News & Announcements
March 11, 2016
Tin Heists and Recoveries
Stealing a piece of gold-plated tin—which chemically speaking is not much different from a “nice-looking set of cutlery"—has long been a part of Oscar’s nearly 90-year history. According to Olivia Rutigliano, a graduate student at Columbia University who began her research on the history of stolen Oscars in 2013 while a Mellon Undergraduate Fellow with the Forum, 70 Oscars have been stolen since the Academy’s first ceremony in 1929. Another five vanished and were resold without their owner realizing. For more on this fascinating history, read Olivia’s article, “6 Amazing Oscar Heists and 5 Happy Endings,” in the February 19th issue of Vanity Fair, and her interview with Penn Professor Peter Decherney in the February 24th issue of Forbes.
March 9, 2016
Writing in today's New York Times of a trucking industry in crisis, Anne Balay, a Regional Fellow with the Penn Humanities Forum this year who is conducting research on sex, trucks, and redneck women, and Mona Shattell, a professor of nursing at Rush University, call on Congress to improve the working conditions of truck drivers, who are "leaving in droves because of low pay and poor working conditions." In their op-ed, "Long-Haul Sweatshops," the authors note that the few labor laws that protect truckers are regulated by the Department of Transportation, which focuses on highway safety, rather than the Department of Labor. Balay and Shattell urge Congress to give the Department of Labor the power to regulate working conditions and mandate that DOL coordinate its policies with the Department of Transportation. This would "extend the variety of protections available to almost all Americans to the millions of men and women who drive the nation's commercial trucking fleet."
March 2, 2016
Noticing Elite Sports for Women
As we celebrate Women's History Month and National Athletic Training Month this March, the Forum recognizes visual artist Angela Lorenz for "Victorious Secret," her recent exhibition and talk at Penn. The exhibition, which is traveling throughout the United States, is a tribute to archaeologist Isabella Baldini Lipolis and a celebration of the 40th anniversary of Title IX.
February 16, 2016
"Taking race out of human genetics"
Writing in the Feb. 5 issue of the journal Science, Penn Integrates Knowledge Professors Dorothy Roberts and Sarah Tishkoff, along with two others, call for an end to the use of genetic concepts of race in biological research, urging biologists to find a better way. The authors note that "the use of biological concepts of race in human genetic research – so disputed and mired in confusion – is problematic at best and harmful at worst." News coverage here. Dorothy Roberts is presenting two talks on Black women's sexuality as part of this year's Penn Humanities Forum on Sex.
December 21, 2015
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Durba Mitra meets with PHF Undergrad Fellows
Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow Durba Mitra met with the Forum's Undergraduate Research Fellows, who invited her to discuss her research on how the “prostitute” and other figures of sexually deviant women became central to legal, social, and scientific discourses emerging in eastern India during the colonial period. Prof. Mitra touched on her History course, “The Sexual Life of Colonialism: Gender & Sexuality in the Colonial World,” which covers everything from Instagram filters to colonial postcards of South Asian sex workers. She also addressed the politics of the archive; specifically, how archival material available to intellectual and social historians becomes a lens through which they imagine the many things that have not been preserved.
December 8, 2015
Scott Enderle Appointed Digital Humanities Specialist Librarian at Penn
The Forum congratulates Jonathan Scott Enderle on his new appointment as Digital Humanities Specialist Librarian at Penn Libraries. Scott is a 2011 graduate of Penn with a PhD in English. He was a Research Assistant and Graduate Humanities Forum chair for the 2010-2011 Penn Humanities Forum on Virtuality.
December 4, 2015
Constructed Blackness and the Case of Francis Harwood’s *Bust of a Man*
Haptic Blackness: The Double Life of an 18th-century Bust, is a collaborative study of expatriate British sculptor Francis Harwood’s Bust of a Man (1758), made during the height of the transatlantic slave trade. Only two known copies of the bust exist in museum collections. Writing in the inaugural issue (Autumn 2015) of the online journal British Art Studies, authors Cyra Levenson and Chi-ming Yang, with photo-essay by Ken Gonzales-Day, are the first to image together the two different busts and consider both as objects in dialogue across time and space. Note the authors in this fascinating study, "Harwood’s figures connect moments in time when the contradictions of the raced body – its invisibility and hypervisibility – might give rise to new ways of seeing and feeling." Originally thought "ugly and terrifying," the bust today is seen as “exquisite and exotic.” How and why does this work resonate so profoundly with present-day audiences? Chi-ming Yang is associate professor of English at Penn, who last year was topic director of the Penn Humanities Forum on Color.
November 19, 2015
Historic Churches & Saints in Stunning 3D
Prepare yourself for an immersive experience in stunning 3D of medieval architecture and sculpture in Northern Spain. Through the award-winning website RomanesqueSpain created by Liz Lastra, a Penn PhD student in art history, it is now possible to see historic Romanesque monuments and sites in detail once only conceivable if inches away on a scaffold. Lastra's project has been supported by PHF's former Digital Humanities Forum, the Price Lab for Digital Humanities, Penn's History of Art Department, and the Penfield Endowment. She also received the Delaware Valley Medieval Association's first Digital Project Prize for her work. Media coverage: "Seeing the Saints - Up Close," by Susan Alhborn, SAS Frontiers, Nov. 6, 2015.
October 30, 2015
Penn Museum SEX: A HISTORY IN 30 0BJECTS Exhibition Heats Up
The Penn Museum has some really choice art and artifacts. So choice, in fact, that just thirty pieces from their vast collection can richly evoke the diverse ways that societies across continents and throughout the millennia have understood sex and sexuality, gender, and gender diversity. Presented to coincide with the 2015–2016 Penn Humanities Forum on Sex, "SEX: A History in 30 Objects" is curated by Dr. Lauren Risvet, the Robert H. Dyson, Jr. Associate Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology and Associate Curator of the Museum's Near East Section. Find out more on WHYY's NewsWorks with Peter Crimmins, PhillyVoice with Aubrey Nagle, and Penn's own Daily Pennsylvanian with Remi Lederman. And, be sure to come see for yourself! The exhibition runs from October 17, 2015 through July 31, 2016.
October 13, 2015
Shaj Mathew reviews Orhan Pamuk's A Strangeness in My Mind
Writing in the October 13 issue of the New Republic, Shaj Mathew reviews Orhan Pamuk's latest work, A Strangeness in My Mind, calling it "a novel of immigration (within one's own country) and the hardships and moral dilemmas that invariably attend such sudden, if voluntary, displacement." It is devoted mainly to recovering the memory of a particular journey common to many Turks who moved from village to city in the late 20th century. Writes Mathew, "if you listen closely enough to this novel, you may discover a secret history of Istanbul in [the main character] Mevlut's song." Shaj is a Ph.D. student in Comparative Literature at Yale and was a Mellon Undergraduate Research Fellow with the Penn Humanities Forum in 2013 and 2014 before graduating Penn in 2014. In addition to the New Republic, he has written for the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Lapham's Quarterly, Guernica, and others.