School of Arts & Sciences

James Primosch continues to compose during COVID

The professor of music, who won an award and released two new albums during the pandemic, discusses composition, text as music, and embracing electronic music in the absence of concert halls.

Susan Ahlborn

Russia, bounties, and the U.S. elections

Amid allegations of Russian bounties on U.S. soldiers and of hackers trying to steal vaccine research, Penn Today spoke to two experts to get their take and how the developments play into the U.S. presidential election cycle.

Kristen de Groot

Cancel culture on the silver screen

Iconic films like the 1939 blockbuster “Gone With the Wind” are being scrutinized in light of the Black Lives Matter movement against racial injustice. Cinema studies’ Meta Mazaj says framing films within context is more valuable than erasure and disclaimers.

Louisa Shepard



In the News


ABC Australia

Are very long-lived trees immortal and what can they teach humans?

Brenda Casper of the School of Arts & Sciences said it’s hard to measure age-related deterioration in trees that are older than 1,000 years. “It’s not just internal physiology per se but it’s the interaction of the tree with its environment,” she said.

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The New York Times

Massachusetts court won’t use term ‘grandfathering,’ citing its racist origins

Nicole Holliday of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the phasing out of words with direct links to slavery, such as “grandfathering.” “This is the legal system, and there are wrongs to be righted,” she said.

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Philadelphia Inquirer

Is the word ‘picnic’ racist? How to deal with questions about language right now

Nicole Holliday of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about avoiding offensive nomenclature. “The default should be whatever that person wants to be called,” she said.

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WHYY (Philadelphia)

Frustration and misunderstanding: For deaf folks, masking can cause communication barriers

Jami Fisher of the School of Arts & Sciences weighed in on how face masks can make communication difficult for deaf and hard-of-hearing people. “ASL (and other sign languages) rely on facial cues and other non-manual features to convey grammatical information as well as emotive expression,” she said. “With much of the face covered, this information is lost, as is a lot of the meaning.”

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NBC Philadelphia

‘Reassurance that future is better’: What Americans want from leaders

Ian Lustick of the School of Arts & Sciences was interviewed about U.S. politics and economics. Americans are looking to political leaders for “reassurance that the future will be better than the present,” he said.

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