News & Announcements

  • Wolf Humanities Center Welcomes New Director Karen Redrobe

    "With a plan to expand programs and increase diversity and inclusivity, Karen Redrobe has stepped into her new role as director of the Wolf Humanities Center at the University of Pennsylvania...Redrobe has many ideas for new efforts, including strengthening the connection between Penn humanities and Penn Global, starting with an October roundtable at the Perry World House. Also, in Redrobe’s commitment to make the humanities more accessible, all of the Center’s programs for the first time will feature interpretation in American Sign Language, live and online, along with captioning for the hearing impaired in the online version." Read full article Penn Today, Sept 24, 2018. Louisa Shepard.

    Karen Redrobe (formerly Beckman) is the Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Professor of Cinema and Modern Media, Director of the Wolf Humanities Center, and Chair of the Department of the History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania. From 2013-2014, Redrobe was the Topic Director and Acting Director for the (then) Penn Humanities Forum topic, Violence. She has also served as Advisor to the Arts for the University (2012–15), Diversity Search Advisor for the Humanities at Penn (2012–14), and Director of Cinema and Media Studies (2007–10). An interdisciplinary feminist film and media scholar whose work often occurs at the intersection of violence and aesthetics, Redrobe is the author of Vanishing Women: Magic, Film and Feminism (2003) and Crash: Cinema and the Politics of Speed and Stasis (2010), and is working on a new book, Undead: Animation and the Contemporary Art of War. She has co-edited two volumes: Still Moving: Between Cinema and Photography with Jean Ma (2008) and On Writing With Photography with Liliane Weissberg (2013), and is also the editor of Animating Film Theory (2014). She is co-editing a new volume with Jeffrey Scheible entitled Deep Mediations, which explores the intersection of depth as a philosophical and visual concept. As a faculty member, her top priority is to expand access to higher education.

  • Wolf Humanities Center to provide ASL interpretation at events in Forum on Stuff

    In partnership with the American Sign Language Program in Penn's Department of Linguistics and the Deaf Hearing Communication Centre, the Wolf Humanities Center will provide ASL interpretation at many of the live events in our 2018-19 Forum on Stuff, and in their online counterparts. We look forward to expanding our dialogue and encourage you to share our programs with the Deaf community! Full list of events with ASL interpretation provided.

  • Parker Abt (’17-18, ’18-19) Op-Ed in Wall Street Journal

    As part of his research on colonias in Hidalgo County, Texas this summer, Parker Abt (Wolf Undergraduate Fellow 2017-18 and 2018-19) saw firsthand the devastation caused by severe flooding. In an August 28, 2018 op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, Abt calls attention to the financial struggles of homeowners in Texas, Puerto Rico, and, more recently, Hawaii as they navigate FEMA's strict policies, which sometimes conflict with local laws.

  • Fiona Jensen-Hitch, Stuff 2018-19, interviewed in Penn Today

    "This summer and continuing through the coming academic year, Fiona Jensen-Hitch is cataloging and photographing bones, mostly crania, but also loose vertebrae, one sacrum, one femur, and one spine, in an effort to better understand the people of ancient Gibeon. She has many questions: Precisely how many sets of remains are in the large plastic containers she’s sorting through? Do other, similar remains exist, perhaps buried at the Penn Museum like a few discovered in the 1990s, or hiding somewhere else in the world? Why do the bones show signs of anemia and other ailments? How old are they exactly?" Full Article.


  • Alisa Feldman, Afterlives 2017-18, interviewed in OMNIA

    "Alisa Feldman, C’18, spent 13 years in Jewish day school before attending Penn, but never dreamed she would spend the summer before her senior year studying in vitro fertilization (IVF) practices in Israel. Her Honor’s thesis project, 'Be Fruitful and Medicalize: IVF Risk Communication and the Politics of Assisted Reproduction in Israel' investigates how providers communicate (or don’t communicate) the risks of IVF to patients and the factors that shape those communications." Full Article.

  • Elizabeth Della Zazzera lands Mellon/ACLS Public Fellowship

    Congratulations to Elizabeth Della Zazzera (Research Assistant, 2014-15; PhD, History, 2016) on her 2018 Mellon/ACLS Public Fellowship, during which she’ll serve as Digital Producer at Lapham’s Quarterly. Elizabeth participated in the 2014-15 Penn Humanities Forum on Color as both the Graduate Research Assistant and Chair of the Graduate Humanities Forum.

  • Thanks for the memories, Jim English!

    Colleagues near and far joined the Wolf Humanities Center earlier this month in toasting Jim English for his eight years as Director of the Penn Humanities Forum and the Wolf Humanities Center. Under his leadership, Penn received major gifts to endow and make permanent the programs of the Penn Humanities Forum as the Wolf Humanities Center, and to endow a new digital humanities lab, the Price Lab for Digital Humanities.

    Since becoming Director in 2010, Jim has hosted and helped to support over 250 public events which have helped to place the center and its scholars at the forefront of many fields of emerging humanistic research, including environmentalism, disability studies, transgender medical ethics, and cultural network mapping.

    He has also led over 175 research seminars whose 180 faculty have received fellowships from the Forum/Center. "One of the great things about the Wolf Humanities Center,” says Karen Redrobe, Elliot and Roslyn Jaffe Professor of Cinema and Modern Media and incoming director of the Wolf Humanities Center, “is the opportunity it makes for faculty to learn from each other” in a seminar setting. Jim consistently has drawn wide admiration from colleagues in those seminars for his inclusive approach to scholarship. 

    From everyone he has worked with while director—students, staff, and scholars—Jim is best celebrated for being modest, thoughtful, generous, deliberative, and a welcoming friend. Timothy Rommen, Davidson Kennedy Professor in the College and three-time faculty advisor of the Undergraduate Humaniites Forum, speaks for all of us in saying, "Thanks, Jim, for being a model of how to be a colleague, and for empowering the people around you to be their best selves.”

    Following a sabbatical in 2019, Jim will continue at Penn as the John Welch Centennial Professor of English and Faculty Director of the Price Lab for Digital Humanities. 

  • Deaf/Hearing Story Slam Offers Insights for Both Communities

    Our first ever Deaf/Hearing Story Slam on March 27th opened to a full audience at the Ibrahim Theater! Led by the inspiring and electrifying, Wink Smith Jr., performers were welcomed to the stage to share personal tales of survival and reconciliation, with interpreters making both Hearing and Deaf performers accesible to attendees. The show proved to be a special experience for both Deaf and Hearing attendees: performer Jean Spraker shared her experience working closely with interpreters and engaging with the audience, while Michael Lieberman came away from the Story Slam eager to know more about the history and culture of the Deaf community. Here's hoping for more events like this one in the future!

  • Storytellers Wanted! Wolf Center's First-Ever Story Slam

    The Wolf Humanities Center is hosting our first-ever story slam on March 27th at International House! Both hearing and Deaf storytellers will participate, with professional ASL interpreters translating. We are looking for participants with stories that mark the arrival of spring by telling of returns, renewals, or miraculous comebacks. If you're interested in telling your 5-minute story of  Rebirths, Returns, and Comebacks, send us a brief proposal in the form of a written work or an audio clip no later than February 19, 2018. We'd love to hear from you! More information

  • Penn Cinema Studies' Rahul Mukherjee Explores Ruination

     Rahul Mukherjee, Dick Wolf Assistant Professor of Television and New Media Studies, recently published an article in the Journal of Visual Culture. In Anticipating Ruinations: Ecologies of ‘Make Do’ and ‘Left With,’ Mukherjee examined how decimated spaces, such as nuclear fallout zones, apartments slated for demolition, and e-waste relate to the “explicitly political process” of ruination. His research was conducted while a Penn Humanities Forum Faculty Fellow in 2016-17. In Fall 2017, Mukherjee organized Documenting Nuclear Afterlives as part of the Wolf Humanities Center’s Forum on Afterlives. The event brought together three documentary filmmakers for screenings and discussion about communities around the world living in proximity to nuclear reactors and radiation.