Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences

The making of tomorrow’s voters

There were only 11 days left in Philadelphia’s contentious mayoral race. The entire Philadelphia media scrum had descended on a small classroom at Olney High School.

Elaine Wilner

New Leadership and a New Affiliation for Penn's Fels Center of Government

PHILADELPHIA - Samuel H. Preston, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, has named leading criminologist Lawrence W. Sherman as the new Director of the Fels Center of Government. Sherman will also be appointed the Albert M. Greenfield Professor of Human Relations in the Department of Sociology.

Elaine Wilner

Seeing, hearing, and encountering post-apartheid South Africa

A Penn Global Seminar course taught by Carol Muller took the 16 undergraduates to South Africa to explore that nation's history and post-apartheid present day through music and culture. The students demonstrated the impact of the journey through final projects including a painting, a written paper, a poem, a film, a photo essay, a musical score—even a set of political cartoons.

Louisa Shepard

And the Oscar goes to…

Excellent writing is evident in many of the films nominated for Academy Awards this year, with several edgy alternative films sharing major categories with mainstream blockbusters, says Penn’s Timothy Corrigan, a professor of English and cinema and media studies.

Louisa Shepard

Americans’ civics knowledge increases but still has a long way to go

The past few years have seen contention between Congress and the president over budgets and immigration, disputes over the limits of executive power, contested confirmation hearings for two Supreme Court justices, and lawsuits involving members of Congress and the president.

Penn Today Staff

A Quarter-century of Community Partnerships

Glen Casey will be the first to admit it: He wasn’t the perfect student in high school. “I was always doing the dumbest things; getting into fights, getting arrested,” he says. A student then at University City High, Casey failed ninth grade, and barely passed 10th. “I just really wasn’t into school,” he says.

In the News


What to know about the origins of ‘left’ and ‘right’ in politics, from the French Revolution to the 2020 presidential race

Sophia Rosenfeld and Brent Cebul of the School of Arts and Sciences spoke about the use of “left” and “right” in political discourse. The terms began as “literal descriptions,” said Rosenfeld, of the seating patterns in 18th-century France’s post-revolution National Assembly.


The New York Times

Should the government give everyone $1,000 a month?

Ioana Marinescu of the School of Social Policy & Practice was quoted for her defense of universal basic income, which some have claimed would create an unmotivated workforce. “It reduces the number of hours individuals work but not the total number of people classified as employed,” she said.


The Washington Post

Expect the new Italian government to be as short-lived as the last one. Here’s why

Julia Lynch of the School of Arts and Sciences co-wrote an analysis of the state of Italian politics. While Matteo Salvini, “right-wing nationalist” and former deputy prime minister and interior minister, has been ousted from the Italian government, Lynch and her co-author believe “Salvini may be back soon, stronger than before.”


The New York Times

How John Bolton broke the National Security Council

John Gans of Perry World House wrote an opinion piece about John Bolton’s tenure as national security advisor, which ended this week. “Mr. Bolton’s most lasting legacy will be dismantling the structure that has kept American foreign policy from collapsing into chaos, and finally unshackling an irregular commander-in-chief,” Gans wrote.


The Conversation

Here’s what happens when political bubbles collide

Joshua Plotkin of the School of Arts and Sciences co-authored an article about information gerrymandering and its consequences for democracy. “What we show in our study, mathematically and empirically, is that a party’s influence on a social network can be broken up, in a way analogous to electoral gerrymandering of congressional districts,” he writes.