- Jan 28, 2014
- Title TBA, Babak Soleimany
Part of the Cities: Tehran Lecture Series
- Feb 20, 2014
- ʺWhat a Spectacle:ʺ Cosmopolitan Tehran and Cinematic Imaginaries in the Twentieth Centuryʺ,Golbarg Rekabtalaei
Part of the Cities: Tehran Lecture Series
- Mar 18, 2014
- ʺGet Big or Get Out: Nature, Food and Power in America, 1945-1995.ʺ, Bryan McDonald
Part of the Resident Scholars and Artists Lecture Series
- →View All Upcoming Events and Details
Letter from the Director
2013-14 will be an exciting year at the Institute for the Arts and Humanities. The big news is that we are welcoming two extraordinary young scholars as IAH Postdoctoral Fellows, Craig Eley (University of Iowa, American Studies) and Ida Meftahi (University of Toronto, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations). Dr. Eley’s project, “Hearing Humans Hearing Nature,” is on the history of recorded nature sounds, and Dr. Meftahi’s, “Body National in Motion: The Biopolitics of Dance in Twentieth Century Iran,” offers an account of the remarkable transformations in the Iranian body politic and the politics of the body. Both projects are fascinatingly interdisciplinary, and we hope they will spark interest among faculty and graduate students in both the College of the Liberal Arts and the College of Arts and Architecture. (A more detailed description of their projects can be found on our Fellows page).
We are joined by a new Assistant Director, as well: Lauren Kooistra, who has just completed her Ph.D. thesis in Music, “The Experiences of Two Young Children in Informal Piano Settings: Expressions of Meaning and Value.” Dr. Kooistra’s study sought insight into the ways that children engage in a piano lesson setting designed on principles of informal and child-oriented learning. And we have a new Digital Content and Social Media Manager, Sarah Abu Bakr; Sarah, who is both Palestinian and Kuwaiti, is an MFA Graduate from Goldsmiths, University of London, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate for a dual degree in Art Education and Women's Studies.
Our marquee event will once again be the IAH Medal ceremony. This year we are honoring Patti Smith, the legendary musician, artist, poet, photographer, and memoirist. Ms. Smith has previously received awards such as her inclusion in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French Ministry of Culture, an honorary doctorate in Fine Arts from Pratt Institute, and a National Book Award for her memoir Just Kids. In 2007 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On October 15, 2013 the IAH will host “An Evening With Patti Smith” at the Eisenhower Auditorium. After a brief ceremony to present her with the IAH Medal, Ms. Smith will offer a solo performance of her music. Tickets for this performance are $15 for University Park students (thanks to a generous contribution from UPAC), $35 for general admission.
October will be a very busy month: we will also be hosting “Uncanny October,” a series of events on the theme of the uncanny, or the familiar made strange. One aspect of Uncanny October will be a one-credit course that takes seriously the intellectual possibilities for studying everything from ghosts to flying saucers and psychological phenomena; the idea is to ask not only what makes something uncanny, but also how we can try to make sense of it, and what our engagement with the uncanny might say about being human. In addition to regular lectures, roundtable discussions, and an art exhibition curated by the Palmer Museum, “Uncanny October” will feature a live performance of Brent Green’s film (with live musical and spoken accompaniment) of Gravity Was Everywhere Back Then (Schwab Auditorium, Thursday, October 17, 7:30) as well as a series of films, most of which will be shown in Palmer Auditorium Wednesdays at 7 and again on Saturdays at 11 am:
Spirited Away (Hayao Miyazaki, 2001) October 3 at the State Theatre (4 pm, 7 pm, 10 pm)
Alice (Jan Svankmajer, 1988) October 9, 12 (Palmer)
Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale (Jalmari Helander, 2010) October 16, 19 (Palmer)
Trouble Every Day (Claire Denis, 2001) October 23, 26 (Palmer)
The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980) October 30 (Palmer)
The events are coordinated by Jonathan Eburne (Comparative Literature and English) and Greg Eghigian (History).
We are launching a new program this year, a Conference Support initiative dedicated solely to providing funds and consultation for the planning of interdisciplinary conferences. The deadline for applications– for conferences taking place in 2014-15– will be November 11, 2013.
Last but not least, we have some important news about internal matters: for the first time, we are awarding graduate student residencies throughout the year, not just in the summer. Until this year, we offered eight residencies in the summer months; beginning in 2013-14, we are expanding that program to twelve residencies, to be offered in fall, spring, and summer. We hope and expect that this program change will allow Penn State graduate students to interact more substantially with our Resident Scholars and Artists and our Postdoctoral Fellows– and to participate more fully in our academic-year programming as well. In 2013-14, our inaugural IAH Graduate Semester Residents are Karen Henrique (Architecture), Andre La Velle (Music), Christopher Oechler (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese), Neha Parkar (Architecture), Sandra Rousseau (French), William Saas (Communication Arts and Sciences), Frank Stec (Communication Arts and Sciences), Katie Vater (Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese), and Hongyan Xiang (History). Congratulations to all of you, and welcome.
And, of course, our Postdoctoral Fellows and our Resident Scholars and Artists will be presenting their groundbreaking research throughout the year– this time in a new presentation venue, 127 Moore, a state-of-the-art facility. (Lunch is always provided.) Come join us for another terrific year of IAH programming, and help us spread the word about the arts and humanities at Penn State!
Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature
Director, Institute for the Arts and Humanities
Pennsylvania State University
What does it mean, and what has it meant, to be human? What might "the human" mean in the foreseeable and unforeseeable future? These are the questions that animate the arts and humanities– and that will define the work of Penn State's Institute for the Arts and Humanities. Beginning in 2010-11, the Institute will offer programming devoted to exploring the question of "the human" from all angles.
For artists and humanists, these are extraordinary times: as the fate of our planet hangs in the balance, our sense of "the human" is undergoing remarkable challenges and transformations. How should we understand our relation to animal cognition, to artificial intelligence, to the biosphere, to disability, to prostheses, to genetics? What role can we imagine for the arts and humanities in the era of the Anthropocene, when the distinction between culture and nature is being eroded by human cultures that are transforming nature? Can we imagine a form of humanism in which the boundaries of the human are unclear and unstable? Artists, performers, and humanists must be central to these debates– and to every deliberation of what it means to be human.