As an interdisciplinary research center in the Chicago tradition, the Institute on the Formation of Knowledge brings together specialists with a strong interest in communicating across boundaries of all kinds. These include international scholars, teachers, researchers, and prominent annual visiting faculty, including MacArthur award winners, Guggenheim fellows and public intellectuals from the United States and abroad.


Their immediate research fields may be in microbiome analysis, Mesopotamian astronomy, imperial Chinese taxation, comparative ecology, or the reception of Darwin’s theories, but they share a determination to make their work speak to publics other than that of fellow specialists and to discover broad patterns in the interaction between knowledge and society.