The Humanities Institute at Penn State University

Promoting collaborative research on ideas

central to the pressing issues of our time.

Interim Director Tina Chen 2021-2022

We welcome Tina Chen, Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies, as our interim director for 2021-2022 while director John Christman is on sabbatical. Tina brings a long familiarity with the Institute and a breadth of knowledge of the College of Liberal Arts and the humanities, and we are grateful for her presence with us this year.

Tina Chen is Associate Professor of English and Asian American Studies at The Pennsylvania State University and author of Double Agency: Acts of Impersonation in Asian American Literature and Culture, which was named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. Her national leadership roles include several stints as the co­-Chair of the East of California caucus for the Association for Asian American Studies; serving on the Executive Board of the MLA’s Division on Asian American Literature and the Speculative Fiction forum; and being the Founding Editor of Verge: Studies in Global Asias—an award-winning journal published by the University of Minnesota Press. She is the director of the Global Asias Initiative at Penn State and will be serving as the interim director of the Humanities Institute for AY 2021-2022.

Photo of Interim Director Tina Chen

Make Digital Media for Social Change

Enrollment for Introduction to Public Humanities is now open for fall 2022!
Receive hands-on training in:
– Activism through performance and public art
– Documentary filmmaking, podcasting, and web publishing skills
– Principles and best practices for ethical and impactful community engagement and social justice work

This is the first of two courses in the Public Humanities Fellowship program offered through the Humanities Institute. Visit the Public Humanities Fellowship website to learn more.

Photo of students and instructors inside a media lab classroom.

Commonwealth Campus Center Nodes (C3N) Workshop

As part of a university initiative to create synergies across the Penn State University system, faculty at the Harrisburg and Greater Allegheny Penn State campuses, have produced a video series promoting the value of Humanities education, called “Humanities Works”.  The series is produced by Rosemary Martinelli and Catherine Rios.

Visit Commonwealth Campuses Collaboration Programs to view the recordings from this series.

Humanities Works Logo

New International Travel Grant Opportunity:

The Humanities Institute is happy to announce a new funding opportunity in partnership with The Center for Global Studies at Penn State. Global Humanities Research Impact Grants are now being offered to support Penn State scholars pursuing advanced global humanities research with a grant of up to $5,000 for international research travel.

Application deadline: September 9, 2022

See funding and application details here.

HumIn Focus

HumIn Focus is a multi-part web series centering on pressing social issues through the lens of the work of humanities scholars.

Episode 5 of HumIn Focus, “Humanity Behind Bars: Incarceration in America,” premiered on WPSU on February 6th, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. To view the episode and to learn more, visit HumIn Focus.

The image shows the camera looking through the bars of a prison cell to see a bed and desk with books, paper, and pen.

History alumna creates fund to support undergraduate research in the humanities

The Humanities Institute is grateful to announce a new fund that will help expand research opportunities for undergraduate students. The Liz Covart and Tim Wilde Humanities Institute Undergraduate Research Fund in the College of the Liberal Arts will make it easier for students to participate in humanities-based research projects by supplying research materials and supplies, underwriting travel expenses, and providing other forms of support. Read more here.

Thank you Liz and Tim!

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.

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.

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.