Smith's research is largely theoretical and interdisciplinary. Her recent work concerns 20th-century developments in epistemology and cognitive science, intellectual and institutional relations between the sciences and the humanities, and contemporary issues involving science and religion.
After studying biology, experimental psychology and philosophy at CCNY, Smith attended Brandeis University, receiving BA and Ph. D. degrees in English literature. She subsequently taught at Bennington College and at the University of Pennsylvania. In 1987, Smith joined the faculty of Duke University, where she is currently also Braxton Craven Professor of Comparative Literature and English and Director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Science and Cultural Theory. Smith's publications, which reflect her continuing interdisciplinary interests, include Poetic Closure (1968), Contingencies of Value (1988), Belief and Resistance: Dynamics of Contemporary Intellectual Controversy (1997), Scandalous Knowledge: Science, Truth and the Human (2006), and Natural Reflections: Human Cognition at the Nexus of Science and Religion (2009). She was elected president of the MLA in 1988. Smith is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
BARBARA HERRNSTEIN SMITH, Ph.D. Brandeis University 1965B.A. Brandeis University, 1954
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