Against the Norm: Body, Citizen, Constitution, State


In today’s world of divisive politics and social debate, the 24-hour news cycle and global urbanization have dramatically accelerated the speed at which we gather information and acquire knowledge. Science, technology, history, and culture have all converged to form the framework for some of our deepest held beliefs about society and ourselves.

But what if we only have part of the picture? How often do we question our knowledge—what we believe to be facts, and how such knowledge was formed?  What sorts of assumptions do we live by, even about the most basic aspects of who we are as bodies, citizens, and members of a shared political system?

Join some of the world’s most renowned thinkers from the University of Chicago’s new Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge for a series of short talks that pull at the seams of our assumptions, uncover blind spots, and suggest new paradigms for how to think about our bodies, government, and society. An audience Q&A will follow. 

Giving TED-style talks, speakers will answer the following questions:

  • Are bodies everywhere the same? 
  • Is the concept of citizen a natural one? 
  • Are constitutions hot commodities? 
  • Do people define nations or do nations define people? 


RobertJRichards-sm.jpgRobert J. Richards
Morris Fishbein Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Science and Medicine
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Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer-vsm.jpgShadi Bartsch-Zimmer
Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Classics and the Program in Gender Studies, and Director of the Stevanovich Institute on the Formation of Knowledge
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Farquhar-Beijing-sm_1.jpgJudith Farquhar
Max Palevsky Professor of Anthropology Emerita and of Social Sciences
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Ginsburg, Tom-sm_1.jpgTom Ginsburg
Leo Spitz Professor of International Law, Ludwig and Hilde Wolf Research Scholar, and Professor of Political Science
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JamesARobinson-vsm.jpgJames A. Robinson
University Professor, Harris School of Public Policy, University of Chicago
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