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About the Institute


Kahn Liberal Arts Institute

21 Henshaw Avenue
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: 413-585-3721
Fax: 413-585-4294
Photo of the Kahn Institute building

A group of faculty members proposed the idea of a liberal arts institute as an innovative way to provide intellectual as well as physical space for scholarly development. Their goal was to create an imaginatively designed and managed institute, outside the curriculum but creatively linked to it, to give faculty, students and outside experts a place to collaborate on research projects of broad scope. They also envisioned a rich series of public events related to these projects to enhance the intellectual life of the college. 

History of the Kahn Institute

A generous bequest from Louise Wolff Kahn ’31 substantially augmented the Louise W. and Edmund J. Kahn Fund for Faculty Excellence, making it possible to establish the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute in 1998. The institute opened in September 2000 on the third floor of Neilson Library and is now located at 21 Henshaw Avenue.



About the Director

Suzanne Gottschang is a medical anthropologist with research interests in women, public health, technology, policy and socioeconomic change in China. Gottschang teaches courses on rural and urban China, women in East Asia and the anthropology of reproduction. Her teaching also reflects the use of design thinking in a liberal arts context. Her research examines the intersection of gender, reproductive technologies, public health and policy. Current research projects include a collaboration on science, technology and modernity in East Asia with colleagues at Hong Kong University; the commodification of breastmilk in China and the United States; and traditional Chinese veterinary medicine in the United States and China. Gottschang has published in such journals as Medical Anthropology Quarterly and the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

Communications & Project Administrator

Lauren Anderson

Administrative Coordinator

Christine Reynolds

Advisory Committee (2023-24)

Lauren Anderson 
Communications/Publicity and Project Manager, Kahn Institute

Alexis Callender
Assistant Professor of Art

Jean Ferguson
Director of Learning, Research and Technology

Susan Fliss
Dean of Libraries, ex-officio

Christophe Golé
Professor of Mathematical Sciences; Faculty Director of the Clark Science Center

Suzanne Gottschang 
Professor of Anthropology and of East Asian Studies; Director of the Kahn Institute

Colin Hoag
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Jessica Nicoll
Director & Chief Curator of the Smith Museum of Art, ex-officio

Nina Pelaez
Associate Director of Learning and Interpretation, Smith College Museum of Art

Christine Reynolds
Administrative Coordinator, Kahn Institute

Sujane Wu
Professor of East Asian Languages