Frontiers - Art

  • September 2009

    The Views from Down Here

    Philosopher Ryan Muldoon discusses how a diversity of perspectives can lead to more just societies.

    Recent doctoral graduate Ryan Muldoon chose his dissertation topic partly in response to what he saw as a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States and Europe.

  • September 2009

    Science Fiction and Philosophy

    Philosopher Susan Schneider's new book examines age-old philosophical puzzles through the lens of science fiction.

    Imagine you inhabit a world, three centuries from now, in which advances in biology and technology allow human beings to ‘upgrade’ their brains to become superintelligent beings. You choose to resist these neural enhancements, but you are conflicted about your decision.

  • September 2009

    The True History of Tea

    In his new book, Sinologist Victor Mair explores tea's history and its impact on world history.

    “What would the world do without tea?” asked the 19th-century essayist and Anglican clergyman Sidney Smith. The question was rhetorical, expressing his love of tea and its place in English life.

  • August 2009

    Getting Inside the Story

    College senior Joshua Bennett mines the richness of spoken word poetry.

    For as long as he can remember, Joshua Bennett, C’10, has been drawn to the art of the spoken word.

  • June 2009

    Troubled Homecoming

    Historian Thomas Childers explores the complicated reality of the Greatest Generation's return from World War II.

    Tom Brokaw’s popular book, The Greatest Generation, suggests that survivors among the 16 million Americans who fought in World War II came home and “joined in joyous and short-lived celebrations, then immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted.” The reality historian

  • June 2009

    Post-Crash Poetry and Prose

    English scholar Peter Conn presents a literary history of the American 1930s.

    A new book by Peter Conn, Professor of English, argues against the assumption that the Depression decade was characterized culturally by leftist politics and aesthetics.

  • May 2009

    Political Underground Railroad

    A new book by historian Steven Hahn takes up the hidden history of African American politics and the politics of writing history.

    When Steven Hahn, the Roy F. and Jeannette P.

  • April 2009

    Loathly Lady Live

    English scholar Wendy Steiner places enduring characters in new conversations at the cusp between opera and musical theater.

    On April 1 the Penn Humanities Forum celebrated the close of its 10th anniversary year with the world premiere of an original, sung-through comic opera inspired by Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale.” Described by librettist and Richard L.

  • March 2009

    When We Were Gross

    Historian Kathleen Brown's new book examines the evolution of body care in early America.

    Frequenting the aisles of American drugstores, one becomes accustomed to the seemingly perpetual rollouts of new beauty and hygiene products—from foot creams to pore strips to “highlight-activating” shampoos—all promising to address our many and varied bodily concerns. Compared to even our most recent ancestors, we are a scrubbed and polished people.

  • February 2009

    Commission Work

    Historian Mary Frances Berry’s new book looks back to ready readers for the next chapter in American civil rights.

    When asked by publishers if she’d be interested in writing a memoir about her years as a member and chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Mary Frances Berry declined. “People are always writing memoirs,” she says, “and sometimes I think it’s pretentious.