Decherney and Woubshet Named Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Endowed Term Professors

Peter Decherney and Dagmawi Woubshet, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Endowed Term Professors

Peter Decherney and Dagmawi Woubshet have been named Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Endowed Term Professors in Penn Arts & Sciences.

Decherney, Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Endowed Term Professor in the Humanities, is a professor in the Department of Cinema & Media Studies, director of the Penn Global Documentary Institute, and faculty director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Innovation. He holds a secondary appointment at the Annenberg School for Communication and an affiliation with the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Competition at Penn Law School.

Decherney has authored or edited seven books including Hollywood’s Copyright Wars: From Edison to the Internet and Hollywood: A Very Short Introduction, and has written for The New York Times, Forbes, Inside Higher Ed, and other publications. His first book of photography, Endless Exodus: The Jewish Experience in Ethiopia, is forthcoming. In addition, Decherney is an award-winning documentary and virtual reality filmmaker who has directed films about global migration and the political role of artists in Myanmar, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the U.S. Decherney has been an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scholar, a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, and a U.S. State Department Arts Envoy to Myanmar.

Woubshet is the Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Endowed Term Associate Professor of English. He is a scholar, writer, and translator working at the intersection of African American, LGBTQIA+, and African studies. He wrote the book, The Calendar of Loss: Race, Sexuality, and Mourning in the Early Era of AIDS, and co-edited “Ethiopia: Literature, Art, and Culture,” a special issue of Callaloo, a journal focused on the African Diaspora. He has three additional book projects underway: James Baldwin and the Art of Late-Style; the first English translation of Sebhat Gebre Egziabher’s 1966 Amharic novel The Seventh Angel; and a collection of lyric essays.

Woubshet has served as an associate editor of Callaloo and currently is on the editorial board of Transition, a magazine of Africa and the Diaspora. He’s held fellowships at the Institute of Ethiopian Studies at Addis Ababa University; the Modern Art Museum in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where he curated “Julie Mehretu: The Addis Show” (2016); Africa Institute in Sharjah, UAE (2020-21); and Civitella Ranieri, Italy (2022). Before joining the University of Pennsylvania, Woubshet taught at Cornell University.

The Kahn endowed term chairs were established through a bequest by Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn. Edmund Kahn was a 1925 Wharton graduate who had a successful career in the oil and natural gas industry. Louise Kahn, a graduate of Smith College, worked for Newsweek and owned an interior design firm. They supported many programs and projects at Penn, including Van Pelt Library, the Modern Languages College House, and other initiatives in scholarship and the humanities.


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