The John U. Nef Committee on Social Thought is one of several PhD-granting committees at the University of Chicago. It was started in 1941 by economic historian John Ulric Nef along with economist Frank Knight, anthropologist Robert Redfield, and University President Robert Maynard Hutchins.
The committee is interdisciplinary and it is not centered on any specific topic; rather, the committee has, since its inception, drawn together noted academics and writers to "foster awareness of the permanent questions at the origin of all learned inquiry".
Notable past members of the committee have included
Eliot, Bellow, Coetzee, Hayek, and Fogel have been awarded Nobel prizes.
Current faculty include religion scholar Wendy Doniger, theologian David Tracy, sociologist Hans Joas, literary theorist Thomas Pavel, theorist of German literature David Wellbery, classicist James M. Redfield, philosopher and psychoanalyst Jonathan Lear, philosopher Robert B. Pippin, classicist Laura M. Slatkin, historian of science Lorraine Daston, physician and philosopher Leon Kass (former chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics), political theorist Nathan Tarcov, art historian Andrei Pop, poet Rosanna Warren, philosopher Gabriel Richardson Lear, historian Joel Isaac, historian Jonathan Levy, classicist Mark Payne, and political theorist Jennifer Pitts.