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

Two Penn juniors named Truman Scholars

Two juniors, Annah Chollet and Camilo Duran, have received Harry S. Truman Scholarships, a merit-based award of as much as $30,000 for graduate or professional school to prepare for careers in public service.

Louisa Shepard , Aaron Olson

Tales of abuse from a ‘Dream House’

Carmen María Machado, who teaches speculative fiction as a writer in residence in the Creative Writing Program, has received extraordinary attention for her new memoir, “In the Dream House,” using multiple genres to describe an abusive relationship with her former girlfriend.

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

A 2021 Rhodes Scholar for Penn

May graduate Mackenzie Fierceton from St. Louis been awarded the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oxford in England. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and is currently completing her master’s degree in clinical social work.

Ron Ozio

In the News

The New York Times

A Thanksgiving myth debunked: People aren’t fighting about politics

Matthew Levendusky of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about how communication can bridge the divide between polarized political positions. In his 2016 study on the matter, Levendusky’s team “asked people where their position was, and where they thought the average Republican and Democratic positions were,” he said. “Basically, they thought the parties were twice as far apart as they are in reality, on a wide variety of issues.”


The New York Times

Ad council’s challenge: Persuade skeptics to believe in COVID vaccines

Research conducted by the Annenberg Public Policy Center’s Kathleen Hall Jamieson and postdocs Dominik Stecula and Ozan Kuru found that “a relatively high number of individuals are at least somewhat misinformed about vaccines,” due in part to exposure to anti-vaccine content on social media.


Philadelphia Inquirer

Thanksgiving 1918 took place during a deadly pandemic. What can it teach us for Thanksgiving 2020?

David Barnes of the School of Arts & Sciences spoke about the parallels between the flu pandemic of 1918 and the present pandemic. “It’s pretty clear [the Spanish flu] wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did or been as deadly if people had been keeping to themselves,” he said.


The Washington Post

GOP’s post-election tactics are causing more concern about suppressing the Black vote, even after it happened

Ebony Thomas of the Graduate School of Education said that Michigan Republicans’ effort to disqualify the votes of Black voters is part of a long history of disenfranchisement. “One of the reasons Detroit is so negatively stigmatized and why the city of Detroit is always used as a boogeyman by the far right and by white supremacists is because it was a city that wasn’t just majority Black but under Black political control.”


Enough with ‘both sides’! Faux-neutral journalism is no way to fight the truth-deniers

Victor Pickard of the Annenberg School for Communication spoke about corporate media’s reluctance to confront how their newsrooms covered the Trump era. “We must look seriously at the role they have played in normalizing fascistic politics—as well as the structural factors that cause these institutions to predictably fail in advancing democratic aims,” he said.