PHF's Digital Humanities Forum promotes new work in the humanities at Penn involving digital materials and computational tools. Hear from experts, debate the trends, and consider alternatives through events and funding opportunities that showcase the best in digital humanities research and teaching.
Sex is a more elusive topic than we tend to imagine. Is it a biological drive or a product of human culture? Is it the most private aspect of our lives, or the basis of our entire social and political system? Is the real purpose of sex merely to reproduce the species, or to provide the gateway to a higher realm of sensual, aesthetic, and affective experiences? During the 2015–2016 Forum on Sex, we will challenge taken-for-granted assumptions about what sex is and what it means. Join us in a spirit of exploration and discovery!
• Topic Director: Heather Love
Online preservation, digital mapping, data mining, geographic information systems, and other computer technologies not dominated by the written word are reshaping how the humanities are being studied and taught. Once solitary practices are becoming more team-based, creating exciting opportunities for global communities of experts to work across old lines of division. PHF's Digital Humanities Forum was established in 2012 to promote innovative digital research at Penn. Hear from experts, debate the trends, and study alternatives through DHF symposia, workshops, training grants, project incubation support, and other activities.
Humanities at Large programs are collaborations that go beyond the Forum’s annual topic, showcasing events and people on campus and off who are making important contributions to our understanding of human culture. One such effort is the Forum's partnership with the Chicago Humanities Festival, which began in 2012 with Penn Provost Ezekial Emanuel speaking on The Ethics of American Health Care. Other collaborations have featured the award-winning cartoonist Alison Bechdel, the premiere of the comic opera Biennale at Philadelphia's Barnes Foundation, and HAIKU, an international conference on the role of the humanities within the creative research university.
Each year, the Penn Humanities Forum provides fellowships for Penn students, Penn and regional faculty, and postdoctoral scholars interested in conducting research related to the Forum's theme. As part of their research, all fellows participate in the Forum's rich program of interdisciplinary seminars (biweekly for students, weekly for faculty and postdoctoral scholars), as well as cultural events and conferences.
Call for Applications
At the inaugural ceremony of the Penn Humanities Forum in February 1999, William Ferris, then Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, called the humanities “the intellectual air we breathe, the cultural sea we swim in. It is where humankind’s best insights into our values, traditions, and ideals can be found.”
The Penn Humanities Forum is charged with taking a fresh look at those insights that touch on the human experience. Our goals are to demonstrate how vital the humanities are to the life of the mind and the health of society, and how the humanities are connected with many areas of inquiry in medicine, law, business, and the social sciences.
Annual topic-based programs and broader initiatives, such as the Digital Humanities Forum and many "Humanities at Large" university and cultural collaborations, invite people of all ages and places to discover with us our common stake in the "thinking arts."