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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 

The Truth Project

The Truth Project

What do YOU say truth is?

As the Humanities Institute examines The Status of "Truth" in Public Discourse and Human Interaction, we invite you to do the same. Watch our video as we introduce The Truth Project and begin to ask the question of what counts as “true” or “knowledge” in humanistic disciplines. For more information on upcoming events, visit our Special Initiatives and Programs page or visit The Truth Project website.

headshots of upcoming lecturers

Resident Faculty Lecture Series

Our Resident Faculty Lecture Series features our Fall Faculty Scholars in Residence. In Affluence and the Production of Illegality, Lise Nelson will talk about place-based racial narratives that cater to the affluent and ultimately work to produce "illegality"; in Present Futures and the Legacies of Afrofuturism: Speculative Fiction, Globality, Utopia, Magalí Armillas-Tiseyra and Matt Tierney will present their collaborative research regarding the literary politics of Afrofuturism in African vs. US contexts; and in "De-insularization," Oceanic Creolization and Transcolonial Poetics, Emmanuel Bruno Jean-François will discuss a world history from the perspective of marginalized spaces, offering a new framing of interactions of land, sea, and peoples in the islands of the global South.

For more information on our Resident Programs, see our Funding Opportunities page.

Dislocation: Beyond War's EndThe HI Conference

At the 100 year mark of the signing of the Armistice of WWI, The Humanities Institute, in collaboration with the Rock Ethics Institute, is proud to present: Dislocation Beyond War’s End: First World War, Armistice, and After, a conference dedicated to examining the many ways the war failed to end in November, 1918.

See our conference page for more information and full program schedule.

Keynote Event & Schilling Lecture:  
Laura Engelstein, Yale University 
Monday, November 12th, 7:00 p.m. 
Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library 

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.

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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.