Penn Arts and Sciences

Upcoming Events

  • Friday, September 19, 2014 - 9:00am - 5:00pm

    Fitts Auditorium, Golkin Hall (Penn Law), 3501 Sansom Street

    Cosponsored by the Penn School of Social Policy and Practice, Urban Studies at Penn, the Penn Department of History, and Penn Institute for Urban Research

    Please register here.

    AS HISTORIAN MICHAEL KATZ (who passed away on August 23) noted in a new edition of his classic, The Undeserving Poor, “poverty is deeply rooted” in American life. “Before the twentieth century, the nation lacked both the economic surplus and policy tools to eradicate it.” With the inception of the War on Poverty fifty years ago, however, economic abundance and new methods of providing social services joined together to confront poverty and, “for about a decade, this combination, backed by popular support and political will, did spectacularly well.” Since then, “poverty has been allowed to grow again.”

    Honoring and critically appraising his work in its first roundtable session, the Penn SSPF fall conference, “The War on Poverty at 50: Its History and Legacy,” will bring together leading scholars and policy analysts to examine the key questions Katz raises. What worked and what did not in the War on Poverty? Were its successes and failures the outcome of methods or of political will? Where did the political will to declare such a war come from? And in twenty-first century America, can it ever be regained?

    Participants include Gretchen Aguiar, Merlin Chowkwanyun (University of Wisconsin-Madison), Peter Edelman (Georgetown Law), Roberta Iversen (Penn SP2), Ira Katznelson (Columbia University and the Social Science Research Council), Felicia Kornbluh (University of Vermont), Sophia Lee (Penn Law), Greg Kaufmann (Center for American Progress), Alice O'Connor (University of California, Santa Barbara), Amy Offner (Penn), Annelise Orleck (Dartmouth), Wendell Pritchett (Interim Dean, Penn Law), Brian Purnell (Bowdoin), Dorothy Roberts (Penn Law), Crystal Sanders (Penn State), Eric Schneider (Penn), Gareth Stedman Jones (Queen Mary University of London), Thomas Sugrue (Penn), Karen Tani (University of California Berkeley, Law), Heather Ann Thompson (Temple), William Julius Wilson (Harvard), and more.

    Please register here.

  • Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 5:00pm - 6:30pm

    IN A TIGHTLY-ARGUED, EXHAUSTIVELY RESEARCHED article in The Atlantic, "The Case for Reparations," acclaimed journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates has argued that the injustices suffered by African Americans, from slavery to discriminatory housing policies,in both the South and the North, have continued to compound to the present day. The resulting segregation and disadvantage have, among other things, shaped the policing of African-American communities, with outcomes such as the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the harsh police response to the protests that followed.  In conversation with Thomas Sugrue, SSPF director and author of Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North, Coates will explore the past and present of racial policies and politics in the U.S., as well as the prospects for achieving true reparations.

  • Friday, October 3, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    ANGUS DEATON is the Dwight D. Eisenhower Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Economics Department at Princeton University. He studies health, wellbeing, and economic development.  His current research focuses on the determinants of health in rich and poor countries, as well as on the measurement of poverty in India and around the world.  His latest book is The Great Escape: Health, Wealth and the Origins of Inequality – one of the Bloomberg/Businessweek Best Books of 2013 and one of Forbes Magazine’s Best Books of 2013 – which tells the remarkable story of how, starting 250 years ago, some parts of the world began to experience sustained progress, opening up gaps and setting the stage for today's hugely unequal world. He argues that international aid has been ineffective and even harmful and suggests alternative efforts – including reforming incentives to drug companies and lifting trade restrictions – that will allow the developing world to bring about its own Great Escape.

  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 4:30pm - 6:00pm

    PETER SINGER, author of The Life You Can Save and renowned Princeton philosophy professor, argues that we can, and should, donate to highly cost effective charities to improve the health and wellbeing of the world’s poor. Peter Singer is one of the most well-known living philosophers and a leader of the Effective Altruism movement, which applies evidence, reason and rationality to doing good. (See Professor Singer will discuss the moral case for helping others, and the evidence available to do so most effectively.

    The event is free, but please register here.

  • Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    DAVID BRADY is the Director of the “Inequality and Social Policy” research unit at the WZB Social Science Center in Berlin and an Adjunct Professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University. Among his main fields of interest is poverty and inequality, in particular their causes, measurement and consequences. What explains the vast differences in poverty and inequality that exist across countries? In his 2009 book Rich Democracies, Poor People: How Politics Explain Poverty, he analyzed how politics explain why poverty is so much higher in the US than in other affluent democracies. He also investigates the relationship of social policy to political economy, with a particular emphasis on understanding policy outcomes. Presently, he is studying whether rising immigration to affluent democracies is altering attitudes regarding social policy. With Linda Burton, he is editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Poverty.

  • Friday, November 14, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    ARINDRAJIT DUBE is an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany. He was a visiting faculty member in economics at MIT in 2014. His area of expertise is labor market policies, with an emphasis on low-wage workers. He has done extensive research on minimum wage laws, as well as research on other types of employer mandates, in particular the effects of minimum wage differentials across state borders where the minimum wage is higher on one side of the border than the other. He examined the borders of all of the states over a twenty year period, with a focus on the service industry, which employs the majority of minimum wage workers. According to his findings, both the short and long term effects of the increased wage on unemployment were negligible and that, moreover, a higher minimum wage helps service retailers attract and retain employees, increasing their productivity. His recent co-authored articles include “Early Responses to San Francisco’s Paid Sick Leave Policy” in the American Journal of Public Health and “Cross Border Spillover: US Gun Laws and Violence in Mexico” in the American Political Science Review.

  • Friday, December 12, 2014 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    MARGARET WEIR is Professor of Sociology and Political Science and Avice M. Saint Chair in Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. She has written widely on the politics of social policy and inequality in the United States and Europe.  Her publications include “Collaboration is Not Enough” (with Jane Rongerude and Chris Ansell) in Urban Affairs Review (2009), “The Long Shadow of the Past: Risk Pooling and the Political Development of Health Care Reform in the States” (with Anthony Chen) in Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (2009) and “States, Race, and the Decline of New Deal Liberalism” in Studies in American Political Development (2005).  She is the author of Politics and Jobs: The Boundaries of Employment Policy in the United States (1992) and (with Ira Katznelson), Schooling for All:  Class, Race and the Decline of the Democratic Ideal (1992).  Her edited volumes include The Social Divide: Political Parties and the Future of Activist Government (1998) and (with Ann Shola Orloff and Theda Skocpol), The Politics of Social Policy in the United States (1988). Weir was chair of the MacArthur Foundation Network on Building Resilient Regions from 2006-2014.

  • Friday, January 23, 2015 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    JULIAN ZELIZER is a Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University. He has been one of the pioneers in the revival of American political history. He is the author of Taxing America: Wilbur D. Mills, Congress, and the State, 1945-1975 (1998), On Capitol Hill: The Struggle to Reform Congress and its Consequences, 1948-2000 (2004), Arsenal of Democracy: The Politics of National Security – From World War II to the War on Terrorism (2010), and Conservatives in Power: The Reagan Years, 1981-1989 (2010). In addition to his scholarly articles and book chapters, Zelizer is a frequent commentator in the international and national media on political history and contemporary politics. He has published over four hundred op-eds, including his weekly column on CNN.Com. He has received fellowships from the Brookings Institution, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. His forthcoming book is The Fierce Urgency of Now: Lyndon Johnson, Congress and the Battle for the Great Society.

  • Friday, February 6, 2015 - 12:00pm

    PATRICK SHARKEY is an Associate Professor of Sociology at New York University. His highly praised book, Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress toward Racial Equality (2013) describes how, four decades after the high hopes of the Civil Rights Movement, the degree of racial inequality has barely changed. To understand what went wrong, he argues that we have to understand what has happened to African American communities over the last several decades and how political decisions and social policies have led to severe disinvestment from black neighborhoods, persistent segregation, declining economic opportunities, and a growing link between African American communities and the criminal justice system. Ultimately, he advocates urban policies that have the potential to create transformative and sustained changes in urban communities and the families that live within them, and he outlines a durable urban policy agenda to move in that direction.

  • Friday, March 27, 2015 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    EVELYN BRODKIN is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. A scholar of public policy and management, she examines the history, experiences, and contradictions of U.S. efforts to address poverty and inequality. Her research investigates political conflicts over social policy, how street-level organizations mediate policy and politics, and, the spread of workfare-style arrangements around the world. She takes up these issues in her co-edited book, Work and the Welfare State: Street-Level Organizations and Workfare Politics (2013), which investigates the politics and practices of the workfare in six countries. In addition, research examining the street-level organizations that bring policy to people has led to a series of publications, including, "Reflections on Street-Level Bureaucracy: Past, Present, and Future" (Public Administration Review, 2012) and a special symposium, "Putting Street-Level Organizations First: New Directions for Research" (Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 2011). Beyond its impact on scholarship, Brodkin's research has contributed to social welfare advocacy, policymaking, and practice.  She has been invited to speak on her policy and organizational research in Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK.

  • Friday, April 17, 2015 - 12:00pm - 1:30pm

    CHIARA SARACENO is Professor Emerita at the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and an Honorary Fellow at the Collegio Carlo Alberto in Turin. She is an internationally recognized sociologist who focuses on the dynamics of family change in Italy, as well as comparative gender patterns and social policies regarding the family in Europe and beyond. She also works on poverty and anti-poverty policies in a comparative perspective. Among her recent publications are Il Welfare, il Mulino (2013); I nuovi poveri (2011); Conciliare famiglia e lavoro (with Manuela Naldini) (2011); “Towards an integrated approach for the analysis of gender equity in policies supporting paid work and care responsibilities” (with W. Keck), Demographic Research (2011); “Social inequalities in facing old-age dependency: a bi-generational perspective,” Journal of European Social Policy (2010); and “Can we identify intergenerational policy regimes in Europe?” (with W. Keck), European Societies (2010). Together with J. Lewis and A. Leira, she edited the collection Families and Family Policies (2012).

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