News and Events

Senior Honors Thesis Presentations

Senior Honors Thesis Presentations

April 10 & 17, 2014
2p.m. to 3:30p.m.
Ide Memorial Commons Room

Join the Department of English for the Senior Honors Thesis Presentations. Click here for a schedule of presentations.

Save the Date: April 14, 2014

Save the Date: April 14, 2014

T.C. Boyle Reading and Author Talk
Monday, April 14, 2014
Mudd Hall of Philosophy 101

Join us for a reading and author talk with USC Artist-in-Residence and author T.C. Boyle!

Reading and author talk open to the public. Book signing to follow.

"Few authors write with such sheer love of story and language as T.C. Boyle, and that is nowhere more evident than in his inventive, wickedly funny, and always entertaining short stories... By turns mythic and realistic, farcical and tragic, ironic and moving, Boyle's stories have mapped a wide range of human emotions." (from, for T.C. Boyle Stories II)

Call for entries: 13th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Arts & Humanities

Call for papers
Submission/Proposal Deadline: August 15th, 2014
Conference dates: January 10-13, 2015
in Honolulu, Hawaii

For full conference details, visit the website at

Whose Life Is It Anyway? Approaches to Writing the Memoir

Whose Life Is It Anyway? Approaches to Writing the Memoir

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Mudd Hall of Philosophy 101

Event is free and open to the public. Reception to follow. RSVP to

Conference on Energies: Through the Material, Theoretical & Textual

Conference on Energies: Through the Material, Theoretical & Textual

March 28 & 29, 2014

Our conference schedule is now up! Please go to our website for further info:

Keynote speakers: Roxane Gay and Ursula Heise

All are in the Tutor Campus Center (TCC) save for The Loudest Voice event

Hosted by the Association of English Graduate Students

Book talk: Hilary Schor, "Curious Subjects"

Book talk: Hilary Schor, "Curious Subjects"

Wednesday, April 9
Law School Faculty Lounge

The Center for Law, History and Culture is thrilled to announce a panel discussion of Hilary Schor, Curious Subjects: Women and The Trials of Realism, on Wednesday, April 9, 12-2 pm, in the Law School Faculty Lounge (rm. 433).  The commentators will be Sarah Raff, Associate Professor of English, Pomona College; Catherine Gallagher, Eggers Professor of English Literature, UC Berkeley; and Norman Spaulding, Sweitzer Professor of Law, Stanford Law School. Nomi Stolzenberg of USC Law will moderate. We look forward to seeing you all there! Chapters for discussion will be circulated soon. 

Please RSVP to or 213-821-1239; lunch will be served.

Save the Date: March 27th, 2014

Save the Date: March 27th, 2014

28th Annual Magill Poetry reading: Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa
Thursday, March 27th, 2014
4:00p.m. (time changed from 4:30p.m.)
Mudd Hall of Philosophy 101

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Yusef Komunyakaa (born April 29, 1947) is an American poet who teaches at New York University and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. Komunyakaa is a recipient of the 1994 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, for "Neon Vernacular," and the 1994 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. He also received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. Komunyakaa received the 2007 Louisiana Writer Award for his enduring contribution to the poetry world.

His subject matter ranges from the black general experience through rural Southern life before the Civil Rights time period and his experience as a soldier during the Vietnam War.
(from Wikipedia)

Percival Everett finalist for PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Percival Everett finalist for PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Distinguished Professor of English Percival Everett has been named a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He was nominated for his novel Percival Everett by Virgil Russell, and the winner will be announced on April 2, 2014.

Read the Daily Trojan article here.

Read more about the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction here.

Read "Finding Billy White Feather" at VQR Online here.

Call for Entries: USC Libraries 10th Annual Wonderland Award

Call for Entries: USC Libraries 10th Annual Wonderland Award

The USC Libraries Wonderland Award is accepting submissions for the 10th Annual event now until the deadline of April 1, 2014.

Winners will be announced at an award reception in Doheny Library on April 17, 2014 at 7p.m.

The Wonderland Award is an annual multidisciplinary competition that encourages new scholarship and creative work related to Lewis Carroll (1832-1898). The award was established in 2004 with the sponsorship of Linda Cassady.

The first award was made in spring 2005; speaking at that event was the great-granddaughter of Alice, Vanessa St. Clair. Since then, there have been more than 300 student submissions and the success of the program prompted USC to open the competition to students from other Southern California colleges and universities.

Information about how to submit is available at the USC Libraries website.

"Diverse Issues in Higher Education" features Dennis Austin Britton, former USC undergrad, and Heather James, Associate Professor of English at USC.

Scholar Poised to Introduce Intersection Between Race, Modern English

Category: Black Issues,Featured |

 by Ronald RoachDennis Britton

Dennis Britton

 With the publication of his first book, set for April 2014, Dr. Dennis Austin Britton is poised to bring the English literature research that he has labored on since graduate school to a wider public audience. The book, Becoming Christian: Race, Reformation, and Early Modern English Romance, has been described as “an exciting study that offers a theological account of race and racialization” in early modern England.

 “In the book I was able to draw together many of my previous interests in a more precise way,” says Britton, a University of New Hampshire associate professor of English. “I’ve always been interested in issues of race and religion and in theology.”

 For Britton, the publication of Becoming Christian will mark the latest in a series of noteworthy early career achievements by the recently tenured scholar. Since gaining tenure during the 2012-13 academic year, the scholar has reached new heights by winning an Excellence in Teaching award from the University of New Hampshire (UNH) this past fall.

 In addition, Britton recently completed a year-long National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. The fellowship helped him finish the research for his forthcoming book.

 Without a doubt, years of hard work and persistence have positioned Britton as a bright star in the highly competitive and crowded ranks of English literature scholars. Nonetheless, he credits his journey as a scholar to the guidance he received from one of his undergraduate professors at the University of Southern California.

 As a youngster growing up in a middle-class suburban community just east of Los Angeles, Britton had been a good student whose parents had naturally expected him to complete college and become a professional. “I had grown up with a love of reading and learning,” he says, noting that he is the oldest of three sons in his family. The idea, however, of becoming a university English professor was something Britton had neither considered nor even imagined, he says.

 Britton recalls enrolling at USC with an interest in earning a degree in architecture. He eventually gravitated to the English department while studying under Dr. Heather James, a USC associate English professor.

 “[Dennis] took at least two undergraduate courses with me and he showed not just an aptitude but a real pleasure and zeal for study and for literature,” says James, who also invited Britton to take a graduate student seminar she was teaching at the time.

 “It was in that class that I thought I could see if Dennis really might want to go on to pursue a Ph.D.,” James explains, noting that Britton’s performance led her to urge him to attend graduate school.

 At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where Britton earned graduate degrees in English, he began investigating how religious differences among Europeans, particularly expressed in their reactions to Jews and Muslims, shaped what would become for the English people the foundations of their ideas about race and racial identity.

 “I think that one of the things that really prompted some of the great work in [Britton’s] dissertation that turned into his book is the realization that, in the Renaissance, it would often be the case that somebody would perhaps feel more different from someone with a different religion than necessarily from someone who had a different ethnicity,” says Dr. Susanne Wofford, a former University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who is now a New York University dean.

 Now in his seventh year at UNH, Britton, while having established a strong teaching and researching record, has provided valuable service as a role model and adviser to underrepresented minority students as well as to socially disadvantaged students of all races who participate in the school’s federally-supported college success TRIO programs.

Carol Muske-Dukes at Hudson News, United Terminal, LAX

Carol Muske-Dukes at Hudson News, United Terminal, LAX

Professor Carol Muske-Dukes will have a book signing at Hudson News (United Terminal, Los Angeles International Airport) on April 17, 2014 for National Poetry Month.

Mehfil Massive: South Asian Religions Remixed through Poetry and Music

Mehfil Massive: South Asian Religions Remixed through Poetry and Music

Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Bovard Auditorium

Legendary South Asian musicians and poets will come together to celebrate and investigate the rich diversity of South Asian spiritual influences. From ghazals set to music and sung throughout the Muslim world to Rabindranath Tagore’s Nobel Prize–winning Gitanjali (Prayer Offering of Song), collaborations between poets and musicians have been a staple of South Asian religious life for centuries. In Mughal courts, nightly mehfils brought these performers together and elevated their collaborations to high art. This tradition will get a 21st-century update in a landmark evening featuring performances by internationally renowned diasporic South Asian artists including Sufi-influenced rock guitarist Salman Ahmad, vocalist and ten-string double-violin master Gingger Shankar, Mumbai-based dubstep DJ Bandish Projekt and hip hop artist and producer Brooklyn Shanti in collaboration with award-winning poets Kazim Ali, Tarfia Faizullah, Bhanu Kapil, Mandeep Sethi and Amarnath Ravva.

Organized by Neelanjana Banerjee (Kaya Press), Varun Soni (Dean of Religious Life), Viet Nguyen (American Studies and Ethnicity) and Nayan Shah (American Studies and Ethnicity). Co-sponsored by American Studies and Ethnicity and the Office of Religious Life.

Wonderland Unbound

Wonderland Unbound

Thursday, April 17, 2014
Doheny Memorial Library

Schedule of Events:
6:00p.m.:Panel and Exhibit from the Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection
7:30p.m.:10th Annual Wonderland Award Presentation
8:30p.m.:Wonderland Unbound Opening and Reception

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, The Hunting of the Snark and other rare materials from the USC Libraries’ Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection will come to life in a multimedia event that will transform Doheny Memorial Library. In celebration of the tenth anniversary of the USC Libraries Wonderland Award, experience the joy of discovery in a wonderfully creative installation comprising digital animation, light projection and more. Preceding the opening of the multimedia installation, a panel of scholars, computer programmers and artists will explore questions relating to spectacle and environmental art, the integration of library collections into an artistic experience and digital visualization as a creative act. An exhibition of items drawn from the Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection will reveal the relationships between primary materials and creative works that remix, reinterpret and otherwise transform them.

The Wonderland Unbound opening will be the culminating event of the tenth anniversary celebration of the USC Libraries Wonderland Award—a multidisciplinary competition in which students create scholarly and imaginative pieces inspired by the life and works of Lewis Carroll and the Cassady Lewis Carroll Collection.

Organized by the USC Libraries.

An Evening with Aimee Bender: The Provost's Writers Series

An Evening with Aimee Bender: The Provost's Writers Series

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Doheny Memorial Library 240

The Provost’s Writers Series highlights the extraordinary talents of USC authors. Throughout the year, Provost Elizabeth Garrett will host four evenings featuring USC faculty, who will read from and discuss their recent publications. The series will provide opportunities for students and the community to engage with USC authors, learn about the incredible diversity of their work and celebrate the written word.

Aimee Bender is a professor of English at USC. Her surreal, playful stories read like modern fairy tales. Bender finds the mythic in the mundane, illuminating contemporary life from unexpected angles. Her stories “introduce the world to honest, inspiring, brutal and beautiful people” (MSNBC). In a magical evening, Bender will read from her work and engage in a conversation with Brighde Mullins, director of the Master of Professional Writing Program at USC.

Bender is the author of several books, including the best-selling novel The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and the New York Times Notable Book The Girl in the Flammable Skirt. Bender’s latest book, The Color Master, is a collection of short stories. Her short fiction has been published in Granta, Harper’s, The Paris Review, McSweeney’s, Tin House and other publications, as well as heard on NPR’s This American Life.

To RSVP, see:

Spring Academic Calendar

Students, faculty, and staff, as you prepare for the end of the semester and the upcoming winter holidays, please keep the spring semester calendar in mind.

January 13: Classes Begin
January 20: Martin Luther King's Birthday
February 17: Presidents' Day
March 17-22: Spring Recess
May 2: Classes End
May 3-6: Study Days
May 7-14: Exams
May 16: Commencement

Author Talk: Leo Braudy and "Trying to Be Cool"

Author Talk: Leo Braudy and "Trying to Be Cool"

Sunday, November 24, 2013
Skylight Books

Professor Leo Braudy will be discussing his new memoir, Trying to Be Cool: Growing Up in the 1950s, at Skylight Books on Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 5:00p.m:

1818 N. Vermont Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90027

Praise for Trying to Be Cool:

"A lovely and passionate evocation of a time and place and the evanescent self we all inhabit."— T.C. Boyle

"I love this book. The irony of Trying To Be Cool is that the book is so damn cool. It’s Rock Around the Clock for smart people. Leo Braudy captures an American moment. This book distills and extrapolates at once. Braudy can play lead and rhythm at the same time."— Percival Everett

  • USC Dornsife Department of English
  • 3501 Trousdale Parkway
  • Taper Hall of Humanities 404
  • University Park
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089-0354
  • Fax: (213) 741-0377