Registration closes for Summer 2021 eight and ten-week courses (Basic Program, Open Enrollment, Writer's Studio, Visual Arts)
Registration closes for Summer 2021 eight and ten-week courses (Basic Program, Open Enrollment, Writer's Studio, Visual Arts)
Basic Program instructors exemplify the University’s emphasis on interdisciplinary studies. Instructors in the program are generalists who teach across the curriculum, regardless of academic specialty, building connections that add dimension to the individual readings. Trained in the methods of close reading and discussion practiced at the University of Chicago, they foster rigorous yet inclusive discussions in the classroom.
Mr. (Joe) Alulis has a PhD in political science from the University of Chicago. He has published articles on Tocqueville, Lincoln, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, and the film maker Whit Stillman, and is co-editor of two collections of scholarly essays, Tocqueville’s Defense of Human Freedom (1993) and Shakespeare’s Political Pageant (1996). His most recent publication is “’To Make High Majesty Look Like Itself’: Shakespeare’s Richard II and the Nature of the Good Regime” (2018). He has held appointments at three area colleges, Loyola University of Chicago, Lake Forest College, and North Park University where he is currently professor of politics and government and chair of the department. At North Park his teaching responsibilities include American foreign policy, international politics, and politics of the Middle East. Joe first taught for the Basic Program in 1982. His scholarly interests include political philosophy, American political thought, and the thought of Shakespeare, Tocqueville, Lincoln, Dostoevsky, and Saul Bellow.
Lindsay Atnip is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Center for Humanities and Social Change and an Instructor in the Basic Program. She received her PhD in 2019 from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, specializing in the philosophy of literature and twentieth-century American literature, especially “modern apocalyptic” fiction and poetry. She holds a BA in Economics and an MA in Political Philosophy from the University of Chicago. Her academic interests include Western literature, literary theory and philosophy of literature, film, classic social theory, and philosophy. Ms. Atnip joined the Basic Program in 2015.
Noah Chafets holds a BA in philosophy from Vassar College and an MA from the University’s Committee on Social Thought, where he is currently pursuing a PhD. His dissertation is about desire and motivation in Plato’s Gorgias and Rhetoric. He has taught high school students in Boston and Shanghai, and taught undergraduates at the University, primarily in core sequences in the Humanities and Social Sciences, for a decade before joining the Basic Program. His interests are well represented by the texts in the Basic Program’s curriculum, but also extend to contemporary ethics and practical philosophy, aesthetics and film.
Mr. Cleveland joined the Basic Program in 1968 while still a graduate student. From 1972 to 1974 he served as director of the program and he has served as a staff member ever since. His background is in philosophy and law, and he holds advanced degrees from the University of Chicago in both fields, but he feels that 50 years’ work learning from the greatest books and discussing them with interested students amounts to the best possible continuing education. He has taught all parts of the program and offered additional courses on the sciences, ancient philosophy, science fiction, Japanese literature, and many other texts and subjects. During many summers he has taught courses on texts of Plato and Aristotle. Having administered Columbia College Chicago’s graduate programs for many years, and served for two years as both director of Advising and LAS Initiatives in the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences and director of the College Honors Program, he left the College in August 2011. He is the 2009 recipient of the Graham School’s Excellence in Teaching Award for the Basic Program.
Joshua Daniel graduated from the University of Chicago in 2013. After teaching at several Chicago-area colleges and universities, he has settled into being a Basic Program instructor. While his main focus of intellectual interest remains ethics, teaching in the Basic Program has immensely broadened his interests.
Ms. Eisenman started teaching in the Basic Program in 1992, and served as the Cyril O. Houle Chair from 2015-2020. She has a BA in Greek from Vassar College and an MA in Classics from University of Chicago, where she has also done advanced graduate work. Her main academic focus is on Greek and Roman history and philosophy, Classical cultural history and gender studies. She taught in the College at the University of Chicago and in the Philosophy Department at St. Xavier University. She is the 2014 recipient of the Graham School’s Excellence in Teaching Award for the Basic Program, and is currently Director of Academics at the Graham School.
Charles Elder joined the Basic Program staff in the Spring of 2000, after almost ten years of undergraduate teaching at the University of Chicago and Valparaiso University. Though trained as a scholar of religion and psychology – and the author of a critical re-examination of Freud and psychoanalytic thought, The Grammar of the Unconscious: The Conceptual Foundations of Psychoanalysis-his interests have shifted in recent years toward philosophy, social and cultural theory, and issues of modernity, and especially in the relationship between philosophical, literary, and scientific modes of discourse as integral moments in the abiding search for human wisdom. Prior to his return to graduate school in the mid-80s, he spent a number of years working odd jobs in Alaska and trying (with mixed success) to comprehend directly what philosophers and poets have historically understood by “nature.” In addition to the Basic Program, he continues to teach in Social Science Core at the University of Chicago and in the Chicago Odyssey Project, a program that provides college-level humanities education to lower income adults.
Ms. Fernandez holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in English literature. She has been an instructor in the Basic Program since 1999 and has also taught at Kalamazoo College, Denver Free University, and the University of Chicago. The major focus of her graduate work at the University of Chicago was late medieval literature, especially Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, in the context of classical and medieval philosophy. Other enthusiasms include classical literature, Old English poetry, 17th century English literature, 19th century American literature, 19th and 20th century philosophy, and modern and contemporary poetry. She also loves the movies, especially horror and science fiction. She is the 2011 recipient of the Graham School’s Excellence in Teaching Award for the Basic Program.
Mr. Hall has been teaching in the Basic Program since 1992, and is currently ABD for the PhD in Hebrew Bible at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. His dissertation is entitled “Writhing Like a Woman in Travail: Transformations of a Biblical Motif in Early Judaism and the New Testament.” Steve began his career in higher education by taking a BA in philosophy of religion. He has also earned a MA in Hebrew language studies at the American Institute in Jerusalem and a ThM in Old Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Steve has held two academic positions first at North Park University then at Trinity College. Since joining the Basic Program, he has worked at learning the four year curriculum but has also offered alumni courses related to Biblical Studies: the Hebrew Epic (Joshua through Kings); the Megilloth; the Poetic books of the Bible; the story of the Exodus, and John Milton’sParadise Lost. He has lectured on Abraham Lincoln, “the Apocalyptic Language in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address,” Abraham, the biblical character, and Jane Austen, “Beauty in the Eyes of the Beheld: Discovering love in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.” Besides reading philosophy and literature, Steve enjoys a round of golf and a match of tennis.
Richard Hoskins holds a PhD from the University of Chicago and a JD from Northwestern University, where he teaches in the Law School and has been awarded the Law School’s highest teaching award. Richard is also a practicing lawyer with a Chicago law firm and former Assistant United States Attorney in the Department of Justice, Southern District of New York. He has published articles in academic journals and taught at the University of Virginia Law School. His doctoral dissertation explored the relationship between the political thought of Reinhold Niebuhr and the schools of international relations theory, which is also the subject of a chapter he has contributed to the Oxford Handbook of Reinhold Niebuhr. His primary interests are in political philosophy and theology, U.S. political and legal history, and European religious and social thought.
Mr. Krick did his undergraduate study in English and holds an advanced degree from the Committee on the Analysis of Ideas and the Study of Methods at the University of Chicago. He has been teaching with the Basic Program since 1965, and specializes in literature and film. He also teaches at the Bernard Weinger Jewish Community Center in Northbrook.
Christopher Lynch received his BA from St. John’s College and his PhD from the University of Chicago in the Committee on Social Thought. He is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Carthage College, and has been a Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Chicago. His research concerns Machiavelli, whose Art of War he has translated. He also coedited the collection of essays, Principle and Prudence in Western Political Thought (2016).
Katia Mitova, who has been teaching in the Basic Program since 1998, holds an MA in Comparative Slavic Studies from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria, and an MA and PhD from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago. In her native city, Sofia, she worked as an assistant professor of Slavic literatures, literary critic, the Editor of the national quarterly magazine for literature and political philosophy, Panorama, and daily correspondent for Radio Free Europe. She has published two books of poetry, The Human Shell, in Bulgarian, and Dream Diary (2013), in English. She has translated (into Bulgarian) and edited about a dozen books of fiction, poetry, and philosophy. She taught philosophy and literature in the College at the University of Chicago. Her research and teaching interests include storytelling as well as the relationship between ethics and aesthetics. Katia Mitova is the 2008 recipient of the Graham School’s Excellence in Teaching Award for the Basic Program.
Ms. Pearson joined the Basic Program staff in 1997, after 10 years of undergraduate teaching at the University of Chicago and the Honors College at Valparaiso University. She did her undergraduate work as well as graduate work (with the Committee on Social Thought) at the University of Chicago, where she worked on the intersections of literature and philosophy, with special attention to the interrelationship of literature and ethics. While in graduate school she studied in Germany on a DAAD fellowship, and then taught for three years in Germany in a study-abroad program for American undergraduates. She has given papers and published articles on Martin Heidegger, and lectures regularly for the Basic Program. In addition to her work in higher education, she also spent a year as lead teacher and acting principal at a Chicago area alternative high school. From 2004 to 2008, she chaired the Basic Program and co-designed the Asian Classics program, which she also chaired from 2006 to early 2009. She is the 2008 recipient of the Graham School Excellence in Teaching Award for the Basic Program, and in addition to her classes at the basic program, currently teaches in the Humanities and Philosophy Department at Oakton Community College.
Mr. Rose did his graduate work with the Committee on General Studies in the Humanities and the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago. He is primarily interested in exploring the ways in which the production and reception of texts of all types affect human life, especially the ways in which texts shape people’s views about themselves and the world they live in. Although this often means working with “scriptures” (such as the Hebrew Bible, New Testament and the Koran), this interest has also led him to apply the same approach to “great works” of literature (such as Homer’s Odyssey, Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter). Adam has taught in the Basic Program since 1993, is a former Staff Chair and recipient of the 2007 Graham School Excellence in Teaching Award.
Ms. Rutz received her PhD from the University of Chicago in 2013. Her dissertation topic is Shakespeare’s King Lear and its folktale analogues, a subject on which she has delivered several lectures. For several years she worked with Mortimer Adler on his Paideia Project, an education reform project which encourages high school and elementary school teachers to help students think critically through Great Books seminars and coaching. Her academic interests include mythology, folktales, Milton, Willa Cather, and ancient Greek philosophy and literature. She joined the Basic Program in 1991, serving as Staff Chair from 1999 to 2004, and is currently Director of Faculty Development at Valparaiso University.
Kendall Sharp is currently the Cyril O. Houle Chair of the Basic Program of Liberal Education for Adults. He holds a PhD from the Committee on Social Thought and a BA from the College at the University of Chicago. Formerly, he was Assistant Professor in the Department of Classical Studies at the University of Western Ontario, and has taught also at DePaul University (History), the University of Illinois-Chicago (Classics), and in the College (Humanities). He rejoined the Basic Program in 2019, having last served on staff in 1999-2000. His research and publishing focus on Plato’s dialogues as literary expressions of the philosophical life. His teaching has included Greek and Latin languages, classics in translation (literature, philosophy, history), and both classical mythology and ancient Greek science.
David Shiner is Professor Emeritus at Shimer College (now the Shimer Great Books School at North Central College), where he taught for 40 years and served several terms as Dean of the College. At Shimer Professor Shiner taught all 16 required courses on subjects as distinct as literature, chemistry, psychology, and politics. He has also taught at other colleges as well as at Great Discourses, an online provider of high-quality noncredit courses. He has written on the dialogues of Plato, the philosophy of the French Enlightenment, game theory, economics, and paradox. His non-academic activities include chess, acting, musical performance, and sports. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from Pacific Miramar University. He has a special interest in classics, especially classical philosophy.
Atiya Singh completed her PhD in History at the University of Chicago, where she currently serves as Program Administrator for Law, Letters, and Society in the College. She has a long-standing commitment to the Common Core as a lecturer in two of its iconic sequences (Self, Culture, and Society; Colonizations), for which she won the 2012 Wayne C. Booth Undergraduate Teaching Prize. For the Social Sciences Collegiate Division, she worked on two programmatic initiatives: The Core Forum and the Social Science Writing Program. Her primary research interests include history of the Left, critical and social theory, and psychoanalysis.Currently, she is working on her manuscript, The Vicissitudes of Democracy: The Failure of the Left in Pakistan, 1968. Singh has been teaching in the Basic Program since 2017.
Ms. Thomas Elder holds a BS in biology and advanced degrees in classics and the study of religion. Her research at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago dealt with allegory and textual interpretation in early Christianity. She has taught in a number of different contexts, including a museum, a Girl Scout camp, middle school, high school, college and seminary. For many years she taught in and directed the Odyssey Project, college-level humanities program for adults living on low incomes, as part of the Bard College Clemente Course. She has been a Basic Program instructor since 1999.
Ms. Traudt holds a BFA in painting from Saint Mary’s College at Notre Dame and an MA from the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago, where she focused on literature and did dissertation work on Shakespeare, Joyce, and Yeats. She also immersed in aesthetics and art history at Washington University in St. Louis. She joined the Basic Program as an instructor in 1982 and served as Staff Chair from 1991 to 1995. She teaches across the curriculum, from Plato to Woolf, and offers regular summer and alumni classes on poetry, Joyce, and Faulkner, in addition to seminars on Stoppard, the fine arts, Melville, Yeats, Toni Morrison, and many others. Claudia also taught in the arts and humanities for Columbia College Chicago. She is the 2006 recipient of the Graham School’s Excellence in Teaching Award for the Basic Program.
Austin Walker is preparing a dissertation at the University of Chicago's Committee on Social Thought on John Henry Newman's Political Philosophy. He holds a BA in Greek and Latin and Comparative Literature from the University of North Carolina and an MA from the University of Mississippi. Before coming to Chicago, he taught English, Latin, and Drama for 4 years in Hollandale, Mississippi. He and his wife have a young daughter.
Stephen C. Walker holds a PhD in Philosophy of Religions from the University of Chicago Divinity School. He studies philosophy and the history of philosophy across multiple traditions; his research focuses on classical Chinese thought and especially on Daoism. Stephen has also worked extensively with Sanskrit materials, particularly those reflecting the classical heritage of exacting interreligious debate. Interests that inform his writing and teaching include the personal and social contexts for philosophical work, the ambiguity and malleability of concepts, and the role that humanistic studies can play in cultivating appreciation for diverse points of view.
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