In the spring of 2013, the semester-long lecture series Embodying the Avant-garde: Corporeal Visions in Spain and Italy officially launched the Forum. The lecture series explored the manner in which the historical Avant-garde movements in Spain and Italy theorized, problematized, and thoroughly engaged with the body as a bearer of aesthetic, sociopolitical, poetic, or symbolic value. The lecture series was organized in collaboration with the Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese and the Pennsylvania State University Libraries, and all the lectures were given in Foster Auditorium. The speakers included Prof. Lucia Re from UCLA (title of lecture: “War, Women, Sexuality and the Body in the Futurist Avant-Garde”), Prof Shirley Mangini from Cal State, Long Beach (title of lecture: “The Gender Games: The Life and Art of Maruja Mallo”) and Prof. Luca Somigli, University of Toronto (title of lecture: “Nature and the Madman: Modernism and Mysticism in Pirandello’s Fiction”). Unfortunately, our fourth invitee – Prof. Brad Epps, University of Cambridge – had to cancel his visit.