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Annual Topics

Penn Humanities Forum on Translation

Translation. Rendition. Revision. Rip Off. Where does one end and the next begin—and who draws the lines? Is translation inevitably an impertinence, a breach of faith with the original? Or is a translation an original in its own right? Join us for the 2016–2017 Forum on Translation as we consider the restlessness of human remaking across languages, cultures, historical periods, and systems of knowledge.

Public Events

NOTE: The ten original Rorschach test inkblot images have passed into the public domain; their use therefore is free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

Topics Archive

Humanities at Large

University of Pennsylvania, College Hall

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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.

Fellowship Opportunities

Each year, the Wolf Humanities Center provides fellowships for Penn students, Penn and regional faculty, and postdoctoral scholars interested in conducting research related to the annual topic. As part of their research, all fellows participate in the Forum's interdisciplinary seminars, conferences, and cultural events.

2017-2018 Fellows

Fellowship opportunities for the 2018–2019 Forum on Stuff are available in the following five categories:

  • Mellon Postdoctoral (Deadline: October 15, 2017)
  • Penn Faculty* 
  • Regional Faculty*
  • Penn Graduate Students*
  • Penn Undergraduate Students*

*Calls for applications open Fall 2017.

For fellowship opportunities in digital humanities, please visit the Price Lab for Digital Humanities website.

About Us

Penn Humanities Forum

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 our "Humanities at Large" university and cultural collaborations and our launching through the Digital Humanities Forum of what is now our sister center, the Price Lab for Digital Humanities—invite people of all ages and places to discover with us our common stake in the "thinking arts."