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The Future of Scholarly Knowledge: Principles, Pressures, and Prospects

35th Social Research Conference, October 13-14, 2016

What is twenty-first-century “scholarly knowledge”—and why do we care? Is there a place in contemporary society for pure research and intellectual investigation or must all research and education prove its worth?

In the mid-twentieth century, pure science needed no defense. The role of research universities in the decades following WW II was clear. The “Ivory Tower” depended heavily on public funding, private philanthropy, and university donors who did not question its importance.

Times have changed. Trust in the academy and pure scholarship has eroded. Private gain wrestles with public good, and demands for accountability—cost-benefit analysis in the form of jobs, products, and competition on an international scale—are now the norm.

What does the future hold for scholarly knowledge and the people and institutions that traditionally produced it?

Join us October 13th and 14th and our panels of experts discussing what the future holds for scholarly knowledge.

This conference is made possible by the generous support from Sage Publications to the Future of Scholarly Knowledge Project.



DAY 1: Thursday, October 13th

LOCATION: University Center, Tishman Auditorium, 63 Fifth Ave, NY. NY

Session I: 6:00 – 7:30 PM


David Bromwich, Sterling Professor of English, Yale University

INTRODUCTION: Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs, Special Advisor to the President, Columbia University

DAY 2: Friday, October 14th

LOCATION: Theresa Lang Student and Community Center, 55 W. 13th St, NY, NY

SESSION II: 10 AM – 12:00 PM


Daniel Kevles, Stanley Woodward Professor Emeritus of History, History of Medicine & American Studies; Yale University

Rosalind C. Morris, Professor of Anthropology and Director of Graduate Studies, Columbia University

Akeel Bilgrami, Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy, Committee on Global Thought

Director, South Asian Institute, Columbia University

Moderator: James E. Miller, Professor of Politics and Liberal Studies and Special Advisor to Provost; The New School for Social Research



Steven G. Brint, Distinguished Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside

Arthur Lupia, Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan

Richard A. Shweder, Harold H. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development, University of Chicago

Moderator: Ira Katznelson, Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History, Columbia University

SESSION IV: 3:30 PM – 6:00 PM


Jeremiah P. Ostriker, Professor of Astronomy, Columbia University

Joshua M. Greenberg, Program Director, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Wolfgang Rohe, Executive Director, Stiftung Mercator

Moderator: Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs, Special Advisor to the President, Columbia University



Akeel Bilgrami got a B.A in English Literature from Elphinstone College, Bombay University and went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar where he read Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He has a Ph.D in Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He is the Sidney Morgenbesser Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, where he is also a Professor on the Committee on Global Thought. He was the Director of the Humanities Center at Columbia University for seven years and is currently the Director of its South Asian Institute. His publications include the books Belief and Meaning (1992), Self-Knowledge and Resentment (2006), and Secularism, Identity and Enchantment (2014). He is due to publish two short books in the near future: What is a Muslim? and Gandhi's Integrity. His long-term future work is on the relations between agency, value, and practical reason.

Steven Brint is an organizational sociologist whose current research focuses on topics in the sociology of higher education, the sociology of professions, and middle-class politics. He is the author of three books: The Diverted Dream (with Jerome Karabel) (Oxford University Press, 1989), In an Age of Experts (Princeton University Press, 1994), Schools and Societies (Pine Forge/Sage, 1998, second ed. Stanford University Press 2006). He is the editor of The Future of the City of Intellect (Stanford University Press, 2002). He is the co-editor (with Jean Reith Schroedel) of the two volume series, Evangelicals and Democracy in America (Russell Sage Foundation Press 2009). His articles have appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Sociological Theory, Minerva, Work and Occupations, Sociology of Education, The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, The Journal of Higher Education, and many other journals. His book, The Diverted Dream, won the American Education Research Association's “Outstanding Book” award of 1991 and the Council of Colleges and Universities' “Outstanding Research Publication” award the same year. His article, “Socialization Messages in Primary Schools: An Organizational Analysis,” (with Mary F. Contreras and Michael T. Matthews) won the American Sociological Association's Willard Waller Award for the best article on education in 2001. His work has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, French, Italian, Japanese, and Spanish. He was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2008. He is currently at work on a new book,The Ends of Knowledge: Organizational and Cultural Change in U.S. Colleges and Universities, 1980-2012.

A native of Albuquerque, NM, Steven Brint received his B.A. with highest honors in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley and his Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University. He joined the faculty in Sociology at the University of California, Riverside in 1993, after teaching at Yale University from 1985-1992. At UCR, he received the Chancellor's Award for Fostering Undergraduate Research in 2006.

David Bromwich is Sterling Professor of English at Yale University. He has written extensively about British Romanticism, modern poetry, and the rhetoric of political persuasion. Among his books are Hazlitt: the Mind of a Critic (1983); Politics by Other Means: Higher Education and Group Thinking (1992); The Intellectual Life of Edmund Burke: From the Sublime and Beautiful to American Independence (2014); and Moral Imagination (2014).

Josh Greenberg is director of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation's Digital Information Technology program. He received his Bachelor of Arts in History of Science, Medicine and Technology from the Johns Hopkins University, and his PhD from Cornell University's Department of Science & Technology Studies. Prior to the Sloan Foundation, he was Associate Director for Research Projects at George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, and then became the New York Public Library's first Director of Digital Strategy and Scholarship. He serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Library Council, the Center for Open Science, and the American Geophysical Union.

Ira Katznelson has been Ruggles Professor of Political Science and History at Columbia University since 1994, and, since 2012, president of the Social Science Research Council. His most recent book, Fear Itself: The New Deal and the Origins of Our Time (Liveright, 2013), has been awarded the Bancroft Prize in History, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award and J. David Greenstone Prize in Political Science, and the Sidney Hillman Foundation Prize for Book Journalism. Professor Katznelson has served as a dean of the New School’s Graduate Faculty, and as president of the American Political Science Association and the Social Science History Association. He is a Research Associate at Cambridge University’s Centre for History and Economics.

Daniel J. Kevles writes about science, technology, medicine, and society past and present. His works include The Baltimore Case, In the Name of Eugenics, The Physicists, and articles, essays, and reviews in scholarly and popular journals, among them The New York Times, the New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, and the Times Literary Supplement. Recently retired from a professorship of history at Yale, he lives in New York City and is spending this academic year as a visitor at NYU Law School and Columbia Law School.

Arthur Lupia is the Hal R. Varian Professor of Political Science at the University of Michigan and research professor at its Institute for Social Research. He examines how people learn about politics and policy and works with many groups to improve science communication and political communication associated with improving quality of life. His academic leadership positions include Chair of the National Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine's Roundtable on the Communication and Use of Social and Behavioral Science. His newest book Uninformed: Why Citizens Know So Little About Politics and What We Can Do About It came out in 2016.

James Miller is Professor of Politics and Liberal Studies at the New School for Social Research, and also special advisor to the Provost. Among his books are Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche; The Passion of Michel Foucault; and “Democracy is in the Streets,” on the American New Left. He is currently preparing a new English edition of Diogenes Laertius’s Lives of the Eminent Philosophers for Harvard University Press, and also working on a new book, Democracy: The Troubled Fate of a Radical Idea.

Rosalind C. Morris is Professor Anthropology, and former Director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, as well as former Associate Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society at Columbia. She is the author of several books and numerous essays that range in their objects from the social life and historical archive of gold mining in South Africa, to the concept of subalternity. She also writes on photography, film and the mass media, and both materialist (Marxian) and deconstructionist (Derridean) philosophies. An anthropologist by training, Professor Morris is also a poet, librettist and filmmaker. Her forthcoming book, The Returns of Fetishism, with a translation of Charles de Brosses’s Du culte des dieux fétiches by Daniel Leonard, will be published by the University of Chicago Press in Spring 2017.

Jeremiah Ostriker has been an influential researcher in one of the most exciting areas of modern science, theoretical astrophysics, with current primary work in the area of cosmology, particularly the aspects that can be approached best by large scale numerical calculations.

Ostriker has investigated many areas of research, including the structure and oscillations of rotating stars, the stability of galaxies, the evolution of globular clusters and other star systems, pulsars, X-ray binary stars, the dynamics of clusters of galaxies, gravitational lensing, astrophysical blast waves, active galactic nuclei, the cosmic web, and galaxy formation.

Most significantly, Ostriker's research focused on the theories of dark matter and dark energy; the Warm-Hot Intergalactic Medium (WHIM); galaxy formation and black hole growth; and interaction between quasars and their surroundings.

Ostriker has supervised and collaborated with many young researchers and graduate students. He is the author or co-author of more than 500 scientific publications.

Ken Prewitt is the Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs and the Vice-President for Global Centers. He is also director of the Scholarly Knowledge Project. He taught Political Science at the University of Chicago from 1965-1982, and for shorter stints was on the faculty of Stanford University, Washington University, the University of Nairobi, Makerere University and the Graduate Faculty at the New School University (where he was also Dean).

Prewitt's professional career also includes: Director of the United States Census Bureau, Director of the National Opinion Research Center, President of the Social Science Research Council, and Senior Vice President of the Rockefeller Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Center for the Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the Russell-Sage Foundation, and member of other professional associations, including the Council on Foreign Relations. Among his awards are a Guggenheim Fellowship, honorary degrees from Carnegie Mellon and Southern Methodist University, a Distinguished Service Award from the New School for Social Research, the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany, the Charles E. Merriam Lifetime Career Award, American Political Science Association and a Lifetime National Associate of the NRC/NAS.

Dr Wolfgang Rohe was appointed as Executive Director of Stiftung Mercator in 2014 and heads the Science and Humanities Division. Since 2008 he has been responsible for Science and Humanities.

He previously held various positions at two main science organizations in Germany. From 1992 to 2002, he worked with the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) in Bonn, initially in the Department for Collaborative Research Centers and then as Head of the strategic planning unit. In 2002, he moved to the German Council of Science and Humanities (Wissenschaftsrat) where he served as Head of the Research Policy Department and since 2005 also as Vice Secretary General. Wolfgang Rohe holds a Ph.D. in German philology.

Richard A. Shweder is a cultural anthropologist and the Harold Higgins Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Human Development in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago.

He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, has served as President of the Society for Psychological Anthropology, co-chaired a joint Social Science Research Council/Russell Sage Foundation Working Group on “Law and Culture” and participated for a decade as a member of the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development (MIDMAC). He has been a recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (1985-86) and selected as a Carnegie Scholar (2002). He has been a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Palo Alto (1985-86 and 1995-96), a Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation (1990-91), a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (1999-2000) and a Member of the School of Social Science at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey (2008-2009).

Professor Shweder is the recipient of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Socio-Psychological Prize for his essay “Does the Concept of the Person Vary Cross-Culturally?” and author of Thinking Through Cultures: Expeditions in Cultural Psychology and Why Do Men Barbecue? Recipes for Cultural Psychology; and editor or co-editor of many books in the areas cultural psychology, psychological anthropology and comparative human development. His essay on academic freedom titled “To Follow the Argument Where It Leads: An Antiquarian View of the Aims of Academic Freedom at the University of Chicago” addresses some of the issues he will be discussing at the conference.

He has recently been selected to receive the 2016 Life Time Achievement Award of the Society for Psychological Anthropology.

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