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On the heels of an election that revealed deep divisions in our society, one thing that most can agree on is the urgent need for respectful, open discussion on the issues that divide us. In a special series of programs this winter and spring, Penn Arts and Sciences will work to promote the necessary conversations. This site highlights events and other opportunities to engage as a community to consider issues in our democratic society, along with contributions from our faculty and videos and other content to help spread the dialogue across campus and beyond.



Trump, Philosophy, and American Politics: Philosophical Implications of the 45th Presidency (Full Event Video)

Penn conference brought together scholars to discuss issues raised by the election, the transition of power, and the new presidential administration.

Protests, Confusion For Executive Order On Refugees

Ian Lustick, the Bess W. Heyman Professor, discusses President Donald Trump’s executive order on refugees on NPR’s On Point podcast.

Fels Institute of Government Launches Inclusive Public Leadership Series

The Fels Institute of Government is pleased to announce the launch of a new Inclusive Public Leadership series. On Wednesday, January 25th, the event series kicked off with a workshop focused on how to understand and influence the legislative process.

Trump’s Election Doesn’t Mean Americans Are More Opposed To Immigration

Daniel Hopkins, associate professor of political science, authors an op-ed on public opinion on immigration.

OMNIA Q&A: Making a Mockery

Ralph Rosen, Vartan Gregorian Professor of the Humanities, on satire, from ancient Greece to “Saturday Night Live.”

It's Time to Get Russia's Strategy Straight

Kevin M. F. Platt of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures blogs about Russia, election hacking, and conspiracy theory for The Huffington Post.


 Penn Program in Environmental Humanities Launches Project to Protect Vulnerable Climate Change Research

Making Multicultural Democracy Work in the Trump Years

A panel discussion with a Q&A session.

Faculty Opinion: Stephen Bannon and the Old/New Anti-Semitism

Amy Kaplan, Edward G. Kane Professor of English, authors an op-ed.

Daniel Hopkins on the Rise of Anti-Immigration Politics

Political scientist Daniel Hopkins talks about how immigration played out in the election in this podcast.

Knowledge by the Slice: Election 2016: What Just Happened?

A panel of political scientists discuss election night.

Faculty Q&A: Confronting Islamophobia

A conversation with Jamal J. Elias, Walter H. Annenberg Professor in the Humanities and scholar of Islamic thought, culture, and history.

The True Cost of Vote Buying and Selling

Mary Frances Berry, Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and professor of history and Africana studies, discusses her book, Five Dollars and a Pork Chop Sandwich: Vote Buying and the Corruption of Democracy.

Knowledge by the Slice: New Realities of Latin American Migration to the United States: Implications for Policy Discussions

Faculty Opinion: No, Trump Voters Were Not Irrational

Robert Kurzban, professor of psychology, addresses voter rationality.

Quechua Penn

A thriving Native-American language program makes Penn a Quechua hub.


Fear Inc.: Confronting Islamaphobia in America

Levin Family Dean’s Forum

Reza Aslan, Religion Scholar and Author

In a world where Muslim people are so often colored by one sweeping prejudicial brush, Reza Aslan’s principled and logical defense is a direly needed corrective. In a talk rich in historical and factual detail, he will deliver a wake-up call for North Americans to confront and abolish hatred and discrimination against Muslim people—otherwise known as Islamophobia. As the American Muslim population is predicted to more than double over the next two decades (from 2.6 million in 2010 to 6.2 million in 2030), eradicating Islamophobia for good should be first and foremost in the minds of everyone who dreams of a more peaceful, equitable world.

Thursday, February 23, 2017
4:30 p.m.
Penn Museum, Harrison Auditorium

Inglorious Comparisons

On the Uses and Abuses of Historical Analogy

In the pages of newspapers of record in the United States  and Europe, historical comparisons to current political events are flying thick and fast. The European history of the early twentieth century–in particular the rise of European fascism–has become an omnipresent simile. The Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures invites you to a series of discussions intended to test the merit of such inglorious comparisons and of historical analogy more broadly.

Roundtable Discussion:

Susan Buck-Morss
Distinguished Professor of Political Philosophy, CUNY Graduate Center

Susannah Heschel
Eli Black Professor of Jewish Studies, Dartmouth College

Jonathan Steinberg
Walter H. Annenberg Professor of Modern European History, Penn

Frank Trommler
Professor Emeritus of German, Penn

Thursday, February 23, 2017
5:00 p.m.
World Forum, Perry World House

Contact us at to notify us about additional programs that are open to the campus community or to the general public.

Proposals from Penn Arts and Sciences faculty, students, or staff members for additional events are welcome and can be submitted to

The Office of the Dean invites additional proposals to support pedagogical innovation and other programs directed at facilitating conversation in the classroom. Please submit suggestions to

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