The Humanities Institute at Penn State University

Promoting collaborative research on ideas

central to the pressing issues of our time.

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A Welcome Letter from Director John Christman

Dear Friends of the Humanities Institute,

Welcome to the new academic year.

I want to begin by sending out a heartfelt public thank-you to Tina Chen for serving as the Interim Director of the HI this past year. She and our wonderful team not only kept the ship aright but plowed on full speed ahead, all the while juggling the myriad challenges posed by COVID. Thank you Tina!

As I step back in to the Directorship I hope to pick up on the ongoing energy and momentum of our various projects and initiatives but also to reiterate the unifying themes that drive our efforts and orient our mission. These include an emphasis on cooperative scholarship and interdisciplinary work in the humanities, and to accentuate the public value of work in the humanities, especially concerning struggles for social justice and the greater social good.

In this vein, we are continuing with the Public Humanities Initiative in its various forms. Principle among them is the Public Humanities Fellows Program, overseen by our Associate Director Lauren Kooistra. The Program has drawn another full class to the “Introduction to Public Humanities” course this fall. As part of that initiative, we welcome Elizabeth Grey in her new role as coordinator of the Fellows Program and co-instructor of the Intro course and companion Capstone course in the Spring. The other instructor for these courses is Ashley Seering, who is newly arriving to Penn State and will be teaching also in the Bellisario College of Communications.

Thanks to the Humanities in the World Initiative, we are again able to host a full cohort of Visiting Scholars and Post-doctoral fellows at Ihlseng Cottage. We hope to introduce these scholars to the wider community soon. Two Visiting Scholars and two post-docs in this group are connected to the Mellon-funded Just Transformations Initiative, a multi-faceted project geared toward building and sustaining diverse communities in higher education. These scholars will join our line-up of Penn State faculty and graduate students who have been awarded our Resident Fellowships for this academic year.

We are also happy to announce, in cooperation with the Center for Global Studies at Penn State, a new program of Global Humanities Research Impact Grants to support Penn State scholars pursuing advanced global humanities research with a grant of up to $5,000 for international research travel.

We continue our production of the documentary series, HumIn Focus , also in partnership with the Bellisario College of Com. Co-executive producer Matt Jordan and I are excited about this ongoing work, which will include a new episode we are just completing, to be aired later this fall. The topic of the (yet to be titled) piece is stories of communities that confront social and cultural difference and attempt, and sometimes fail, to create complex, creolized identities against the backdrop of increased global tribalization. All episodes can be found at https://hi.psu.edu.

We encourage people to use these films in their classrooms and other venues to facilitate discussion of the important issues they confront.

In addition, we will host a number of events that have been proposed by our faculty through our Faculty Invites process. Stay tuned for announcements of these exciting lectures, workshops and conferences.

Finally, guided by the central principles of our mission, we rededicate ourselves to promoting these and related themes as we work to support the amazing work that our humanities colleagues, students, and friends engage in.

Acknowledgement of Land

The Pennsylvania State University campuses are located on the original homelands of the Erie, Haudenosaunee (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora), Lenape (Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe, Stockbridge-Munsee), Shawnee (Absentee, Eastern, and Oklahoma), Susquehannock, and Wahzhazhe (Osage) Nations. As a land grant institution, we acknowledge and honor the traditional caretakers of these lands and strive to understand and model their responsible stewardship. We also acknowledge the longer history of these lands and our place in that history.

Promoting collaborative research on ideas

central to the pressing issues of our time.

Humanities Institute Annual Event 2023

Wednesday, March 1 at 4:00pm
University Park Campus and on Livestream

Qiana Whitted is an associate professor in the Department of English and African American Studies at the University of South Carolina. She specializes in 20th-Century African-American literature, cultural studies, and American comic books. Click Here to Learn More. This event will be followed by a reception for attendees.

  • John Eicher – Altoona
     “The Sword Outside, the Plague Within: The 1918 Influenza Pandemic in Europe”
  • Amanda Scott – University Park
    “Poverty, Exile, and Banditry in Early Modern Spain”
  • Matthew Restall – University Park
    “The Invention of Colonialism: Myths of Slavery and Settlement in the Imaginary Genesis of Belize and Yucatán”

Grant awards support humanities initiatives at college campuses, conservation research, innovative digital resources, and infrastructure projects at cultural institutions. Click Here to Read the Press Release

The Humanities Institute is pleased to announce the winner of the Outstanding Alumni Award for 2023:

Dr. John S. Lucas is President and CEO of ISEP Study Abroad, the world’s largest exchange network of more than 350 post-secondary institutions in over 60 countries. He holds a Ph.D. and MA in Spanish Linguistics from Penn State University, where he was an Edwin Erle Sparks Fellow in the Humanities.

Lucas will receive his award during the Humanities Institute’s Annual Event on Wednesday, March 1 of 2023.

HumIn Focus is a multi-part web series centering on pressing social issues through the lens of the work of humanities scholars. To learn more about the web series, visit the HumIn Focus website.

Episode 6 of HumIn Focus, “Humanity at the Crossroads: Stories of Diversity in a Tribalized World” premiered on WPSU on October 23rd, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. 📰 Click here to read the release announcement in the news. – ▶️ Watch Episode 6 here.

Save the date for the upcoming Spring talks

Graduate Student Scholars in Residence: Tuesday, April 18

Faculty Scholars in Residence: Désirée Lim: March 14, David G. Atwill: March 21, Marco A. Martínez: March 28, Sarah Clark Miller: April 4.

Presentations will occur online via Zoom promptly at 11:00 a.m.

Faculty Invites & Conference Funding:  February 27, 2023.

Collaborative Colloquia: March 27, 2023.

Summer Graduate Residence: February 6, 2023.

Fall Graduate Residence:  March 20, 2023.

Undergraduate Public Humanities Fellowship: Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

There are no upcoming events right now. Here are some of our most recent past events:

A Welcome Letter from Director John Christman

Dear Friends of the Humanities Institute,

Welcome to the new academic year.

I want to begin by sending out a heartfelt public thank-you to Tina Chen for serving as the Interim Director of the HI this past year. She and our wonderful team not only kept the ship aright but plowed on full speed ahead, all the while juggling the myriad challenges posed by COVID. Thank you Tina!

As I step back in to the Directorship I hope to pick up on the ongoing energy and momentum of our various projects and initiatives but also to reiterate the unifying themes that drive our efforts and orient our mission. These include an emphasis on cooperative scholarship and interdisciplinary work in the humanities, and to accentuate the public value of work in the humanities, especially concerning struggles for social justice and the greater social good.

In this vein, we are continuing with the Public Humanities Initiative in its various forms. Principle among them is the Public Humanities Fellows Program, overseen by our Associate Director Lauren Kooistra. The Program has drawn another full class to the “Introduction to Public Humanities” course this fall. As part of that initiative, we welcome Elizabeth Grey in her new role as coordinator of the Fellows Program and co-instructor of the Intro course and companion Capstone course in the Spring. The other instructor for these courses is Ashley Seering, who is newly arriving to Penn State and will be teaching also in the Bellisario College of Communications.

Thanks to the Humanities in the World Initiative, we are again able to host a full cohort of Visiting Scholars and Post-doctoral fellows at Ihlseng Cottage. We hope to introduce these scholars to the wider community soon. Two Visiting Scholars and two post-docs in this group are connected to the Mellon-funded Just Transformations Initiative, a multi-faceted project geared toward building and sustaining diverse communities in higher education. These scholars will join our line-up of Penn State faculty and graduate students who have been awarded our Resident Fellowships for this academic year.

We are also happy to announce, in cooperation with the Center for Global Studies at Penn State, a new program of Global Humanities Research Impact Grants to support Penn State scholars pursuing advanced global humanities research with a grant of up to $5,000 for international research travel.

We continue our production of the documentary series, HumIn Focus, also in partnership with the Bellisario College of Com. Co-executive producer Matt Jordan and I are excited about this ongoing work, which will include a new episode we are just completing, to be aired later this fall. The topic of the (yet to be titled) piece is stories of communities that confront social and cultural difference and attempt, and sometimes fail, to create complex, creolized identities against the backdrop of increased global tribalization. All episodes can be found at
https://hi-design-centers-and-institutes.pantheonsite.io/hi-stacey.

We encourage people to use these films in their classrooms and other venues to facilitate discussion of the important issues they confront.

In addition, we will host a number of events that have been proposed by our faculty through our Faculty Invites process. Stay tuned for announcements of these exciting lectures, workshops and conferences.

Finally, guided by the central principles of our mission, we rededicate ourselves to promoting these and related themes as we work to support the amazing work that our humanities colleagues, students, and friends engage in.

Read More

Acknowledgement of Land

The Pennsylvania State University campuses are located on the original homelands of the Erie, Haudenosaunee (Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk, and Tuscarora), Lenape (Delaware Nation, Delaware Tribe, Stockbridge-Munsee), Shawnee (Absentee, Eastern, and Oklahoma), Susquehannock, and Wahzhazhe (Osage) Nations. As a land grant institution, we acknowledge and honor the traditional caretakers of these lands and strive to understand and model their responsible stewardship. We also acknowledge the longer history of these lands and our place in that history.