Divisional news
Remembering Katz, Capital gains, conferring on Strauss as a teacher, faculty books, and more.


List in the News

John List, the Homer J. Livingston Professor in Economics, was the subject of a feature story in the April 2011 issue of Bloomberg Markets Magazine. The piece focused on List’s ongoing research project in a Chicago Heights preschool to determine whether investing in teachers or in parents leads to more gains in a child’s early educational performance. Also in April, List was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining one of the nation’s most prestigious honorary societies and a leading center for independent policy research. In November 2010, List was included in a Forbes magazine article profiling seven behavioral economists who “have helped explain our complex and often irrational human nature.” 

Keysar Examines Communication Between Couples

In January, Boaz Keysar, a professor of psychology, coauthored a study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. The findings suggested that married couples do not communicate with one another as well as they think they do—and sometimes communicate no better than strangers. Communication problems arise, said Keysar, when a speaker assumes that a well-known acquaintance has all the information the speaker has, removing the perceived need for a long explanation. 

Incentives for Educators

On April 4, leading researchers from around the country participated in a conference called “Economic Models in Education Research,” organized by Derek Neal, professor of economics, and Stephen Raudenbush, the Lewis-Sebring Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and chair of the Committee on Education. The conference focused on the challenges of rewarding teachers financially for outstanding performance, with workshops outlining basic tools that will help the next generation of educational researchers “inform the design of new incentive and accountability systems in education before they are tested in the field,” said Neal.   

New books

Chu explores mobility and modernity

Assistant professor of anthropology Julie Chu published Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China (Duke University Press, 2010). Chu conducted ethnographic research in China’s Fuzhou region, where every year an estimated 10,000 people leave for the United States, many through human smuggling. In the book she explores the Fuzhounese pursuit of transnational destinations and how it serves as a sign of modernity in a globalized China. 

Cole chronicles the lives of women in Madagascar

Jennifer Cole, professor of comparative human development, published Sex and Salvation: Imagining the Future in Madagascar (University of Chicago Press, 2010). Exploring social change in Madagascar following the country’s economic liberalization, Cole documents the lives of a generation of women in Tamatave, many of whom have entered the sexual economy in hopes of forging a viable future. 

Johns presents death of a pirate

In November 2010, Adrian Johns, professor of history, debuted Death of a Pirate: British Radio and the Making of the Information Age (W. W. Norton & Company). Johns presents a history of the 1960s underground shipboard radio phenomenon in Great Britain, chronicling how pirates challenged the BBC’s exclusive right to transmit radio programming.   


Hansen honored

In June, Lars Hansen, the David Rockefeller Distinguished Service Professor of Economics, will accept a BBVA Foundation 2010 Frontiers of Knowledge Award. Hansen will receive the prize in the category of Economics, Finance, and Management for “making fundamental contributions to our understanding of how economic actors cope with risky and changing environments.” The award citation referenced Hansen’s exploration of the interconnections between macroeconomic indicators and asset prices in financial markets and stated that this “work forms the basis for much contemporary empirical research in financial economics.” 

Decety and Beilock recognized

Jean Decety, the Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry, and Sian Beilock, associate professor in psychology, were named fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Decety was cited for his “seminal neurophysiological studies of the brain’s role in empathy, sympathy, and social cognitive disorders.” He is the editor of the journal Social Neuroscience. Beilock was cited for “distinguished contributions to the field of psychology, particularly for research on individual differences, stereotypes, learning, and memory.” She is the author of Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To (Simon & Schuster, 2010).  In addition, Beilock was one of six scholars to receive the 2011 Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions from the Association for Psychological Science. She was recognized for her analysis of skilled performance in stressful situations.   

Department/Center/Faculty news

Center confers on Strauss as teacher

For many years, the late political philosopher Leo Strauss taught in Room 122 of the Social Science Research Building; this spring some of his past students were back in that same space. Over two days in late April, an enthusiastic group of scholars, alumni, donors, and friends nearly filled the room for a Strauss Center conference called “Leo Strauss as Teacher.” Some attendees had come from as far as France, a hub for research on Strauss, and many offered insights into Strauss as an instructor and a man. The Strauss Center is directed by Nathan Tarcov, professor of social thought and political science, and administered by Stephen Gregory, AB’81, AM’90. It was established to “promote the serious study of Leo Strauss’s thought primarily through the preservation and publication of the unpublished written and audio record that he left behind.” A recording of the conference will be available soon on the Strauss Center’s new website, launched in December 2010, at leostrausscenter.uchicago.edu

Capital gains

Watch a series of lectures, recorded in the spring of 2010, from ECON 343, Human Capital and the Economy, a course taught every year by Gary Becker, University Professor of economics, sociology, and Chicago Booth.  

Remembering Katz

On April 29, the University held a Rockefeller Chapel service in memory of Friedrich Katz, the late Morton D. Hull Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of History. Organized by the Katz Center for Mexican Studies, the service included seven speakers. A lunch in Ida Noyes Hall followed, featuring performances from a mariachi band, including a song written and sung by Claudio Lomnitz for Katz’s 80th birthday in 2007.