Honoring University Research Professor Theodore Schatzki

Schatzki’s research interests lie in theorizing social life. He is widely associated with a theoretical approach called practice theory that is active today in many social disciplines. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

UKNow is highlighting the University of Kentucky’s 2022-23 University Research Professors. Established by the Board of Trustees in 1976, the professorship program recognizes excellence across the full spectrum of research, scholarship and creative endeavors at UK.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 12, 2022) — Theodore Schatzki, Ph.D., professor of geography, and of philosophy and sociology, in the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences, has been named one of 14 University Research Professors for 2022-23.

The University Research Professorship Awards honor faculty members who have demonstrated excellence that addresses scientific, social, cultural and economic challenges in our region and around the world. Each University Research Professor, nominated based on criteria set by college leadership, receives a one-year award of $10,000.

“It is great to be named a University Research Professor," Schatzki said. "I am especially honored that the college thought that the unusual sort of discipline-stitching work I do is worthy of recognition. The award will be used to advance collaborative projects I am currently working on.”

Schatzki’s research interests lie in theorizing social life. He is widely associated with, and co-organizes a thriving international network on, a theoretical approach called practice theory that is active today in many social disciplines. His current research centers on the digitalization of society.

“I am currently working on two books on the digitalization of social life, which is an incredibly important feature of contemporary societies," he said. "One, which is co-authored with the sociologist Roger Friedland, offers a practice institutional account of contemporary notational technologies such as blockchains, cryptocurrencies and online platforms. The other explores changes in lived experience consequent on the increasing digitalization of the worlds we live through.”

Among his 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).

According to the Scopus index list from a 2021 Stanford study, Schatzki was listed as the 13th most cited philosopher in the world in 2020. He 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. In 2018, he received an honorary doctorate from Aalborg University in Denmark.

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.

He holds a B.A. in applied mathematics from Harvard (1977) and graduate degrees in philosophy from Oxford (1979) and University of California, Berkeley (1982, 1986).

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.