William Walker’s Dark Destiny

Newly settled in Costa Rica, a recent alumnus investigates the legacy of “filibuster” William Walker M1843—largely forgotten in the US but still perhaps the most hated man in Central America.

The Virality Paradox

Damon Centola thinks the contemporary wisdom about how behavior spreads is missing something fundamental—and that may be why mindless trivialities crowd out civic engagement. Can anything be done? He has an idea or two.

Beyond the Binary

For 40 years, Mariette Pathy Allen GFA’65 has focused her camera on gender identity and expressions of gender. Through portraits of men who identified as crossdressers in the 1980s—and later, through photos of the transgender community and trans rights movement—she has shined a light on people who were often pushed to the margins of society. Some consider her the unofficial photographer of transgender life. But finding her place in the fine art world has been another story.

Power Play

Designer Stacey Bendet C’99 has built a global brand that is colorful, fun, and welcoming for women—and a fashion business strong enough to thrive in an unforgiving competitive environment.

Homecoming 2018

Photos from the festivities. Plus: A Decade of Arts at Homecoming and the Alumni Award of Merit and Creative Spirit Award Citations.

In Full Bloom

Four decades ago the hand-lettered program for Bloomers’ very first production declared that “the time has come to show that women can be funny, too.” Penn’s all-female musical comedy troupe has been proving it ever since.

Who is America?

GOP nativists have taken aim at a fundamental principle defining the American republic: birthright citizenship. Their legal rationale has an unlikely source: a liberal professor who totally opposes their aims. And that’s just where things start to get interesting with Constitutional law scholar Rogers Smith.

Wordsworth’s American Champion

Nearly two centuries ago, Penn professor Henry Hope Reed put William Wordsworth on America’s cultural map. More or less forgotten today (make that more), Reed was an impressive scholar whose enthusiasm for Wordsworth and English Romanticism helped shape the nation’s literary values.

Rush on the Mind

A focus on mental illness was a constant throughout the multi-faceted career of Benjamin Rush, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, prolific writer, longtime Penn faculty member, and the most prominent—and controversial—physician of his day.

Film for Social Change

Penn students from a variety of disciplines are learning the essentials of film storytelling and production while helping to give a voice to marginalized people and communities, from Philadelphia’s high schools to a refugee settlement in Kenya to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.

The Rigors of Success

New York’s Success Academy charter school network has been lionized for its sky-high test scores and robust curricular offerings—and decried for a rigidly disciplined school environment one opponent described as “abuse.” Opinions are just as divided on its combative and committed leader, Eva Moskowitz C’86. She’ll be happy to tell you who’s right.

Blockchain Fever

Cryptographic sorcery, entrepreneurial zeal, and utopian dreams have gripped a striking number of Penn students and alumni this year. Why are people so excited?

Our Love Affair with Movies

A movie producer and Class of ’68 alumnus recalls the cinematic passions of his senior year—and offers some advice on rekindling the romance for today’s audiences.

The Philosophical Composer

In the year of his centenary, a look back at the music and thought of American composer and Penn faculty member George Rochberg G’49, who first embraced 12-tone music and serialism and later rejected avant-garde styles as a form of “self-extinction.”