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Humanities Institute

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Promoting collaborative research on ideas central to the pressing issues of our time.

HumIn Focus

HumIn Focus is a multi-part web series centering on pressing social issues through the lens of the work of humanities scholars.  Check out Episode 1: You Must Remember This: Monuments and Public Memory

Visit HumIn Focus 

HI Annual Lecture & Alumni Award

April 11, 2019
4:00 with a reception to follow
The Penn State Room of the Nittany Lion Inn


Join us in celebrating the Humanities with guest speaker Sarah Willie-LeBreton (Provost, Swarthmore College), and as we present Robert Newman (1972 B.A. English, President and Director of the National Humanities Center) with our annual Alumni Award.  

Click Here for more information

Mellon Grant Award

We are very excited to announce that the HI has been awarded a grant of $650,000 from the Mellon Foundation to support our Public Humanities Initiative. This will include our new undergraduate Fellows Program and will be connected with the continuing production of our video series, HumIn Focus.  We are grateful to the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost for the award of a Strategic Planning Seed grant that made the application for this funding possible.  For more information click here.

Humanities in the World

We are excited to announce more new developments at the Humanities Institute under the auspices of the Humanities in the World initiative.

To learn more about the Initiative, click here

Up to four Postdoctoral fellowships are available as a central part of this initiative.  To apply, see here.

Faculty Resident Scholar Talk

March 19

Jessamyn R. Abel, Assistant Professor of Asian Studies

Bullet Train on the Home Front:
Postwar Nostalgia for Imperial Japan

For more information, click here

Public Humanities Fellows

Are you an undergraduate student in the humanities who cares about social issues? 

Do you wonder how you can relate your study of history, philosophy, literature or other humanities subject to the world?

A Public Humanities Fellowship at the Humanities Institute will provide you with experience relating your study of history, philosophy, literature, or other humanities subjects to the world. 

Click here to learn more

Faculty Invites

The Humanities in the World initiative demonstrates Penn State’s commitment to the importance of humanities research and the dissemination of ideas regarding our collective understanding of urgent social issues. As such, each semester the Humanities Institute will host scholars and events around pressing themes, as determined by an Executive Committee.

We invite Faculty members to participate in the planning of these events in 2019-2020 and/or 2020-2021, by proposing conferences, lectures, or workshops.

Application Deadlines: April 7, 2019
For more information, click here

lecturer holding microphone and notes

At the Heart of Every Other Question

In politics, business, and issues of social concern, the most trenchant challenges we face all rest upon fundamental questions about the human condition.  What does it mean to be human, a citizen, a biological organism, a member of a society?  What role does our history, and its complex conflicts and triumphs, play in our current confrontations?  What responsibilities do people have for themselves and their environment versus what concern should be borne by the rest of us in a caring and just world?  Where do we fit in the larger non-human world?  Countless pressing social issues turn on abstract and longstanding questions that are at the center of humanities research.

Ihlseng Cottage, home of the Humanities Institute

Walls that Transcend Boundaries

By providing a space for faculty and graduate students in the humanities to address the fundamental questions that underly the most pressing issues of our time, we foster collaboration, innovative approaches to research, and outreach that brings humanistic discovery and thought into the public domain.

two speakers on stage

Initiatives to Inspire and Engage

Through thematic programming series and public events, the Penn State Humanities Institute aims to open new lines of questioning for humanities scholars, engage the public in humanities research, and cultivate a community that can champion the human perspective in their lives and in their work.