Penn Lightbulb Cafe

Upcoming events in this series:


6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Kathleen BrownProfessor, Department of History, University of PennsylvaniaWhat’s Laundry Got to Do With It? Critical Moments in the History of the Body 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

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