Penn Arts & Sciences

The University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences forms the foundation of the scholarly excellence that has established Penn as one of the world's leading research universities. We teach students across all 12 Penn schools, and our academic departments span the reach from anthropology and biology to sociology and South Asian studies.

Members of the Penn Arts & Sciences faculty are leaders in creating new knowledge in their disciplines and are engaged in nearly every area of interdisciplinary innovation. They are regularly recognized with academia's highest honors, including membership in prestigious societies like the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, as well as significant prizes such as MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships.

The educational experience offered by Penn Arts & Sciences is likewise recognized for its excellence. The School's three educational divisions fulfill different missions, united by a broader commitment to providing our students with an unrivaled education in the liberal arts. The College of Arts and Sciences is the academic home of the majority of Penn undergraduates and provides 60 percent of the courses taken by students in Penn's undergraduate professional schools. The Graduate Division offers doctoral training to over 1,300 candidates in more than 30 graduate programs. And the College of Liberal and Professional Studies provides a range of educational opportunities for lifelong learners and working professionals.


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Now showing 1 - 10 of 705
  • Publication
    (2020-12-01) Mehra, Richa
  • Publication
    Estimating the Effects of Educational System Consolidation: The Case of China’s Rural School Closure Initiative
    (2021-10-01) Hannum, Emily; Liu, Xiaoying; Wang, Fan
    Global trends of fertility decline, population aging, and rural outmigration are creating pressures to consolidate school systems, with the rationale that economies of scale will enable higher quality education to be delivered in an efficient manner, despite longer travel distances for students. Yet, few studies have considered the implications of system consolidation for educational access and inequality, outside of the context of developed countries. We estimate the impact of educational infrastructure consolidation on educational attainment using the case of China’s rural primary school closure policies in the early 2000s. We use data from a large household survey covering 728 villages in 7 provinces, and exploit variation in villages’ year of school closure and children’s ages at closure to identify the causal impact of school closure. For girls exposed to closure during their primary school ages, we find an average decrease of 0.60 years of schooling by 2011, when children’s mean age was 17 years old. Negative effects strengthen with time since closure. For boys, there is no corresponding significant effect. Different effects by gender may be related to greater sensitivity of girls’ enrollment to distance and greater responsiveness of boys’ enrollment to quality.
  • Publication
    Micromoments Matter: Finding Agency and Connection Through a Micromoments Mindset
    (2020-08-01) Chou, Cindy; Masters, Amanda J
    As humans, our tendency is to reduce uncertainty, leading us to want to hold things still rather than accept the inevitable change that comes (Langer, 2009). However, psychological and behavioral attempts to do so can result in clinging to outdated and erroneous information, limiting our perspectives and narrowing opportunities for meaningful choice. In this paper, we merge Western psychology and Eastern wisdom traditions and build upon conceptions of mindfulness from both perspectives, to present our theory of the micromoments mindset as a tool for well-being. We define a micromoment as both the instant opening into conscious awareness of the present moment, as well as the brief stretch of experience that follows, until awareness recedes. A micromoments mindset is the cognitive prioritization toward these openings. It serves as both an entryway into mindfulness and the experience of being more mindful within the micromoment. We argue that tapping into micromoments throughout our days can facilitate factors of well-being, particularly agency and connection, so that we have more tools for living with intention in the world of uncertainty and flux in which we find ourselves. We also present the PEACE framework for optimizing well-being within micromoments.
  • Publication
    The Resistance
    (2021-01-10) Goldfarb, Sarah
  • Publication
    Dante as Orpheus: Georgics 4 and Inferno 5
    (2021-12-12) West, Kevin R.
    Critics have long struggled to explain the apparent contradiction between Inferno 5.31, where the violent winds of the second circle of hell are said never to rest, and Inferno 5.96, where the wind is calm while Dante speaks with Francesca da Rimini. I argue that the winds calm specifically because they also calm when Orpheus visits the underworld in search of Eurydice in Georgics 4. With this briefest of allusions Dante fashions himself as another Orpheus, a poet whose art can soothe hell itself, into which he has dared (as a character) to descend.
  • Publication
    Characterization of Genomic Variation Related to Hair and Skin Phenotypes in the Khoesan Speakers of Southern Africa
    (2023-04-26) Da Costa, Nicole G.
    The Khoesan speakers are indigenous peoples in southern Africa, consisting of many different ethnic groups that do not speak Bantu languages. They are foragers with a complex history: they descended from the earliest diversification event for Homo sapiens, interacted with neighboring populations through migrations, and grappled with colonization. To investigate the Khoesan’s adaptation to their local environment, we analyzed genomic variations of Khoesan individuals with scans of natural selection, and identified variants that may be targets of selection in the Keratin (KRT) gene family. We examined a potential regulatory variant in KRT78, rs7307165, and conducted a dual luciferase reporter assay to determine if rs7307165 influenced gene expression. Results showed rs7307165 significantly affected enhancer activity in keratinocytes for KRT78. Missense mutations in KRT74 and KRT71 were also identified and appear to be compelling candidates for a mouse model experiment. Studying genetic variation in the Khoesan and other African populations can help us better understand human health, adaptation to local environments, and human history.
  • Publication
    The Lack of Full Pro Drop as a Consequence of Featural Overspecification
    (2022-11-18) Koeneman, Olaf; Zeijlstra, Hedde
    Despite the enormous attention that pro drop has received in the linguistic literature, there is no generally accepted answer to the question why relatively rich Germanic languages do not have argumental null subjects, neither is there a fundamental answer to the question why English would not allow them in at least 3SG contexts, where the agreement marker uniquely identifies the features of the unexpressed subject, just like in Italian. We argue that a closer inspection of the Germanic languages reveals that tense and agreement are expressed mono-morphemically, whereas Romance pro drop languages have distinct morphemes for tense and agreement. This allows us to postulate that the lack of pro drop in Germanic languages is a consequence of overspecification: the presence of the tense features makes licensing of a null subject impossible. Germanic variants that have partial pro drop, such as Frisian and Bavarian German, can be naturally accommodated in our approach by reference to complementizer agreement.
  • Publication
    An Overview of Positive Economic Rights in American Political Thought
    (2022-01-01) Ryan, Noah
    Positive economic rights are entitlements an individual has for the state to provide for their basic needs. Though codified in international law, the existence of such rights remains deeply controversial in the United States. This thesis will explore the concept of positive economic rights throughout American history, beginning in the Colonial Period and ending with the recent revival of positive economic rights discourse since Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. The thesis will explore political literature related to positive rights, state duties to the poor, and positive liberty—a concept frequently invoked by advocates for positive economic rights. Through political literary analysis, I will argue that while the concept of state duties to the poor spans the full duration of American history, the framing of such duties in terms of individual rights is largely a product of the New Deal Era. The thesis will also explore arguments against positive economic rights, which began to intensify during the late 1960s. Though positive economic rights receded to the fringes of American discourse during the Reagan years, support for these rights appears to be making a comeback.