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Columbia Law School Creates Center for Critical Thinking
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Columbia Law School, Critical Thinking, Law School News

Summary: Earlier this month, Columbia Law School opened the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thinking and the first seminar will be held in November.

Columbia Law School has opened a new center that is dedicated to critical thinking about how scientific and legal knowledge is produced and organized, according to The Daily Columbia Spectator.


The new center was launched earlier in October and is called the Columbia Center for Contemporary Critical Thought.

The center is a joint effort between the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the Law School. It will be directed by Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law Bernard E. Harcourt.

“The center will be very reflexive and self-reflective about the way in which we engage in practical interventions,” Harcourt said. “We will be thinking critically about how critical thought can help us engage ideas.”

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The Director of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, Stathis Gourgouris, said, “The center brings together all the great talent that exists at Columbia in terms of thinking and intellectual work from all types of disciplines, including many pre-professional schools. That’s why the joint programming with the Graduate School for Arts and Sciences component is so crucial.”

The center is going to host seminars that last an entire week, lectures and workshops. It will also allow students to critically engage ideas and see how these ideas interact with practices. The center will also create a movement towards critical thought.

“The idea is to dig into this particular practice engagement and try to figure out how critical thought could help us think about it,” Harcourt said.

“The third dimension hopefully will be to have people writing about this and to start some kind of venue that would allow people to think about contemporary critical thought, write about it and publish it, and discuss the issues of how to engage contemporary critical thought with practice,” he said.

Beginning next semester, Harcourt will begin a collaboration with professor of English and art history from the University of Chicago, W.J.T. Mitchell.

To read more about the University of Chicago, click here.

“Spectacle and Surveillance is going to be pretty interdisciplinary in the sense that Professor Mitchell is coming at it from the perspective of image theory, while I am coming at it from the perspective of critical thought, and political and legal theory,” Harcourt said. “And there will be others who will incorporate elements of anthropology, theology, and other disciplines.”

“As far as we know, no one has ever pulled off a course quite like this.” Mitchell added. “We’re looking at contemporary history but we’re trying to put it in a long lens to connect it to events going all the way back to 17th century. Understanding your own time, what’s happening, is a critical part of education.”

The initial seminar at the center will be taught in November.

Will the new center help students better prepare for critical thinking? Use our poll below to share your thoughts.

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Image credit: Columbia Law School



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