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.

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 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.”

An Odyssey for Our Time

Emily Wilson’s translation of Homer’s epic has become a surprise sensation, a once-in-a-generation transformation of how English readers encounter one of the most iconic characters in all of literature. Fellow classics professor (and Odyssey aficionado) Peter Struck has some questions for her.

Prophet of Prosperity

Simon Patten, who led the Wharton School during the Progressive Era, was a pioneer of the economics of abundance, theorist of the second industrial revolution, and intellectual godfather of the New Deal. His descent into obscurity poses provocative questions about how the field has evolved.