The Department of Comparative Human Development is an interdisciplinary department at the critical edge of thought and research in the social sciences. We believe that social life is too complex and too exciting to be left within any single discipline. Consequently, we bring together anthropologists, biologists, linguists, psychologists, sociologists and methodologists whose methods and theories cross individual social science disciplines. Faculty and students' research examines issues of central concern to socio-cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, comparative education, behavioral biology, language and thought, cultural psychology. In addressing those issues, we highlight shifting categories such as gender, race, class, age, sexuality, and ability.
Comparative Human Development is the oldest genuinely interdisciplinary social science graduate program in the United States. The Department's name signals our long-standing commitment to exploring a wide range of issues across multiple levels of analysis:
Comparative: To understand is to compare. 'Comparative' means attention to likeness and difference. Work in the Department looks at how practices, ideologies, capabilities, and behaviors vary across time, between cultures, and between species.
Human: What makes us human? Research in the Department explores the socio-cultural, psychological and biological processes that humans share with, and that distinguish them from, each other and from non-human animals.
Development: This complex and vexed term highlights change over time. It raises debates about cultural values and provokes disagreement about desired states. Work in the Department critically examines understandings about development in relation to both societies and individuals, and it analyzes practices and policies that may promote or prevent it.
The Department offers programs that lead to BA and PhD degrees. Students in the Department have pursued innovative and successful careers in anthropology, biology, education, human development, psychology and sociology.
Bertram Joseph Cohler Memorial Conference
June 13th and 14th 2013
University of Chicago
Bert Cohler was an extraordinary academic with a long and distinguished career, influencing the intellectual debate in the social sciences on the problems of aging and human development, family and the life course, narrative, sexuality, the Shoah, resilience, well being, mental illness and psychoanalysis. Bert's legacy can be measured not only by his scholarly writings but also by how his ideas have been taken up and used by his students and close colleagues.
One year after Bert's death, we believe that this is the right time to take stock of Bert's impact on the direction of the social sciences through his students and colleagues. With the support of the Department of Comparative Human Development at The University of Chicago (formerly the Committee on Human Development), Bert's academic home for forty years, this conference will celebrate Bert's scholarly legacy. Please join us at any time during Thursday afternoon or all day Friday to hear and discuss the legacy of Bert's scholarly work and influence.
Professor Richland has recently joined the Department
Lindsey Richland is a developmental psychologist who joined the Department of Comparative Human Development in 2011. Dr. Richland investigates cognition, memory, and the development of higher order thinking from preschool through young adulthood. She primarily explores the development of humans' powerful ability to draw relationships and generalize between phenomena, such as through metaphor and analogy. Dr. Richland conducts lab experiments and classroom-based studies of naturally occurring mathematics and science instruction. She conducts her research both in the United States and cross-nationally. In addition to theory building, she aims to develop practice-relevant tools for improving students' educational outcomes in mathematics and science.
Dr. Richland's work has been published in diverse journals including Science, Developmental Science, the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, Educational Psychologist, Cognition and Instruction, and PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review. Her work was also covered in Scientific American. A CAREER award from the National Science Foundation as well as grants from the Office of Naval Research, the Spencer Foundation, and the Institute of Education Sciences have supported her research. In 2008, she was awarded a National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. She received her Ph.D in Developmental Psychology and Cognitive Science from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2003. At the University of Chicago, Dr. Richland directs the Learning Lab.
In The News
See our News page for recent awards!
Professor Jennifer Cole has been named a Guggenheim Fellow by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She appears to be the only one from the U of C this year, and one of only three in the State of Illinois. Jennifer is the third Guggenheim Fellow from our department in the last six years, after John Lucy (2005, Psychology) and Don Kulick (2012, Anthropology & Cultural Studies). In addition, Micere Keels and Guanglei Hong hold two W. T. Grant Fellowships this year.
Saalika Abbas Mela, soon to graduate in Spring 2013 with a double major in Comparative Human Development and Political Science, has been awarded a prestigious Gates Cambridge Scholarship. Read more here.
Congratulations to Professor Eugene Raikhel! He has been selected as a winner of the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring, an award initiated and supported by our students.