About the Institute
Kahn Fellowships
Current Projects
Future Projects
Past Projects
The Kahn Chronicle
News & Announcements
Contact Us
Current Projects

Memory: Form, Function, and Fallibility (2015–16)

memoryOrganizing Fellows

Memory is crucial to human thought and reasoning; it is fundamental to daily function, to the construction of personal identity, to social interaction and historical documentation. Fields as varied as religion and computer science, literature, linguistics and anthropology have long grappled with the nature of memory and how it functions. Recent research in neuroscience has added new levels of complexity to our understanding of memory and its reliability, and to questions that cut across all disciplines: What is the relationship between memory and an event? Is memory a recording or a re-creation? How are collective memories constructed and sustained? Read the complete project description.

Project fellows



Organizing Fellow

Spend five minutes watching a small child on the playground. She finds a set of stairs she has not navigated before. Tentatively and painstakingly, she figures out a combination of moves and holds that enable her to get to the top. What does she do then? She makes her way back down and does it again, more confidently, more quickly, more effectively. Read the complete project description

Project fellows


Short-term projects 2015-16

Excavating the Image:
Factum (Tremblay)
by Candice Breitz

Organizing Fellow

  • Maggie Lind, Associate Director of Academic Programs and Public Education, Museum of Art

Thursday-Friday, January 14-15, 2016

An annual collaboration between the Museum of Art and the Kahn Institute focusing on a single artwork from multiple viewpoints and disciplines. Factum (Tremblay) is a recent museum acquisition of video art by South African artist Candice Breitz featuring in-depth video interviews with identical twins Natalyn and Jocelyn Tremblay. The work raises questions about identity, memory, sexuality, individuation, nature vs. nurture, self-definition and gender performativity. Read the complete project description.

Apply for Excavating the Image: Factum (Tremblay)

Futurisms I: The Ten Thousand Year Collection

Organizing Fellows

  • Nancy Bradbury, English Language and Literature
  • Martin Antonetti, Libraries, Special Collection
  • Jessica Nicoll, Museum of Art

December 10-12, 2015

This project will begin with a public lecture by Elizabeth Merritt, Vice President of Strategic Foresight and Founding Director for the Center for the Future of Museums at the American Alliance of Museums. Through the chronological frame of 10,000 years, Merritt will consider what preservation and interpretation could really mean across Millennia. Participating fellows will continue the conversation with Merritt, addressing topics such as shifting institutional culture and the structures of knowledge, the etics of collecting, and the value of tangible things in the preservation of heritage and culture for future generations. Read the complete project description.

The Empire of Cotton

Organizing Fellow

  • Kiki Smith, Theatre

Friday-Saturday, April 29-30, 2016

Cotton has been the stuff of conflict and controversies in all parts of the globe for more than 5500 years. It is woven into the histories of cities and connected to disparate concerns. This three-day Kahn colloquium will use as its starting point a book, Empire of Cotton: A Global History, by Sven Beckert, a work that engages with virtually every academic discipline. Faculty from a wide range of disciplines are invited to come together to discuss the book and the interesting evolution of cotton in an informal and open-ended way. Read the complete project description.