"Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?"
T.S. Eliot, Choruses from "The Rock". 1934.
The modern research university has made possible great advances in human knowledge, but it has also given rise to a culture of intense academic specialization. This culture poses acute challenges to those attempting to integrate the insights of different areas of inquiry. Since many of the most vital questions of civic life depend upon our ability to draw together insights from a range of disciplines, addressing the intellectual fragmentation of modern academic life is a pressing need.
The Elm Institute provides programming for students and scholars from across the arts and sciences as we seek to gain a fuller understanding of the human person and the common good. We are particularly interested in questions about the ethical dimensions of economic life and seek to address those questions in a way that does justice to the insights of different fields of inquiry, avoiding the reductionism that characterizes so much contemporary economic thinking both inside and outside of the academy. During the academic year, we provide a range of programming for the Yale community. Over the summer our intensive seminars attract students and young professionals from around the world.
The name of the Elm Institute honors the rich history of our home, the City of New Haven, which earned the nickname “the Elm City” after it became the site of the first public tree planting program in the United States. Through projects like these citizens sought to beautify the city and make a lasting contribution to the quality of civic life. Our name reminds us of their efforts and encourages us to pursue our inquiries with both a sense of history and an eye toward the common good.