphasis on language learning and language change. The question of how language is learned enjoys a privileged position within the cognitive sciences, by virtue of its centrality to the "cognitive revolution", which required that any scientific account of language be able to account not just for linguistic structure, but for the learnability of language as well. The challenge was this: while almost all children learn their native language perfectly, the linguistic input to which they are exposed has been argued to be inadequate for that purpose. A similarly fundamental question is how and why languages change from one generation to another, despite the fact that each generation seems to accurately and rapidly acquire the language of its surroundings. These questions have attracted the attention of linguists, philosophers, psychologists, and computer scientists, each of whom bring complementary perspectives and methodologies. The workshop aims to bring these groups together to advance research on language learning and language change through interdisciplinary discussion. Interested graduate students from any department are invited to participate.

Faculty contacts: Jason Riggle, Alan Yu, Partha Niyogi

Student coordinator:  James Kirby