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


Future Fields: "Global" Methodologies and Art of the Middle East

Organizing Fellows

  • Alex Dika Seggerman, Five College Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow of Islamic Art
  • Sarah-Neel Smith, Maryland Institute College of Art
  • Maggie Lind, Smith College Museum of Art

March 31-April 2, 2016

Over the past few years, the field of modern and contemporary art of the Middle East has become increasingly institutionalized within the humanities. The question of what such a field might consist of has given way to the question of how to forge appropriate methodologies to research and teach cultural modernities of the Middle East. This emergent area of study embodies the larger dilemmas that confront the humanities during their ongoing "global turn." Above all it prompts us to ask: How can we reshape existing theories of culture, politics, and society based in Western-derived histories and ideas in order to study the many cultural practices that are only now being integrated into humanities' purview? Read the complete project description.

Apply for Future Fields.

The Empire of Cotton

Organizing Fellow

  • Kiki Smith, Theatre

Friday-Saturday, April 22-23, 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.