4:00 pm
Audra Simpson Reconciliation and its Discontents Penn Museum

This paper examines the ways in which “reconciliation” seeks to repair or perhaps subvert and mask the problem of historical and ethical impasse and injury. The paper takes the highly gestural and symbolic discursive work of reconciliation to examine how it can abet violence towards land and people through an emotional performance of singular contrition—contrition that attempts to ameliorate all forms of violence and move indigenous polities out of the status of polities and into the space of suffering, minoritized, and incapacitated victims of a history that once acknowledged, are somehow healed or repaired and, in this, whose variegated and violent histories are no longer to be dealt with. The paper stages its argument with recourse to ethnographic conversations with those who stand in active critical, ethical, and political relationship to the project of reconciliation. 

About the Speaker

Audra Simpson is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University, and author of Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States. She editor of the Syracuse University’s reprint of Lewis Henry Morgan’s anthropological classic League of the Haudenosaunee (under contract) and co-editor (with Andrea Smith) of Theorizing Native Studies, has articles in Cultural Anthropology, American Quarterly, Junctures, Law and Contemporary Problems, and Wicazo Sa Review, contributed to the edited volume Political Theory and the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and was volume editor of Recherches amerindiennes au quebec on “new directions in Iroquois studies.”  She has received fellowships and awards from Fulbright, the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation, Dartmouth College, the American Anthropological Association, Cornell University, and the School for Advanced Research. In 2010 she won Columbia University’s School for General Studies Excellence in Teaching Award. She is a Kahnawake Mohawk.


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Kathleen Brown What’s Laundry Got to Do With It? Critical Moments in the History of the BodyPenn Lightbulb Cafe World Cafe Live Upstairs, 3025 Walnut Street

Early Americans were not the first people to read the body for telltale signs of virtue, moral weakness, and disease, but they came to these judgments in the context of standards and practices quite different from our own. Brown, author of Foul Bodies: Cleanliness in Early America, will discuss how changes in household labor and body care have shaped our history. Looking back at medical advice books, letters, diaries, and household management books from the 19th century, we can see how body care represented a startling break with the past and foreshadowed some of the dilemmas we face today.

Expert faculty from the University of Pennsylvania shed light on their research in the arts, humanities, and social sciences at the Penn Lightbulb Café. It's an evening of engaging, stimulating conversation, with a Q&A session following each talk.

Penn Café events are free and open to the public, but RSVPs are encouraged. For more information or directions, contact Gina Bryan at 215-898-8721 or email at bryangm@upenn.edu.

Menu items are available for purchase. Happy Hour pricing from 4–6 p.m.


4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
Masha Alekhina Nadya Tolokonnikova A Conversation with Pussy Riot Houston Hall, Bodek Lounge

We all have to protest for those who are silent, and we have to protest for each other, no matter the geography, no matter the borders.  –Pussy Riot

Join us for a screening of Pussy Riot’s latest video, I Can’t Breathe, followed by a discussion with Nadya  Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina.

Russian conceptual artists and political activists Nadya Tolokonnikova and Masha Alekhina are founding members of the art collective Pussy Riot. In August 2012, they were sentenced to two years' imprisonment following an anti-Putin performance in Moscow Cathedral of Christ the Saviour. In March 2014, Tolokonnikova and Alekhina announced the opening of the Mordovia office of Zona Prava, their newly created prisoners’ rights NGO. In early September, they launched their independent news service, Mediazona, which focuses on courts, law enforcement, and the prison system in Russia. Tolokonnikova and Alekhina are Lennon Ono Grant for Peace recipients.



5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Matthew L. Jockers A Computational Morphology of Plot Van Pelt Library, Meyerson Conference Center, 2nd floor

In this lecture, Jockers will describe a method he's developed for detecting and measuring plot structure in long-form fiction. He'll show how he uses this method, along with some basic machine clustering, to empirically identify six fundamental plot shapes within a collection of 45,000 novels. Jockers will conclude with a discussion of best sellers and the canon and show how the data from his model can be used to isolate the plot shapes that are most successful over time and across genre.

Pre-registration required. Please email us at saravarney@sas.upenn.edu with your name and academic affiliation.

About the Speaker
Matthew L. Jockers is associate professor of English at the University of Nebraska, faculty fellow in the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, faculty fellow in the Center for Great Plains Studies, and director of the Nebraska Literary Lab. His research is focused on computational approaches to the study of literature, especially large collections of literature. His books include Macroanalysis: Digital Methods and Literary History and Text Analysis Using R for Students of Literature. Jockers has written articles on computational text analysis, authorship attribution, Irish and Irish-American literature, and co-authored several important amicus briefs defending the fair and transformative use of digital text. His research has been profiled in the New York Times, Nature, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Nautilus, Wired, New Scientist, Smithsonian, on NBC News, and many others.


7:00 pm
Films of Bradford Young: "Middle of Nowhere" and "The Door" International House, 3701 Chestnut Street

New Black Cinematography
Films of Bradford Young

Penn Humanities Forum in collaboration with cinema Studies and International House Philadelphia

Two films by Ava DuVernay, director of Selma:

Middle of Nowhere (Ava DuVernay, 2012, 97 minutes)
Medical student Ruby learns to live another life when her husband is imprisoned.

The Door (Ava DuVernay, 2013, 9 minutes)
Fifth in fashion brand Miu Miu's "Women's Tales" series, The Door follows five African American women whose strong bond helps one overcome a deep depression following divorce.

Award-winning cinematographer Bradford Young is known for expressive lighting, bold colors, and nuanced representations of dark skin tones on screen. Part of an exciting new wave of independent African American filmmaking, Young uses his stunning visuals to tell stories of family, violence, and diaspora across black communities from New York City to rural Mississippi.


11:45 am
Michael Charney Speed and Movement Methodology: Late Colonial India and the Imperial Circulation of Knowledge Van Pelt Library, Second Floor, Class of 55 Room



12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Sara Heller The Heterogeneous Effects of Summer Jobs The Jerry Lee Center, 3809 Walnut St.


Despite a growing consensus that employment programs require very high intensity and cost to improve outcomes among disadvantaged youth, a recent study found large decreases in violence from a relatively short, low-cost intervention: summer jobs. One hypothesis for the program’s success is that it targeted youth prior to school exit, acting as unemployment prevention rather than remediation. Yet with no out-of-school youth in the sample, the study could not test that hypothesis directly. This paper is a follow-up to that study, testing the prevention question directly by randomly assigning 5,228 in- and out-of-school disadvantaged male youth in Chicago to the same summer jobs program. Preliminary results will be presented.


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Megan Kassabaum Investigating the Origins of America's First CityPenn Science Cafe World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut St.

The ancient city of Cahokia, located across the Mississippi River from modern-day St. Louis, thrived from A.D. 1050-1300 and was home to more than 20,000 people. Among many other activities, these people built massive earthen mounds that served a variety of functions. The history of mound building began nearly 5,000 years before the mounds at Cahokia were constructed; Kassabaum investigates the origins of America's first city by considering these precursors.    

Expert faculty from the University of Pennsylvania shed light on their research at the Penn Science Café. It's an evening of engaging, stimulating conversation, with a Q&A session following each talk.

Penn Café events are free and open to the public, but RSVPs are encouraged. Contact Gina Bryan at 215-898-8721 or email bryangm@pobox.upenn.edu.

Menu items are available for purchase. Happy Hour pricing from 4-6 p.m.


12:00 pm - 1:30 pm
Evelyn Brodkin States of Inequality: Insights from Street-Level Research on the Welfare State The ARCH, Room 108, 3601 Locust Walk


Drawing on her recent edited volume Work and the Welfare State, Brodkin discusses two developments affecting contemporary welfare state politics: the advance of workfare-style policies in an increasing number of countries and a distinct but related transnational project of governance reform that targets street-level organizations (SLOs). Evidence from international studies shows how, together, these initiatives are pushing back against the welfare state’s equalizing capacities and intensifying the precariousness of life for those at the economic margins.

While democratic welfare states arguably constitute one of the great developments of modern society, Brodkin’s work shows how, to varying degrees, they remain deeply contested, subject to changing economic and political conditions and demands. These contests occur on multiple levels, some of the most visible and well-observed occurring around legislative battles over social policy. Critically important, but less well-observed, are political contests that occur indirectly, taking place in the opaque spaces between formal policy provisions and the social outcomes that result, spaces in which the essential work of the welfare state takes place. It is in these spaces that SLOs play a crucial role in mediating inequality, both as shapers of policy and politics and as key points of interaction between the state and those who are disadvantaged, marginalized, or unemployed.


4:30 pm
Alain Elkann Jewish Life in Europe and the United States Houston Hall, Bodek Lounge, 3417 Spruce Street

The Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program presents the 15th Annual Goldstone Forum

Alain Elkann is a prominent European novelist, intellectual, journalist, and interviewer. He has co-written books with the chief rabbi of Italy and the archbishop of Milan, and collaborated with a prominent member of the royal family of Jordan for a book on Islam. He is the president of the Egyptian Museum of Turin, a member of the award committee of the literary prize Premio Letterario Internazionale Mondello Palermo, and president of the Italian Foundation for Art and Culture (FIAC) of New York. His writings have been translated from Italian and English into Hebrew, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Japanese. The recipient of numerous awards, Elkann was inducted to the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur, the highest award of France, in 2009.

You can read many of his interviews on his website: http://alainelkanninterviews.com.


9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Citizens, Constitutions, and Democracy in Post-Neoliberal Latin America Irvine Auditorium

As the culmination of our year-long examination of the transformations sweeping through Latin America, international scholars gather to discuss the implications for democracy, stable governance and popular wellbeing in the region. 

Panels include:

Post-Liberal Democracy
George Ciccariello-Maher (Drexel University Dept. of History and Politics)
Philippe Schmitter (European University Institute, Political and Social Sciences)

Courts and Constitutional Changes
Sandra Botero (University of Notre Dame Dept. of Political Science)
Roberto Gargarella (University Torcuato Di Tella Law School)

Race and Ethnic Identities
Juliet Hooker (University of Texas at Austin Dept. of Government)
Nancy Postero (UC-San Diego Dept. of Anthropology)

Citizenship and New forms of Participation
Thamy Pogrebinschi (WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Democracy and Democratization Research Unit)
Gisela Zaremberg (FLACSO México)