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Art installation inside Mansueto Library dome transforms OI’s ancient figures

The installation "aeon" on Mansueto Library's dome, with researchers below.

To celebrate the OI’s 100th anniversary, artist Ann Hamilton has transformed stone and ceramic figures into an installation in the Manseuto Library.

Artist Ann Hamilton’s evocative images make ‘the ancient past tangible’

During a visit to the University of Chicago, visual artist Ann Hamilton became enamored with the Oriental Institute’s collection of stone and ceramic figures—ancient but timeless, inanimate but strangely alive. To celebrate the OI’s 100th anniversary, she has transformed those figures into a public installation inside one of the campus’ most iconic structures.

Photo of Ann Hamilton

Ann Hamilton (Photo by Calista Lyon)

In the fall of 2018, Hamilton spent a week in residency working with the OI Museum’s curators, conservators and registrars to make images of ancient Egyptian and Mesopotamian artifacts using early-generation scanners. The images, enlarged to gigantic scale, are now affixed to the elliptical glass dome of the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library Grand Reading Room, creating Hamilton’s new installation titled aeon, which is on display through October.

Printed on 160 sheets of semi-transparent film, each 2 x 2 meters, the 20 images Hamilton created are not intended to duplicate what might appear in a museum display case. She sought to reveal ineffable qualities of these objects through the use of scanners, in a unique hybrid of gestural drawing and lensless photography.

The unsettling liveliness of the images echoes a fundamental quality imparted to the figures by their makers millennia ago. The Egyptian Ushabti were placed in tombs in larger numbers, journeying with the entombed person to the world beyond, ready to spring to life as servants. The Mesopotamian figures were deemed so much alive that they were given food and drink, since the care given to these effigies had direct consequences for people in the underworld.

The view from inside Mansueto Library of the "aeon" installation

The view from inside Mansueto Library of the “aeon” exhibit. (Photo by Tom Rossiter)

Mansueto Reading Room Dome

“Ann’s images have an equal partner in the magnificent Mansueto dome,” said Laura Steward, the UChicago Curator of Public Art, who invited Hamilton to make the project. The dome provides both awesome scale—some images are 12 meters tall—and dazzling illumination. After several thousand years entombed underground, and nearly a century enclosed in the OI’s display cases, these temple figures derive majesty and power from their location in the Mansueto.

“Across centuries, we stand in front of these figures, with a felt sense of recognition,” said Hamilton, who is known internationally for her large-scale multimedia installations, public projects and performance collaborations. “The liveness of the object draws us toward it, makes a connection, sparks curiosity.”

When conceptualizing aeon, Hamilton felt drawn to the “temple-like feel” of Mansueto Library—designed by architect Helmut Jahn and opened in 2011—as well as the chance to juxtapose ancient figures with one of UChicago’s most futuristic buildings. She sought to explore the nature of reading rooms as places of gathering—the paradox of being present in a space, but escaping from it.

“When you read, you are in two places—the reading room and the faraway world of the book,” said Hamilton. “That particular quality of simultaneous attentions is central to aeon.

Hamilton worked with a small flatbed desktop scanner and a handheld wand scanner, both designed with a shallow depth of field and intended for documents, not three-dimensional objects.

The movement of the scan head, whether driven mechanically or by hand, differentiates scanners from traditional cameras. The resulting images record the movement of the scanner’s light across the figure over time. Strangely, this sense of movement accrues not to the photographic process, but to the figures themselves. That, and the shallow depth of field, make them seem to actively emerge from a misty background.

The OI

For the OI, which since its founding in 1919 has led groundbreaking research of ancient Middle Eastern civilizations, the exhibition invigorates and reinterprets the type of work and research often hidden from the public eye.

Ann Hamilton scans a figure

Ann Hamilton scans a figure (Photo by Jessica Naples Grilli)

“Ann Hamilton’s installation makes the ancient past tangible,” said Jean M. Evans, the OI Museum’s Chief Curator and Deputy Director. “By taking these artifacts out of the Museum and transposing them onto such a prominent space—but one where you don’t expect to see them—the installation makes us think about why ancient civilizations, our beginnings, are still so important and relevant.”

The OI’s centennial provided an impetus for a major reinstallation of the objects on display. For this reason, many of the OI’s most extraordinary small objects were out of their cases and available to Hamilton for this project.

“Our centennial is a time to reflect on a century of accomplishments, but just as importantly it is an occasion to look to the future, set new, ambitious goals, and expand our scope,” said Christopher Woods, OI director and the John A. Wilson Professor of Sumerology. “Fostering greater engagement with the contemporary arts is critical to this vision and a major focus of our centennial celebrations. We are delighted that an artist of Ann Hamilton’s caliber has found inspiration in our collection and has partnered with us on this evocative installation.”

A professor of art at Ohio State University, Hamilton is known for site-specific installations that examine how knowledge is shaped by language and touch. Her recent projects include CHORUS—a text-based marble mural in New York City’s WTC Cortlandt Station—and O N E E V E R Y O N E, a series of portraits shot through translucent polyurethane sheets.

“What we feel in the images is the tactile point of contact,” Hamilton said. “We know things, or the felt quality of things, not because we have more information but sometimes because there is less.”

Just as historical perspective shifts in time, these translucent images change depending on the vantage point of the viewer. One angle might throw the figures against a concrete backdrop; take a few steps, and they may rest instead on trees or clouds.

For aeon, Krueck + Sexton Architects facilitated integration of art and architecture and served as technical advisor to Hamilton and UChicago. ER2 Image Group provided support to Hamilton’s vision in the production and installation of aeon.

On Sept. 17, UChicago will host a public event from 6 to 8 p.m. as part of EXPO Art Week to celebrate the installation of aeon, featuring remarks from Hamilton. The installation will be open to the general public on Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m.

In addition, UChicago Library’s Special Collections Research Center Gallery will feature an exhibition exploring the OI’s century of excavation and scholarship. “Discovery, Collection, Memory: The Oriental Institute at 100” will be open to the public through Dec. 13. A free, curator-led tour of the Special Collections exhibition also will be available to the public during Humanities Day on Oct. 19.

Visitors without a UChicago ID can enter to see the installation and the exhibition by obtaining a visitor pass from the ID and Privileges Office in Regenstein Library.

“The importance of the Middle Eastern collection at the University of Chicago Library is recognized by scholars throughout the world,” said Brenda Johnson, director and University librarian. “The Library shares the OI’s commitment to rigorous explorations of the world’s history and is pleased to celebrate this important centennial by hosting Ann Hamilton’s aeon and the exhibition in the Special Collections Research Center.”

An external view of the "aeon" installation on Mansueto Library's dome at night

When conceptualizing “aeon,” Hamilton felt drawn to the “temple-like feel” of Mansueto Library.

Since its founding in 1919, the OI has led a century of excavations and research projects throughout the Middle East, many of which continue today in countries including Egypt, Iraq, Turkey and Afghanistan. The comprehensive and rigorous work of OI scholars deciphers ancient languages; reconstructs histories, literatures and religions of long-lost civilizations; and creates transformative dictionaries that serve as cultural encyclopedias essential to understanding the ancient world.

As part of the centennial celebrations, the OI Museum’s galleries have been fully renovated and more than 500 new objects have been put on display. Special events as well as artist collaborations are planned throughout the 2019–2020 academic year, kicking off with a public celebration on Saturday, Sept. 28. A full listing is available at the centennial website.

A University of Chicago news story

New location for Science Librarians at Crerar

crerar officesCrerar reference librarians are now in their permanent office area in Crerar Library.  They are still on the first floor but on the north side of the building behind the Zar Room and accessible from the door to the right.  Feel free to come by if you have a question with which you need help.  You can also contact us by phone or email with questions or to set up an appointment.   We are always happy to help!

 

 

AEON

Art Installation Location: The Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, 1100 E. 57th Street, Chicago, IL 60637

Dates:  September 18 – October 31, 2019

Hours: The installation will be open to the general public on Saturdays from 9 to 11 a.m. Visitors without a UChicago ID can enter to see the installation by obtaining a visitor pass from the ID and Privileges Office in Regenstein Library, which is connected to the Mansueto Library.


The view from inside Mansueto Library of the "aeon" exhibit.

The view from inside Mansueto Library of the “aeon” exhibit. (Photo by Tom Rossiter)

Ann Hamilton’s project aeon is a temporary installation in the Joe and Rika Mansueto Library Grand Reading Room in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago.

The OI is one of the world’s leading interdisciplinary centers for the study of ancient Middle Eastern civilizations. Its world-renowned museum houses the largest collection of artifacts from the ancient Middle East in the United States, including more than 350,000 artifacts with roughly 5,000 on display. The majority of the collections come from the OI’s expeditions in the Middle East during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.

In the fall of 2018, Hamilton spent a week in residency at the OI imaging hundreds of objects, mostly from Iraq and Egypt. Her photographic process was unusual; rather than a camera, she used two kinds of scanners: a small early-generation flatbed desktop scanner and a handheld wand scanner, both designed with a shallow depth of field for documents, not three-dimensional objects. To use the flatbed scanner, Hamilton placed small figures on its glass platen and scanned. In contrast, Hamilton guided the wand scanner over the surface of the objects to produce unique images, in a hybrid of gestural drawing and lensless photography.

This process makes the figures seem strangely lively, quickened by the light. The images record the movement of the scanner’s light across the figure over time, but the sense of movement accrues not to the photographic process, but to the figures themselves. This unsettling liveliness echoes a fundamental quality imparted to the figures by their makers millennia ago. The Egyptian Ushabti were placed in tombs in larger numbers, journeying with the entombed person to the world beyond, ready to spring to life as his servants. The Mesopotamian figures were deemed so much alive that they were given food and drink, since the care given to these effigies had direct consequences for people in the underworld.

The glass ceiling of the magnificent Joe and Rika Mansueto Library, with its state-of-the-art technology and award-winning, contemporary design, gives aeon its form. High in the dome and backlit by the sun, these ancient figures seem to stare down at the viewers, deriving agency from their lofty position.

The importance of the Middle Eastern collection at the University of Chicago Library is recognized by scholars throughout the world. The Library shares the Oriental Institute’s commitment to rigorous explorations of the world’s history and is pleased to celebrate this important centennial by hosting Ann Hamilton’s aeon in Mansueto Library and the exhibition Discovery, Collection, Memory: The Oriental Institute at 100 in the Special Collections Research Center in Regenstein Library.

Ann Hamilton

Ann Hamilton (b. Lima Ohio, 1956) is a visual artist internationally acclaimed for her large-scale multi-media installations, public projects, and performance collaborations. Hamilton uses common materials as a means of addressing the knowledge that comes from language and touch, creating site-responsive installations for individual and collective experience.

Hamilton has received the National Medal of Arts, MacArthur Fellowship, Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, NEA Visual Arts Fellowship, United States Artists Fellowship, the Heinz Award, and was selected to represent the United States at the 1991 Sao Paulo Biennial and the 1999 Venice Biennale.

She received a BFA in textile design from the University of Kansas in 1979 and an MFA in Sculpture from the Yale University School of Art in 1985. Hamilton currently lives in Columbus, Ohio where she is Distinguished University Professor of Art at The Ohio State University.

To celebrate the OI’s 100th anniversary, artist Ann Hamilton has transformed stone and ceramic figures into an installation in the Manseuto Library. (Photo by Tom Rossiter)

New center fuses media arts, data, and design

A rendering of people workign together in the MADD Center

A rendering of the Media Arts, Data and Design Center, a new collaborative space in the John Crerar Library at the University of Chicago. (Illustration courtesy of Payette Architects )

Partnership across UChicago explores intersection of technology, creativity, and research

The boundaries between art, design, science, and technology are disappearing in a digital world. Today, artists use algorithms, scientists rely on visualization and designers are often focused on helping people navigate new technologies.

At the University of Chicago, the disciplines come together at the Media Arts, Data, and Design (MADD) Center, creating a new collaborative space for experimentation, discovery and impact. The MADD Center will support work by faculty, other academic appointees, students, staff, and community partners through cutting-edge technologies. The 20,000-square-foot center in the John Crerar Library opens February 25.

“Design, as a field, now encompasses the sum of human interactions with the devices, environments, and communities that shape daily life,” said David J. Levin, Senior Advisor to the Provost for Arts. “The MADD Center gives the University of Chicago a space to address these radical changes, assess their wide-ranging consequences, and comprehend the ways that perception, sensation, and experience are being transformed.”

At the MADD Center, there are opportunities to create, study, and learn about critical technologies driving both culture and science, including video games, virtual and augmented reality, data visualization, and digital fabrication. The MADD Center brings together the College, Division of Humanities, Division of Physical Sciences, UChicago Arts and the UChicago Library.

The MADD Center will host five resource labs:

  • An expanded Computer Science Instructional Labs, providing hardware and software for training and education;
  • The Hack Arts Lab, an open-access digital fabrication, prototyping, and visualization facility;
  • The new Weston Game Lab, offering expanded resources for the study, play, and development of analog, electronic, virtual and online games;
  • The Research Computing Center Visualization Lab in the Crerar Library’s Kathleen A. Zar Room, providing new data visualization technology; and,
  • The UChicago Library’s new GIS Hub, enabling geospatial research and learning activities by providing access to geographical information systems software and hardware and an expert GIS and maps librarian who offers consultations and training.

At the MADD Center, classroom and studio spaces support the teaching of Media Arts and Design and Media Aesthetics in the College, electronic music in partnership with CHIME Studios in the Department of Music, and virtual reality and other media courses as part of the new Media Arts and Design minor in Cinema and Media Studies.  In addition, the MADD Center will provide new opportunities for further collaboration with the Logan Center for the Arts, the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and many others.

“I am excited about the new opportunities students and faculty in the College and the Humanities will have to work with colleagues in computer science and other areas as we continue to develop new courses in Media Arts and Design and support the many interests of our students and faculty in this area,” said Christopher Wild, Deputy Dean of the College and Humanities Division.

Collaboration Across Creative Forms

The open floorplan and close proximity of MADD Center labs is designed to create opportunities for crossovers and collaboration. Students designing a new board game can create prototypes on the 3D printers at the Hack Arts Lab, while researchers working with the GIS Hub might reveal new insights by visualizing their data on Research Computing Center resources. The MADD Center is located near the new Department of Computer Science offices and laboratories, a science librarians’ research and teaching suite, and the Library’s collections and study spaces at a renovated Crerar Library, creating new, interdisciplinary opportunities across divisions.

“As our world becomes increasingly digital, designers and artists need to become more engaged with technology and technologists need to become more fluent with design, media and the arts,” said Michael J. Franklin, Liew Family Chair of Computer Science. “By co-locating a critical mass of tech-savvy students and faculty with diverse skills and interests across these varied domains, we will facilitate robust dialogue and collaboration as our disciplines continue to co-evolve.”

People working in the Weston Game Lab

The Weston Game Lab will provide a vibrant new space at UChicago for the research and design of games. (Illustration courtesy of Payette Architects)

Gaming, UChicago-Style

The MADD Center is envisioned as a place for a group of students dissecting the structure of a classic Nintendo game, or sketching out the visual design for a new card game that teaches high school students about teen pregnancy. A cornerstone of the new center, the Weston Game Lab will provide a vibrant new space at UChicago for the research and design of the world’s fastest growing cultural and aesthetic form: games.

The Weston Game Lab is supported by a gift from Dr. Shellwyn Weston and Bradford Weston, JD’77. Within the Lab, students, faculty, and staff will collaborate on the research and development of games that produce social impact or experiment with form. Participants will also be able to research the history of games from technical and theoretical perspectives with the Library’s collection of video games and the Logan Center’s collection of consoles, attend workshops that afford new development skills, and organize collaborative groups for game-based experiments.

“Video games in recent years have become an immensely popular medium and multi-billion dollar industry,” said Patrick Jagoda, Associate Professor of English and Cinema & Media Studies and director of the Weston Game Lab. “For cultural, psychological, and sociopolitical reasons, we need rigorous academic study, across both humanistic and social scientific disciplines. I’m interested in growing a culture of thoughtful, ethical, and experimental game design for ends other than entertainment that includes interdisciplinary teams of faculty, staff, and students. I think the University of Chicago can really shine in this space.”

Crerar renovation update

The John Crerar Library’s Access and Circulation Desk has reopened in its newly renovated home on the Lower Level, next to the bookstacks.  The new space houses staff and services such as circulation, Scan and Deliver, search requests, and course reserves.

Crerar Library exterior including entry area

The John Crerar Library (Photo by Kathy Zadrozny)

Also located on the Lower Level is a new study space that is open for University of Chicago-affiliated users, as well as approved visitors, researchers, and guests. The main quiet study space features new furniture with seating for 100 people in a beautifully lit space, with a glass wall on the east side and a window on the west side providing natural light during the day. Additionally, two group study rooms will be available for University of Chicago students, faculty, and staff to reserve via Book a Room. Each group study seats up to 8 people and features a whiteboard wall.  Just outside the quiet study space, PCs will be available for use. The PCs provide standard Library software, as well as Geographic Information System (GIS) tools. Copy/print/scan stations will be in a room just north of the quiet study space.

As we move into our new space, the area of the first floor where these services were previously located will be closed for renovation as we partner with our colleagues in Computer Science, the Humanities Division, and UChicago Arts to create additional space to support design, GIS, gaming and media arts.

Thank you for your patience as this part of the construction nears its end, and we look forward to seeing you in our new location.

 

Construction on Special Collections’ doors to begin July 26

8/16/2018 update: Work to install automatic door opener buttons on our main doors, Gallery doors, and Reading Room doors is now complete.

8/9/18 update: Work is progressing ahead of schedule, and phase 2 began today.  Check this space for additional updates.

Work will begin on July 26, 2018 to install automatic door opener buttons to the Special Collections Research Center’s main doors, the Gallery doors, and the Reading Room doors in order to increase accessibility to research and gallery spaces.

The construction will take place in two phases between July 26th and August 17th.

Phase 1: July 26-August 9

The Reading Room will be temporarily relocated to Special Collections’ Classroom as work is done on the main doors and on the Reading Room doors. Visitors will enter/exit through the Gallery doors. The Center will be closed the morning of July 26th as staff prepare the temporary Reading Room in the Classroom. Research will resume at noon that day in the Classroom.

Phase 2: August 9-August 17

The regular Reading Room and main doors will reopen, and work will take place on the Gallery doors. The Gallery will be closed.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and look forward to greater accessibility for all researchers in the near future.

 

Extended All Night Study hours June 1-3

Regenstein Libary 1st Floor Reading Room

Regenstein Libary 1st Floor Reading Room (Photo by Jason Smith)

To support students preparing for finals, the Regenstein 1st floor all-night study space will remain open Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 after the building closes at 11 p.m.

The all-night study space will thus be open 24 hours until the end of finals on Friday, June 8.

For a full list of library hours, see http://hours.lib.uchicago.edu.

Prayer Room opens in Regenstein B-60

On Monday, May 14, a new Prayer Room opened in the Regenstein Library.  The Prayer Room was made possible by the support of the Office of the Provost, Spiritual Life and the Library.  The Prayer Room is located on the B-Level in Room B-60.

Requests for access may be sent to spirit@uchicago.edu.  Requests need to include name, ChicagoID number (printed on the back of the UChicago Card) and department or year in the College.  Once access is granted, your ID card will unlock the room, which may be used during Regenstein building hours.

In addition to the new space, the Nursing Mother’s Room in B-51 is available for women’s prayer.   See Nursing Mother’s and Women’s Prayer Room for instructions regarding access.

Obtaining items from Crerar Library Lower Level bookstacks during construction

Beginning Monday, April 23, access to Crerar Library’s Lower Level Bookstacks will be temporarily closed due to construction activity. Until the area reopens, Crerar staff will page any materials needed from the stacks. To request a book, use the “Can’t Find It” link on the Catalog page.  Library staff will pull requested items the same weekday or by the morning of the next weekday.

You can also visit the Crerar Circulation desk for help during our normal hours, or contact circulation online with any questions.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

 

Favorite Library sections of new Social Sciences faculty

Which sections of the library do faculty members enjoy the most? The fall issue of Dialogo, the University of Chicago Social Sciences Division magazine, introduced its new faculty members in interviews that included this question.  The answers give us some insight into their diverse influences and suggest the vital role that the Library plays in faculty research and teaching.

Joel Isaac

Joel Isaac, John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought, Associate Professor

Joel Isaac is a historian focused on social and political thought in the United States and how the Cold War shaped political ideologies. His current research examines the revival of 18th-century categories of political and moral thought in the 20th century through more modern idioms: neoclassical economics, analytical philosophy, decision theory, and empirical political science. His first book, Working Knowledge: Making the Human Sciences from Parsons to Kuhn (Harvard, 2012), was awarded the Gladstone Prize by the Royal Historical Society in 2012.

Isaac’s favorite section of the Library: “The Special Collections Research Center in the Regenstein Library.  Before I came to Chicago, I made some pilgrimages across the Atlantic (from Cambridge, UK) to use the SCRC.  Now its riches are on tap whenever I need them.  I confess I get a special charge from reading the papers of former UChicago faculty who have deposited their papers in the archives of the SCRC.  It’s a thrill to see the University through their eyes.”

Destin Jenkins

Destin Jenkins, Department of History, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2018), Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of History (7/1/2018-)

Destin Jenkins’s research as a historian centers on the linkages between the American state, capitalism, racial inequality, and the built environment in the 20th century. His forthcoming book, tentatively titled “Bonded Metropolis: Debt, Redevelopment, and Racial Inequality in Postwar San Francisco,” argues that the practices of municipal debt finance redistributed wealth upwards, reinscribed racial inequality, and became a constraint on democratic state power.

Jenkins’s favorite sections of the Library: “Regenstein Library is phenomenal. My favorite section is arranged by call number, E.185. From small pamphlets proposing solutions to the ills of late 1960s ghetto life to thick volumes dealing with black employment, most of the material in this section deals with the political economy of black life. The most interesting book I’ve found is a 1919-1920 report, “Colored Women as Industrial Workers in Philadelphia.” It’s been especially interesting reading the report alongside W.E.B. Du Bois’s The Philadelphia Negro (1899). When Du Bois wrapped up this comprehensive study, at once sociological and a moral and political reflection on race and human civilization, he concluded that Philadelphia’s black women were largely confined to work as domestic workers. As elsewhere, World War I had thoroughly transformed the labor market. In Philadelphia black women arguably helped to facilitate industrial development, and, as track repair workers, inspectors, and porters, helped to maintain the city’s physical infrastructure. The Consumers League of Eastern Pennsylvania saw these opportunities as creating “a new day” for black women. I am looking forward to discussing this pamphlet and exploring the conditions under which black women toiled with students in my fall course, ‘Histories of Racial Capitalism.’”

Headshot of Ryan Jobson

Ryan Jobson

Ryan Jobson, Department of Anthropology, Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow (2017-2019), Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Anthropology (7/1/2019-)

Ryan Jobson is a social scientist and Caribbean cultural critic. His research and teaching engage issues of energy and extractive resource development, technology and infrastructure, states and sovereignty, and histories of racial capitalism in the colonial and postcolonial Americas. His first book manuscript, “Deepwater Futures: Sovereignty at Risk in a Caribbean Petrostate,” is an ethnographic study of fossil fuel industries and postcolonial state building in Trinidad and Tobago. A second research project will comprise a historical ethnography of oil and bauxite development in Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana.

Jobson’s favorite sections of the Library: “As a scholar of the Caribbean, I enjoy exploring texts and materials produced in and about the region. I am particularly fascinated by original documents from the 18th and 19th century that I stumble upon in the stacks. On one of my first trips to the Reg, I was surprised to find a collection of late 19th century photographs of the Pitch Lake in Trinidad—the largest global reserve of natural bitumen asphalt. I later discovered that the photographs were donated to the university by the Barber Asphalt Co. on the occasion of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. The gift coincided with efforts to structurally improve the roadways throughout the city, many of which were paved with Trinidad Lake Asphalt including Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard. In my courses, I draw on anecdotes like this to demonstrate the enduring connections between places like Chicago and the Caribbean. Evidence of these connections often lurks in corners of the library or on the pavement beneath our feet.”

Headshot of Alexander Torgovitsky

Alexander Torgovitsky

Alexander Torgovitsky, Department of Economics, Assistant Professor

Alexander Torgovitsky’s research is focused on developing new methods for causal inference and counterfactual analysis with economic data. His recent work has focused on developing tools for detecting and measuring state dependency (“stigma” effects) in unemployment dynamics. Other recent work has provided tools for extrapolating inferences from studies of small research populations to larger groups, with implications for understanding behavior and for policy making.

Torgovitsky’s favorite section of the Library: “I enjoy the student-run coffee shop (Ex Libris). The coffee is great, and I like the way many of the facilities at UChicago are run by students, unlike at many other private universities. It reminds me of my undergraduate institution, and I think it helps foster a strong sense of academic community.”

Alice Goff, Department of History, Assistant Professor

Headshot of Alice Goff

Alice Goff

Alice Goff is a historian of modern German cultural and intellectual life. Her work focuses on the relationships between material objects and political thought in the 18th and 19th centuries. Goff’s current research traces the history of artworks caught up in the looting, iconoclasm, and shifting boundaries of German states during the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars and the consequences of their displacement for German political, religious, and intellectual practice at the beginning of the 19th century.

Goff’s favorite section of the Library: “For browsing, I most enjoy the folios or oversized sections of the library. No matter the call number, the folio shelves always have something monumental and strange to offer: the most lavish exhibition catalogues, the most beautiful atlases, the most unwieldy information, though unfortunately also the most cumbersome to get back to the office.”

Headshot of Mikhail Golosov

Mikhail Golosov

Mikhail Golosov, Department of Economics, Homer J. Livingston Professor in Economics and the College

Mikhail Golosov is an economist specializing in macroeconomics, public finance and political economy. His research explores economic theories related to wars over resources, tax systems, and strategic communication. He is an associate editor of Econometrica and the Review of Economic Studies.

Golov’s favorite sections of the Library: “I like to read social science books that are not directly related to economicssociology, history, philosophy—so I often gravitate towards those sections of the library. Researchers in those disciplines study human society, just like economists do, but often have a very different perspective. I find that I can learn from that a fair bit. Steven Pinker’s book The Blank Slate was one of the most fascinating books I read recently.”

Headshot of Peter Hull

Peter Hull

Peter Hull, Department of Economics, Assistant Professor

Economist Peter Hull develops novel statistical techniques to answer policy questions in education and health care. Currently a Post-Doctoral Researcher at Microsoft Research, he will come to the University of Chicago campus as a Becker Friedman Institute Research Fellow in 2018, and will join the Department of Economics faculty in the summer of 2019.

Hull’s favorite genres: “Apart from econometrics textbooks (only somewhat kidding), I’m torn between biography and science fiction. At their best, both genres amaze me in their ability to illustrate a set of foreign ideas, places, and times, all through a strong narrative structure; if only more academic papers had that ability! Recently I’ve been addicted to Robert Caro’s The Power Broker and five-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, while every winter am excited to crack open Gardner Dozois’ most recent Year’s Best Science Fiction short story anthology.”

Read more about new 2017 Social Sciences Division faculty members in Dialogo.