Penn Arts and Sciences

Upcoming Events

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

    AS HISTORIAN MICHAEL KATZ has 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), Gareth Stedman Jones (Cambridge), Felicia Kornbluh (University of Vermont), Alice O'Connor (University of California, Santa Barbara), Amy Offner (Penn), Annelise Orleck (Dartmouth), Wendell Pritchett (Interim Dean, Penn Law), Brian Purnell (Bowdoin), Crystal Sanders (Penn State), Thomas Sugrue (Penn), Karen Tani (University of California Berkeley, Law), Heather Ann Thompson (Temple), William Julius Wilson (Harvard), and more.

  • Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 5:00pm - 9:00pm

    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 www.thelifeyoucansave.org.) Professor Singer will discuss the moral case for helping others, and the evidence available to do so most effectively.

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