The Humanities Institute
Pennsylvania State University

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John Christman Professor of Philosophy, Political Science and Woman's Studies

Associate Director

Lauren Kooistra


Fall 2017 marked the Inaugural Year of the Humanities Institute, an outgrowth of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities which flourished at Penn State for the previous 50 years (1966-2016).  The IAH generated numerous important initiatives and partnerships, successfully developed faculty research projects, and produced the highest quality public events, lectures and performances, all of which gave Penn State international exposure as a premier location for art and scholarship. The Humanities Institute proudly inherits this legacy, and continues to build unique programs and public presence.

The Humanities Institute at Penn State is dedicated to supporting the generation and promotion of ideas in all aspects of the humanities and related disciplines.  We are committed to a collaborative and interdisciplinary spirit in supporting research projects at all levels of production and to help publicize the social value of humanities scholarship.  Through fellowship support, public lectures and conferences, workshops, and public outreach, we aim to support both Penn State faculty, other academics, and the wider public in ongoing discussion of the most pressing questions of our time.

The Institute serves as the central organizing hub for Penn State’s Humanities in the World initiative, an effort aimed at supporting humanities work throughout the university.  Investing significant new resources into the HI, this initiative will allow the expansion of existing programs and building new ones, all showcasing the social importance of the humanities.  These include an expanded program for visiting post-doctoral fellows, an invitation to senior visiting scholars, and continued production of the video series HumIn Focus.

The Institute also provides support for a wide variety of endeavors for the university community.  Faculty and Graduate Student Fellowships, workshop and conference sponsorships, lectures and public media are offered to support the efforts of faculty and students in discussions of the fundamental questions of the human condition.

The Institute for the Arts and Humanities offers two-year postdoctoral fellowships under the interdisciplinary "Being Humans" program. Please see the IAH website at for details.