The new MAPSS concentration in the Formation of Knowledge draws from the interdisciplinary faculty of the University-wide Institute on the Formation of Knowledge (IFK). The Institute was launched at the University of Chicago in the fall of 2015 as as a laboratory for faculty and students to test their own underlying beliefs and assumptions, and those of their disciplines, an important complement to the deep thinking done in multiple modes across the University. IFK is guided by a set of five principles that inform how we think about knowledge as 21st century leaders and scholars:

  1. 1. The study of knowledge is the study of claims to knowledge.  
  2. 2. All knowledge forms are embedded in a specific context, and are shaped by that context.  
  3. 3. Knowledge is processual, not static.  
  4. 4. Knowledge occurs in response to particular questions.  Unasked questions have produced silence, not knowledge.
  5. 5. The study of knowledge formation recognizes that sub-knowledges, unauthoritative knowledges, and disputed knowledges can all exist simultaneously within a given culture.

Students in the Formation of Knowledge MAPSS concentration will have an opportunity to engage in the institute's dynamic intellectual life, including a regular “Cultures & Knowledge” workshop series, a University of Chicago press journal entitled KNOW: A Journal on the Formation of Knowledge, and a collection of critical essays published regularly on IFK's blog Formations

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