Second episode of WPSU-TV's 'HumIn Focus' examines immigration on Nov. 24

November 21, 2019

Immigration has been an issue that has confronted humankind for centuries. But is migration – moving in search of a better life – actually a normal part of the human condition? How have cultural and religious traditions shaped individual and collective viewpoints about immigration? What approaches used historically to address the issue are being used to shape immigration policy today?

Those are some of the questions addressed in “Making Home: Migration, Mobility, Hospitality," the second episode in the "HumIn Focus" series created by the Penn State Humanities Institute and produced by WPSU. WPSU-TV will air the episode at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24.

"HumIn Focus" advances the Humanities Institute’s broader effort to showcase the social value of humanities research and to create conversations between humanities scholars and members of the community on topics of pressing social importance, notes Institute Director John Christman, professor of philosophy, political science, and women’s studies.

“We want to spark meaningful dialogue about the fundamental issues and questions shaping society today, and highlight the work being done by Penn State humanities scholars to address those issues,” Christman said. “And we wanted to do so in a way that was interesting, visually appealing, and dynamic.”

Matt Jordan, associate professor of media studies at Penn State and executive producer of the television series, says immigration was an issue perfectly suited to be addressed by the series.

“Immigration is a topic very much at the center of our present culture, but the ongoing conversation about immigration and borders has a rich history,” Jordan said. “As we worked together with our humanities scholars and learned from their research, we became very interested in how xenophobic language that dates back to the time of the Bible and ancient Greece seems to get recycled in the present. This guided our sense of perspective as we crafted the episode.”

“We wanted to reflect on immigration against the larger backdrop of the migration of people generally, and the tradition of hospitality that often accompanies that phenomenon,” Christman added.  “Through this episode of 'HumIn Focus,' our humanities scholars in the Penn State community can help us explore this issue with greater depth and a broader perspective.”

A longer version of the current “HumIn Focus on Immigration” episode as well as the previous episode, “HumIn Focus on Confederate Monuments,” are available online at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated December 05, 2019