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

Humanities in the World

Please note: All programs listed here as supported by this initiative will be suspended as of Summer 2024. No new applications for funding will be taken at this time.

The Institute serves as the central organizing hub for Penn State’s Humanities in the World initiative, an effort aimed at supporting humanities work throughout the university.  Investing significant new resources into the HI, this initiative allows for the expansion of existing programs and building new ones, all showcasing the social importance of the humanities.  These include an expanded program for post-doctoral fellows, an invitation to senior visiting scholars, and continued production of the video series HumIn Focus. 

Scroll down for specifics regarding each of these programs. Click on the buttons to see current scholars and projects.

Postdoctoral Fellowships

The Postdoctoral Fellows program provides up to four scholars a two year residency at Penn State. Postdoctoral Fellows can come from any area in traditional humanities fields, and are selected based on their scholarly excellence as well as a demonstration of work that bears on issues of social concern. Fellows will be afforded office space and support for ongoing research projects. Teaching is not required, but teaching opportunities may be available if the scholar wishes. Postdoctoral Fellows are expected to be in residence at Penn State’s University Park campus, and to participate in the Institute’s colloquia and other events, as their interests dictate. See current Postdoctoral Fellows here.

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Visiting Scholars Program

Since Fall 2019, the Visiting Scholars Program has enabled faculty members of other institutions to spend time working within the Penn State community. Visitors can be in residence for any time period from 3 weeks to a full year. Support for visitors will include partial salary replacement, office space and research support, and integration into a community of scholars who value collaboration and interdisciplinary research. No teaching is required during the residency period.

A guiding motivation for this program is to promote cooperative scholarship between members of the Penn State community and our visitors as well as among the cohort of visitors here at any one time.  Therefore, residency at Penn State is required and scholars are expected to make use of the space provided to them during their stay. Participation in appropriate research groups and initiatives is also expected according to the needs and preferences of the Visiting Scholar.

Requests for visiting scholar positions should not come from potential visiting scholars themselves.  Visitors must be nominated by current Penn State faculty, and evidence of shared research interests with a significant number of faculty must be shown. Nominators will be expected to maintain contact with the Scholar during their stay and to facilitate interaction between them and appropriate members of the PSU community.

The objective of the program is to provide scholars with an opportunity to pursue research projects that enhance the social value of humanities work as well as bring accomplished scholars to Penn State to interact with our community. To that end, we expect nominators to maintain contact with the Scholar during their visit and to help connect them to appropriate persons and groups here.

The letter of nomination should a) briefly outline the proposed visitor’s scholarly accomplishments, and b) describe how the scholar will integrate into a community of scholars at University Park. Inquiries and nominations can be made by emailing

For Scholars hoping for extended stays (one semester or longer), we strongly suggest submitting nominations in the previous fall semester in order to give scholars time to make living arrangements in the area.

Visiting Scholars Program

Faculty Invites Program

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 under the rubric of our Faculty Invites program in the form of conferences, lectures, or workshops.

For more information, read here.

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HumIn Focus

As part of the Humanities Institute’s mission to publicize the social relevance of Humanities scholarship, we present HumIn Focus, an educational web series that asks scholars to reflect on the ideas lying behind pressing social issues.  In each episode, we ask scholars to reflect on ideas in their work in ways that expand and enrich questions of current concern.  In so doing, we hope to both broaden and deepen conversations about those questions in ways that emphasize how what we do in the Humanities matters crucially for all of us. For more information, see HumIn Focus.

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Commonwealth Campus Funding

The Humanities in the World initiative provides funding for campus programming and is available via proposal submission each year. Campus faculty members are encouraged to discuss proposals with their campus humanities coordinator before submitting them. All proposals will be considered by the Campus Humanities Board. See more information here.