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

Fall 2021 Humanities in the World Postdoctoral Scholars Presentation

Please join us as the Humanities in the World Postdoctoral Scholars provide brief insights into their research Wednesday, December 1st.

Jesse A. Goldberg, “Grammars of Law, Poetics of Justice: Towards Abolitionist Literary Studies”

Merle Eisenberg, “Pandemics and the Collapse of Society”

Belén Noroña, Just Transformations Scholar: “Indigenous Epistemologies & Decolonial Education”

Rebekah McCallum, Just Transformations Scholar: “Indian Activists and Black American Activists: Rights, Independence and Labor, 1900-1960s”

Presentations will occur online via Zoom promptly at 2:30 P.M EST. Visit the Postdoctoral Scholar webpage to learn more about the Postdoctoral Scholars. Visit Zoom to register for the presentation.

Collage of Jesse, Merle, Rebekkah, and Bélen.

Humanities Without Walls (HWW)

2022 HWW: National Predoctoral Career Diversity Summer Workshop Call For Applications

The HWW summer workshop utilizes a cohort-based approach to assisting humanities Ph.D. students with the development of their careers. Applications for the Summer 2022 workshop hosted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for the Humanities are due to humanities@psu.edu with the subject line HWW Summer Workshop by November 1, 2021.

2022-2024 HWW: Grand Research Challenge Call for Applications

Humanities Without Walls invites applications for interdisciplinary, collaborative, research-based projects in the humanities and arts that build a clearly communicated commitment to methodologies of reciprocity and redistribution into their project design and proposal narratives. Proposals should be emailed as a single PDF to HWW-DirectorOps@illinois.edu by November 15th, 2021, Midnight, Central Time.

For more information about both opportunities, visit the Humanities Institute External Funding Connections webpage.

Humanities Without Walls logo

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 4 of HumIn Focus premiered on WPSU on April 18th, 2021 at 6:30 p.m. This episode is now available on the HumIn Focus website.

The COVID 19 pandemic has provided a stress test for the American healthcare system. In “Rethinking Care” we view healthcare through the lens of the humanities, focusing on ways to repair some of the inequities of the system and to provide better care for healthcare workers and patients alike. 

Look for Episode 5, coming soon.

From the Directors

The Humanities Institute at Penn State is committed to the development of humanistic ideas that connect with and are in the service of public concerns. As such, we declare our solidarity with those protesting police and other racial violence and the structural injustices that undergird and shape it. Our devotion to the study of history, philosophy, the languages, cultural studies and communication, connects us to the depths of injustice and suffering that current conditions manifest. We look with sorrow and solidarity to those victims of specific injustices and murderous assaults, both recently and throughout our history, and we support the voices of protest raised against them. We hope that the work we support can help in some way to bring to light and amplify our understanding of the complex historical and social dynamics that structure these injustices. For now, we join in the voices of protest against the forces of hate.

John Christman
Director

Lauren Kooistra
Associate Director

Humanities in the World

The Humanities in the World initiative includes funding for Visiting Scholars, Postdoctoral Scholars, and our Faculty Invites program.

Learn more about the Initiative
Find out more about Programming Resources for Commonwealth Campuses

Humanities Institute: Humanities in the World Logo

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

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.