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Theodore Schatzki to deliver Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor Lecture March 25

By Lindsey Piercy 

Theodore SchatzkiLEXINGTON, Ky. (March 11, 2024) Theodore Schatzki, Ph.D., professor philosophy at the University of Kentucky, is serving as the 2023-24 College of Arts and Sciences’ Distinguished Professor and will deliver the annual Distinguished Professor Lecture on Monday, March 25.

Schatzki is also a professor in the Department of Geography and, until September 2024, is a professor of sociology at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom.

This honor is bestowed on the basis of three criteria: outstanding research, unusually effective teaching and distinguished professional service.

Throughout his time at UK, Schatzki has established himself as a renowned educator, mentor and researcher.

“Naturally, it’s great to be honored in this way. It's especially gratifying to be recognized by one’s colleagues, and for work that falls between, and not in, any particular discipline,” Schatzki said. “Thanks goes to everyone who played a role in my reception of this award.”

The lecture, titled “The Changing Forms of Social Phenomena Today,” will begin at 5 p.m. and will be held in the William T. Young Library UKAA Auditorium and the William T. Young Library Alumni Gallery.

In the lecture, Schatzki will describe the stream of social thought, with which he is associated — theories of practices — before presenting a recently developed general framework for grasping contemporary sociodigital phenomena.

Schatzki’s research interests lie in theorizing social life. His current research centers on the digitalization of society, which is the spread of digital devices, infrastructures and services through social life, and he co-organizes a thriving international network on theories of practices that is active today in many social disciplines.

“I’m especially interested in using the resources of social theory — in particular, theories of social practices — to conceptualize and analyze the effects of digitalization,” Schatzki explained. “Changes in contemporary life bound up with digitalization are incredibly important. They are also so numerous that it is difficult to track significant changes and the problems they create. My hope is that scholarly work puts society in a better position to grasp and confront these issues.”

Among Schatzki’s many publications are five monographs: “Social Practices” (1996), “The Site of the Social” (2002), “Martin Heidegger: Theorist of Space” (2007), “The Timespace of Human Activity” (2010) and “Social Change in a Material World” (2019).

Schatzki’s work has been recognized nationally and internationally. According to the Scopus index list from a 2021 Stanford study, he was the 13th most cited philosopher in the world in 2020.

Schatzki has been a research fellow of the Fulbright Commission and the Humboldt Foundation and a visiting professor or researcher at numerous institutions including the University of Exeter, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin), the Institute of Advanced Studies (Vienna), Lancaster University (United Kingdom), University of Zürich, University of Bielefeld (Germany), Free University (Berlin) and University of Bergen.

Schatzki earned a degree in applied mathematics from Harvard University (1977) and degrees in philosophy from Oxford University (1979) and University of California, Berkeley (1982, 1986). Additionally, in 2018, he received an honorary doctorate from Aalborg University in Denmark.

Schatzki, who is also dedicated to serving students, teaches undergraduate courses on a variety of topics and was named one of 14 University Research Professors for 2022-23.

In addition to his role as a professor, Schatzki has also served as former senior associate dean in the College of Arts and Sciences, former chair of the Department of Philosophy, and co-founder and former co-director of UK’s Committee on Social Theory.

The event is free and open to the public. Learn more here.

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