Provost Announces Penn Social Science and Policy Forum

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | jposey@upenn.edu | 215-898-6460March 20, 2012

PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania has launched the Penn Social Science and Policy Forum.  The announcement was made by Penn Provost Vincent Price.

Under the leadership of Thomas J. Sugrue, David Boies Professor of History and Sociology, the Forum will serve as a cross-University hub for scholarly research on key social, economic, legal and policy challenges confronting the United States and the world.  It will foster cutting-edge scholarship across the social sciences, connect Penn research to policymakers and opinion leaders and disseminate knowledge to diverse audiences through workshops, public lectures, annual conferences, working papers, scholarly articles, innovative courses and a series of books published by Penn Press. It will be administered by the School of Arts and Sciences.

“The Penn Social Science and Policy Forum will be an invaluable addition to Penn’s distinctive strengths in interdisciplinary research and intellectual collaboration,” Price said.  “We look forward to the significant impact it will make in the years ahead, not only here at Penn but also in advancing considerations of public policy around the world.”

The Forum builds on Penn’s commitment to integrating knowledge across the University and supporting engaged scholarship in the public interest.  It will focus on research areas in which Penn has significant strengths, bringing together faculty and students from a wide range of schools and departments, as well as attracting world-renowned scholars and policymakers to Penn to collaborate on interdisciplinary projects.   

It will coordinate its scholarship and public events around annual focus issues on key matters of public policy, such as the global financial crisis, immigration and citizenship, and new media and engagement.

“Penn has long been a leader in social scientific research on matters of public interest,” Sugrue said. “The Forum will build bridges across Penn’s schools and bring our scholarship and teaching to bear on the most pressing issues of our time.”

A specialist in 20th-century American politics, urban policy and civil rights, Sugrue is the author most recently of Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race (Princeton University Press, 2010) and Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (Random House, 2008).  His first book, The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton University Press, 1996), won the Bancroft Prize in American History, the Philip Taft Prize in Labor History, the President's Book Award of the Social Science History Association and the Urban History Association Award for Best Book in North American Urban History.  

He has held fellowships from the Brookings Institution, Social Science Research Council and Guggenheim Foundation, among others.

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