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Kahn Liberal Arts Institute

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Since 1998, the Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Liberal Arts Institute has supported collaborative research among Smith and Five College faculty, Smith students and visiting scholars—all without regard to the traditional boundaries of departments, programs and academic divisions. Each year the institute supports long- and short-term projects that are proposed, planned and organized by Smith College faculty. 


Eszter Hargittai ’96, ‘The Black Box of Information Access in the Age of Artificial Intelligence’

While we know that artificial intelligence plays an increasingly important role in what information people encounter in everyday life, we know surprisingly little about people’s awareness and understanding of such technologies. The talk will shed light on people’s algorithm skills drawing on data collected through interviews in several countries and through national surveys of US adults. Hargittai is Chaired Professor of Internet Use & Society at the University of Zurich and the Fall 2023 Neilson Professor.

Information Session: Possible Futures: AI and Human Experience

Learn more about the Spring 2025 Long-term Kahn Project, “Possible Futures: AI and Human Experience.” Participants may also attend over Zoom

Information Session: Vegetal Forms: Knowing Place and Time Through Plants

Learn more about the Fall 2024 Long-term Kahn Project, “Vegetal Forms: Knowing Place and Time Through Plants​.” Lunch will be provided for the first 16 people.

Eszter Hargittai ’96, ‘Digital Inequality during Pandemic Lockdowns’

Drawing on national survey data collected in the early days of the pandemic in three countries (US, Italy, Switzerland), Eszter Hargittai ’96 will share how people’s digital privilege related to their knowledge and misconceptions about the COVID-19 virus with consequences for whether they stayed safe during lockdowns. Hargittai is Chaired Professor of Internet Use & Society at the University of Zurich and the Fall 2023 Neilson Professor.


Research Without Boundaries

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“The Kahn Institute is unique. No other college has anything quite like it—an incubator for cross-disciplinary research, debate and colleagueship, and a haven for free speech.”
Marjorie Senechal, Kahn Institute founding director

Maggie Olszewski smiling


“My experience in my Kahn project was totally life changing!”
Maggie Olszewski ’23, A.B., English Language & Literature and Film & Media Studies



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“As a first-generation college student, the Kahn gave me an inside view into the scholarly process that I may not have gotten otherwise, and it was an incredibly valuable experience.”
Maric Kramer ’04


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Kahn Liberal Arts Institute

21 Henshaw Avenue
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3721
Fax: 413-585-4294