The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought was founded in 1941 by the historian John U. Nef, the economist Frank Knight, the anthropologist Robert Redfield, and Robert M. Hutchins, then President of ... About the Committee

About the Committee

Since students in the Committee have unusual scope for independent study, successful work in Social Thought requires mature judgment and individual initiative. Naturally, the Committee wishes... Admission to the Committee

Admission to the Committee

Work with the Committee is not limited as to subject matter. Any serious program of study, based on the Fundamentals Examination, culminating in a scholarly doctoral dissertation, and requiring a framework... Graduate Program

Graduate Program

The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought

The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought is an interdisciplinary, Ph.D. granting graduate program. Its guiding principle is that the serious study of many academic topics, and of many philosophical, historical, theological and literary works, is best prepared for by a wide and deep acquaintance with the fundamental issues presupposed in all such studies, that students should learn about these issues by acquainting themselves with a select number of major ancient and modern texts in an inter- disciplinary atmosphere, and should only then begin intense work on a specific dissertation topic. In their first few years of study, students select twelve to fifteen foundational or fundamental books that best inform the context and background of the issues they want to write about, and they read and study these books in discussion groups, tutorials, seminars and independently, and then sit a week long qualifying exam on some selection of their books. Learn more

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October 6, 2014 : CST Colloquium given by Jonathan Lear

October 20, 2014 : Nef Lecture given by Bryan Garsten (Yale University)

November 20, 2014 : Poetry Reading by Mary Gordon

December 4, 2014 : Poetry Reading by Robert Polito

The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought Video