News Archive

Below you will find a list of Department News dating from before the current academic year. If you have any questions about old news, please contact


Spring 2015

Congratulations to Sachiko Kawai (,  who will graduate from the PhD program next month, and has accepted the position of College Fellow in the Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard for the 2015-16 academic year.

Three of our graduate student colleagues have received Graduate School Advanced Fellowships—Nicholas Gliserman( and Christian Paiz ( have been awarded year-long Dissertation Completion Fellowships and Karin Amundsen ( has been awarded a Graduate School Endowed Fellowship.  Congratulations Nick, Christian and Karin.

Keith Pluymers ( has just learned that he has been selected as a two-year environmental history postdoctoral instructor in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Caltech.  Congratulations, Keith!

Daniela Bleichmar and Vanessa Schwartz have received $175K from the Mellon Foundation to organize a Mellon Sawyer seminar in 2016–2017. The grant will provide funding for a postdoctoral fellow, two graduate fellowships, and a year-long series of meetings on the topic "Visual History: The Past in Images."

Richard Fox has been elected to membership in the Society of American Historians, based at Columbia University.  He has also been appointed to a three-year term as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, the main professional body for scholars of the United States and its colonial antecedents.

Wolf Gruner was awarded a faculty research grant by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Program) to conduct research for 2 months in Germany on individual defiance and resistance of Jews during the Holocaust and its remembrance after 1945. He will be in residence at the Center for Jewish Studies in Berlin in June and July, and give a talk on his topic and host a workshop about testimonies and research. He was invited to give a talk at an international conference on Genocide and Gender, organized by the Technical University Berlin and the Central European University Budapest in early June in Berlin, as well as to participate in a concluding Key note panel at a conference about the society in the Third Reich at the University of Hannover, Germany, in late June.

From Wolf Gruner’s book, Jewish Forced Labor Under the Nazis: Economic Needs and Racial Aims, 1938–1944 (Cambridge UP 2008), the chapter 6 on “Camps and Ghettos – Forced Labor in the Reich Gau Wartheland” was published as a reprint in the extended 2nd edition of: The Holocaust: Origins, Implementation, Aftermath, ed. by Omer Bartov (Rewriting Histories series) Routledge, 2015.

Lon Kurashige’s article, "Rethinking Anti-Immigrant Racism: Lessons from the Los Angeles Vote on the 1920 Alien Land Law," has been selected the best article by an established historian to appear in the Southern California Quarterly in the past three years (2012-2014).  The award is called the Carl I. Wheat Award and was announced at the Historical Society of Southern California-Occidental Conference on April 4th.

In March Peter Mancall spoke on “Writing America’s Origins” at the Sorbonne and on “The Landscape of History” at the École normale supérieure de Lyon.

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal co-authored an op-ed on with Sam Erman (USC Law) about a court case they worked on together regarding the citizenship status of American Samoans.  "Not another Dred Scott case, please"

Vanessa R. Schwartz was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. She was also awarded the Charles Lindbergh Chair for a fellowship at the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian. She gave lectures at the Penn Forum for the Humanities, keynoted at the Future of Photo History Conference at the Ryerson Image Center in Toronto and returned to Philly to speak at the Penn Art Museum.

Brett Sheehan has published Industrial Eden: A Chinese Capitalist Vision. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2015.

On March 26, Jacob Soll presented his book The Reckoning at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

Please join us in congratulating Keith Pluymers, who will graduate from the PhD program next month, on his selection as an inaugural Dornsife Preceptor for 2015-2016.  This new and highly selective program will bring Keith into the classroom to teach two courses next year and to assist other colleagues with TA-ing work. Congratulations,  Keith!

Marjorie Becker was nominated by the American Historical Association’s committee on committees to serve on it Albert Beveridge grant committee. That entailed reading and assessing 129 grant proposals by grad students and faculty colleagues writing about Canada, the U.S. and Latin America.  Because it was so competitive key issues, including the construction of the prose, the editing of the proposals, proved even more important than usual.  She is also setting up a memorial for Maria Elena Martinez at the Latin American Studies Association to be held in San Juan, Puerto Rico this May.

Wolf Gruner was invited to speak at the panel “Holocaust & Genocide Studies: Complementary or Competitive Paradigms?” The panel discussion on February 12th 2015, organized by the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies and cosponsored by the UCLA Center for European and Eurasian Studies and the UCLA Department of History, also featured A. Dirk Moses (Dept. of History and Civilization, European University Institute, Florence) and Benjamin L. Madley, Dept. of History, UCLA). Gruner also gave an invited lecture on "Jewish Defiance, Resistance, & Protest in Nazi Germany" at the Glazer Institute for Jewish Studies at Pepperdine University on Thursday, February 19, 2015.

Vanessa R. Schwartz was awarded a fellowship at the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library, where she will be in residence in AY 15-16. She also contributed to a published discussion on “The Nineteenth Century through the Lens of Visual Studies” in the Revue d’histoire du XIX siecle n. 49, 2014/2, pp. 139-178.

Governing the Sea in the Early Modern Era, edited by Carole Shammas and Peter Mancall, is a collection of essays published in honor of Roy Ritchie, the legendary research director at the Huntington Library.  The volume, published by the Huntington and distributed by the University of California Press, features chapters byKeith Pluymers, who recently defended his dissertation in the department, and Adrian Finucane, a former EMSI Mellon fellow who taught in our department for two years.

Brett Sheehan’s “Shotgun Wedding: The Dongya Corporation and the Early Communist Regime,” was published in Sherman Cochran, ed., The Capitalist Dilemma in China’s Communist Revolution: Stay, Leave, or Return?, Cornell University Press, 2014, 21-43.

Jacob Soll gave the annual Rava Lecture in Italian Studies at Washington University of St Louis on Florentine libraries in the 18th c; he took part in a debate about his work at the LSE; he also was invited by the dean of social sciences at UC Irvine to present his work last Wednesday. He was on Readers’ Corner on Idaho NPR on Feb 8; he is working with translators on the Japanese version of his book The Reckoning.   He organized the first Martens Economic Forum at USC, which brought acclaimed scholars from around the world and the country to USC to discuss 18th century British fiscal history; he also signed a contract for his new book, Free Market: The History of a Dream.

Please join us in congratulating our postdoctoral colleague Allison Miller; Allison has just accepted the position as editor of the American Historical Association’s Perspectives magazine.  Congratulations, Allison!

Anne (Andie) Reid, who did her dissertation work on the California mission system with Peter Mancall and Bill Deverell, has accepted a tenure-track appointment in the History Department at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Congratulations, Andie!

Congratlations to our colleague Vanessa Schwartz who has just been awarded a 2015 USC Mellon Mentoring Award for Faculty Mentoring of Postdoctoral Scholars.  She has previously been awarded the Mellon Mentoring Award for Mentoring Graduate Students.  We are so proud!

Our recent Ph.D student Julia Ornelas-Higdon, who worked with George Sanchez and Bill Deverell, has accepted an appointment as a tenure-track ass't professor in the Department of History at the California State University, Channel Islands.  Congratulations!

Lisa Bitel has just published Our Lady of the Rock: Vision and Pilgrimage in the Mojave Desert (Cornell, 2015)

Richard Fox's Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History (W. W. Norton) has been released; author photo by Phil Ethington.

Wolf Gruner’s co-edited book: The Greater German Reich and the Jews: Nazi Persecution Policies in the Annexed Territories 1935-1945was published with Berghahn Books New York.

Vanessa Schwartz’s Getting the Picture: The Visual Culture of the News co-edited with Jason Hill, with contributions by former USC History students Ryan Linkof, Catherine Clark and Matt Fox-Amato, has been published by Bloomsbury Press. In addition, The Getty Research Journal (n.7) has just been published. Vanessa Schwartz and Jan von Brevern wrote the forward and edited a special section called “Photography’s Past Futures.” 

Jake Soll’s
 The Reckoning has been chosen by Castle Harlan Private Equity firm as their book of the year (2014) and is also included in Dropout Nation’s 2014 edition of The Top Eight Books That School Reformers Should Read.

Diana Williams has been asked--and agreed--to join the amicus brief of historians of marriage in the DeBoer case, which is being appealed from the 6th Circuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Alex Aviña who is Marjorie Becker’s former graduate student in Latin American History with a focus on Modern Mexican History, has been promoted to associate professor with tenure at Florida State University.

Phil Ethington just signed the first-ever (peer-reviewed) contract with a University Press 
(UC Press) for a born-digital, online book, with a scaled-down full color print version as a stand-alone companion to the digital version.  Ghost Metropolis: Los Angeles Since 13,000, written in many genres and across several disciplines, has been in the making for 14 years, so Phil will be very happy to see it reach the public about a year from now, in both formats.

Wolf Gruner was invited to give a talk on “Jewish Forced Labor in the Service of Private Industry,” as part of the Shoah Teaching Alternatives in Jewish Education (STAJE) seminar on “Big Business and the Holocaust” on 14 December 2014  at the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial New York.

Congratulations to our doctoral candidate colleague, Sari Siegel on the publication of her peer reviewed article, Treating an Auschwitz Prisoner-Physician: The Case of Dr. Maximilian Samuel (Sari J. Siegel, Holocaust and Genocide Studies 2014 28 (3): 450-481, doi: 10.1093/hgs/dcu041).  To read Sari's article, please click here.

Professor Jacob Soll traveled to Southern Europe to meet with officials and share his research on the relationship between history and modern economic crises.  The entire article can be found here.

Our colleague, Professor Vanessa Schwartz, has been awarded the 2015 Associates Award for creativity in research and scholarship -- the Associates Awards are the highest honors the university bestows upon its members for distinguished intellectual and artistic achievements and for outstanding teaching, both in and out of the classroom.

We are delighted that our colleague, Francille Wilson, has been elected National Director of the Association of Black Women Historians.  Founded in 1979, ABWH is the professional association for all scholars of black women's history.  As the new National Director, Francille is following in the footsteps of such scholars as Nell Irvin Painter and Darlene Clark Hine.  Many congratulations, Francille!

Wonderful news to start the year – our colleague Glenda Goodman, who is serving as an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the department, has accepted an offer from the University of Pennsylvania to become an assistant professor of music, starting in Fall, 2015.  Congratulations, Glenda!


Fall 2014

Richard Fox's Lincoln's Body has been selected by The History Book Club as a featured alternate in its winter catalog.

Wolf Gruner was honored with the 2014 “Legacy award” by the benefactors of the Jewish Club of 1933 inc., Los Angeles. He gave an acceptance speech about his dedication to Holocaust studies and his current research on Jewish defiance of and protest against Nazi persecution on November, 9th, 2014, during the annual pre-Thanksgiving Luncheon for the members of the club. He also was invited on November 12th, 2014, to USC Trojan TV and its program “Platforum”. The Program on Genocide and the new Center for Advanced Genocide Research was aired 5.30-6 pm with an interview of Gruner by host Dan Morgan-Russell and a following panel discussion with Gruner and two students.

Steve Ross has just been awarded an NEH Fellowship for 2015 to complete work on "Hitler in Los Angeles."  He recently presented his current research to the HUC Faculty Workshop. 

Jacob Soll authored a chapter for the Routledge History of Intellectual History: “Intellectual History and the History of the Book."  He also recently launched the Portuguese edition of his book in Lisbon, THE RECKONING, as Ajuste de Contas, with a new Portuguese historical introduction.  He was interviewed and reviewed by Radio Television Portugal, Radio 1 Portugal, Portugal’s biggest weekly magazine Sábado, and the leading newspaper O Publico.  Numerous other articles and reviews in major newspapers appeared.  He also met with the Director of the Tribunal de Contas and is working with the Tribunal on Portuguese accounting standards and the history of the Tribunal.

Jacob Soll also recently attended the American Hellenic Chamber of Commerce’s 25th Annual Economic Forum in Athens where he presented his book, THE RECKONING, to more the 600 attendees, including members of the government and press.  It was nationally broadcast.  He met with the Finance Minister, the heads of the Chamber of Commerce, major Greek bond holders, the European Correspondent of the Wall Street Journal, the President of the American Council on Competitiveness, attended dinner with the Prime Minister and is currently consulting with the Ministry of Finance about the creation of new state pilot programs of accounting and accountability.  He was interviewed by SBC TV.

Elinor Accampo was invited to speak at Loyola Marymount University on September 22nd  where she gave a lecture, “World War I France and the Spanish Flu”.

Marjorie Becker has been invited for a second year to serve on the Woodrow Wilson Foundation Selection Panel, Fellowship Proposals for the Charlotte Newcombe Fellowship, a fellowship she still feels grateful to have won.  She has also been asked by the American Historical Association Committee on Committees to serve on the Beveridge Grant Committee assessing Latin American, Canadian, and U.S. Proposals, from 2015 until 2017. 

Bill Deverell has received a grant from the Del Amo Fund at USC to support translation of materials from German and Spanish to English, all pertaining to the explorer and cartographer Alexander von Humboldt.

The current issue of Huntington Frontiers (Fall/Winter 2014, pp. 19-23) contains an interview with Richard Fox about his forthcoming book, Lincoln's Body: A Cultural History (W. W. Norton, Feb. 2015).

Wolf Gruner published the book chapter “Armenian Atrocities: German Jews and Their Knowledge of the Genocide during the Third Reich” in Lessons and Legacies XI. Expanding Perspectives on the Holocaust in a Changing World, Ed. and with an introduction by Hilary Earl and Karl A. Schleunes, Northwestern University Press: Evanston, Illinois 2014, pp. 180-207.  He delivered an invited commentary for the Special Session “ Book Discussion: Authors/Editors Meet Critics” on “Geographies of the Holocaust: Place, Space, Digital Humanities and the Holocaust” (Indiana University Press 2014) with the authors Anne Knowles, Middlebury College, Tim Cole, Bristol University, Alberto Giordano, Texas State University, and the commentators Christopher Browning, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Debórah Dwork, Clark University, at the international conference “Lessons and Legacies XIII: The Holocaust after 70 Years: New Perspectives on Persecution, Resistance, and Survival”, October 30 – November 2, 2014, organized by the Holocaust Educational Foundation of Northwestern University at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida.

Maria Elena Martinez has published two articles-- “Archives, Bodies, and Imagination: The Case of Juana Aguilar and Queer Approaches to History, Sexuality, and Politics,” Radical History Review, Special Issue on “Queering Archives” (Nov 2014) and “Indigenous Genealogies: Lineage, History, and the Colonial Pact in Central Mexico and Peru,” in Indigenous Intellectuals: Knowledge, Power, and Colonial Culture in Mexico and the Andes, ed. Yanna Yannakakis and Gabriela Ramos (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014), 173-201.

Steve Ross gave a talk, “Hollywood and the Jewish Community,” at the American Jewish Committee's annual Board of Governors Meeting in Los Angeles.  He also did a television interview with Russian Television Network NTV on the topic of “Nazis collaboration with Hollywood studios during WWII.”

Our colleague Daniela Bleichmar has received news that her book Visible Empire was awarded the 2014 Herbert Baxter Adams Prize for the best book in European history from the American Historical Association! Congratulations, Daniela, on this wonderful honor.

Though Marjorie Becker is on sabbatical working on her next history book, “Dancing on the Sun Stone: An Exploration of Mexican Women and the Gendered Politics of Octavio Paz,” she has been invited to serve on a round table about Mexico with Gen. David Petraeus, former director of the C.I.A.  Her presentation will focus on  Mexican gender relations through history and Mexico’s future  Her own poem about Paz, has been published in a volume celebrating the 100th anniversary of his birth, just out in the volume entitled, Desde Hong Kong: Poets in Conversation with Octavio Paz on the occasion of the poet’s centenary.

Bill Deverell has just published “Convalescence to Conservation: Nature and Nation in American History,” in Andrew Isenberg, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Environmental History.

Wolf Gruner was invited to give the 2014 James J. Kenneally Lecture in Jewish-Christian Relations at Stonehill College, Mass. He delivered his keynote “Protest and Defiance. Unknown Jewish and non-Jewish Reactions to Nazi Persecution in Germany” on September 9th, 2014.

Lindsay O’Neill has just published The Opened Letter: Networking in the Early Modern British World (PENN, 2014).

Vanessa R. Schwartz has been invited to be a Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Department of the Arts at the Ecole Normale Supérieur in Paris for a month-long visit during AY 15-16. She will be speaking at Stanford in the "Ends of American Art" conference in November. Later that month she will be speaking in the History Department at UC Berkeley. Her interview with Lynn Hunt was just published in the Fall 2014 issue of Public Culture.

Elinor Accampo was an invited speaker at a conference on World War I, “Specters of the Great War,” which took place at Dartmouth, May 15-17, 2014. She delivered a paper, “Intractable Enemy: the 1918 Influenza Pandemic and its Consequences for the Great War.”

During the summer, Wolf Gruner was appointed as a member of the jury for the 2014 Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research. The Holocaust Educational Foundation at Northwestern University invited him to co-chair the academic program of the biggest international conference on Holocaust Studies, “Lessons and Legacies”, in 2016, which will take place at Claremont McKenna College. Gruner was also appointed as the inaugural director of the new USC Shoah Foundation Center for Advanced Genocide Research, which was launched by President Nikias and Steven Spielberg on 25 April 2014. In June, he visited as part of a Shoah foundation delegation Guatemala invited by the Forensic Anthropology Foundation to explore the Guatemalan genocide. The delegation had the chance to talk with the General prosecutor of Guatemala, the dean of the medical school of the  University of San Marcos in Guatemala city, and various victim organizations dealing with the mass violence and its effects in Guatemala.

Wolf Gruner also published with Oxford University Press the peer reviewed, annotated online bibliography “The Holocaust in Germany”  as part of the “Bibliographies in Jewish Studies Series”. The page, containing approx. 100 pages of book annotations, went live on 30 July 2014:  In addition, his article on Armenian atrocities. What did Jewish and non-Jewish Germans know about the Armenian Genocide 1915-1916, in: Holocaust und Völkermorde. Die Reichweite des Vergleichs, ed. by Sybille Steinbacher, Fritz-Bauer-Institut, Frankfurt/Main-New York 2012, pp. 31-54, was published and translated into Turkish by  the journalBirikim”, vol. 299/300 (March 2014), p. 23-38.

The department would like to espescially congratulate our graduate student, Sari Siegel, on her recent accomplishments.  Sari was selected as one 2014 Saul Kagan Fellow in Advanced Shoah Studies by the Jewish Claims conference, which honors internationally seven graduate students per year who advance Holocaust studies.  The Center for Holocaust Studies at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies selected Sari Siegel as the American recipient of the 2014 IfZ-USHMM Exchange of Scholars Award (eligible for this one single fellowship in 2014 were Post-docs and PhD candidates from North America).

She has also been selected as a participant in the German Historical Institute Archival Summer Seminar 2014 --a two-week program organized by the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC that trains graduate students to read old German script and brings them over to Germany to familiarize them with several archives.  For her dissertation project, she was also selected as a Junior Fellow by the Vienna Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies for 2015.  Way to go Sari!

Congratulations to our colleage Steve Ross, who will, in mid-August, become Director of the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life. Steve moves to this role after 16 years serving as co-founder and co-director of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities (LAIH).  Warmest congratuations on this post and this honor. 

Congratulations to our colleague Daniela Bleichmar on the recent news that her book, Visible Empire: Edpeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment has been awarded the 2014 Levinson Book Prize from the History of Science Society.

Congratulations to Jared Farmer, ICW’s very first postdoctoral fellow, who is the recipient of the 2014 Hiett Prize in the Humanities Award. The Hiett Prize in the Humanities seeks to distinguish candidates who are dedicated to the humanities and show promise as future leaders while in the initial phases of their careers; the award comes with a $50,000 cash prize.  Jared is currently an associate professor of history at Stony Brook University.  In characterizing Jared’s work, the prize committee noted that “Through writing and photography, he illuminates the hidden histories of landscapes and habitats.”  For more information please visit Jared Farmer’s website at



Spring 2014

Our graduate alumnus Gilbert Estrada has accepted a tenure track job in Latin American History at Long Ceach City College, where he will also develop and teach course in U.S. and Latino History.  Congratulations!

Congratulations to three Fulbright scholars from the History Department! Vivian Yan received a scholarship to Hong Kong.  Bijou Nguyen received a scholarship to Korea, and Fan Fan received a scholarship to Brazil!

Through the Los Angeles Service Academy, the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West is helping high school students interested in civil service to cultivate an appreciation of their city.  To read the entire article featured on the USC Dornsife homepage, please click here.

Many congratulations to our recent undergraduates who have been selected to receive travel and merit fellowships from The Roberta Persinger Foulke  Endowment Fellowship.  Travel winners include: Natalia DaSilva, Nitya Ramanathan, Christina Schoellkopf, and Katherine McCormick.  Merit winners include: Caroline Friend, Hanna Jolkovsky, Natalia DaSilva, and Nitya Ramanathan.

Congratulations to our colleagues, Lon Kurashige, George Sanchez, and Diana Williams, on their selection by the Asian Pacific American Student Assembly & Academic Culture Assembly as 2014 Professors of Color.  The award singles out those professors who have gone above and beyond in their contributions and their role model service to students of color on the USC campus.  Congratulations to you all!

Our doctoral-student colleague, Monica Pelayo, has been appointed Director of Public History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.  Congratulations Monica!

Warm congratulations to our colleague Jake Soll for his thoughtful piece -- No Accounting Skills? No Moral Reckoning -- in the Opinion section of the New York Times published on 4/28/14.  To read the entire article, please click here.  

Bill Deverell delivered the keynote address at "Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr.: A Vision for the American West," a conference held last month at Stanford.

Steve Ross presented the 2013 LA Times Book Prize for HIstory at the recent LA Times-USC Festival of Books.  He also moderated a panel on "Untold Stories of the Holocaust," and was a panelist on a session devoted to discussing "Hollywood : Past and Present."

We would like to congratulate two of our honors students who won awards at the Undergraduate Research Symposium for Scholarly and reative work held on campus from April 14-16.  Michael Bertch won first prize in the Social Science Category! Vivian Yan won second prize in the Humanities Category!

Ann Johnson has just accepted a CLIR (Council on Library and Information Resources) Postdoctoral Fellowship in Academis Librarieis at Leihigh University.

Congratulations to Matt Amato for being awarded the prestigious 2014 Zuckerman Prize in American Studies by the McNeil Center for Early Americna Studies.  The award honors "The best dissertation connecting American history (in any period) with literature and/or art." 

Congratulations to Keith Pluymers and Sachiko Kawai, who have been awarded Final Year Dissertation Fellowships for 2014-2015!

Sari Siegel has been named a Saul Kagan Fellow in Advanced Shoah Studies.  Fellowships are awarded to a very few canditates around the world for "strong personal commitment to Shoah memory," academic excellence, and potential for professional leadership in Holocaust studies.

Maria-Elena Martinez has been awarded two prestigious residential research fellowships for next year at the Stanford Humanities Center and the National Humanities Center.  Stanford selected 10 fellows from 330 applications; and the NHC selected 30 from 360.  Congratulations!

Steve Ross have an Invited Guest Lecture on "The Politicization of Charlie Chaplin: The Events That Led Him to Make The Great Dictator (1940)," for the History Department/Jewish Studies Film Series at Cal State Fresno.  He was also interviewed by Agence France-Press for a story about "Foreign Directors in Hollywood" and by Arte (French television) for programs on "The Controversy Over Ben Urwand's The Collaboration."

Jacob Soll's "The Economic Logic of the Humanities" appeared in the most recent issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.  He also spoke at the Trojan League.

Our recent doctoral graduate, Matt Amato, has just accepted an Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellowship in the Modelins Interdisciplinary Inquiry program at Washington University in St. Louis.

Gina Greene, who was selected as a Provost's Postdoc finalist by our executive committee, and then awarded one of these prestigious appointments, has accepted our offer to join us in the fall.  Gina's work explores the architectural expression of social reform, especially as it relates to children's issues, in late 19th century France.  Gina is currently serving as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

USC Dornsife’s William Deverell and David Ulin spearhead “Writing from California,” a two-part program held in Los Angeles and San Francisco sponsored by The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW). To read the entire article entitled Tales from Two Cities, click here.

Our recent Ph.D, Sarah Keyes, has accepted a tenure track job offer in the History Department at Texas Tech University.  This appointment will begin in the fall of 2015, as Sarah will first complete her ACLS New Faculty Fellowship at UC Berkeley.

Wolf Gruner presented and invited public lecture "The Novemberpogrom and the Berliners" in Berlin, Germany, at the Topography of Terror with an audience of 115 people on February 18th, 2014.  At this occasion, his new book was presented: "The Persecution of the Berlin Jews 1933-1945.  A Chronology of measures by the authorities in the German Capital", Berlin: Hentrich 2014, 200 pages, which is an updated English translation of the heavily expanded German edition of 2009.

The Center for Holocaust Studies at the Institut für Zeitgeschichte and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies have selected Sari Siegel as the American recipient of the 2014 IfZ-USHMM Exchange of Scholars Award (eligible for this one fellowship in 2014 were PhD candidates and post-docs from North America). She will be in residence at the Center for Holocaust Studies in Munich and the Berlin branch of the IfZ for four months of her dissertation research this fall.  Sari has also been selected as a participant in the GHI Archival Summer Seminar--a two-week program organized by the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC that trains graduate students to read old German script and familiarizes them with German archival facilities. With the group, she will visit archives in Speyer, Cologne, Koblenz, and Munich.

Our recent Ph.D. graduate, Jen Black, has accepted a tenure track position in the history department at Misericordia University in Pennsylvania. 

Fulbright scholar Jasneet Aulakh, who earned her bachelor’s in history, English and philosophy at USC Dornsife, is in India studying the role of women in local government. Click here to read the full article.

Wolf Gruner’s “The Holocaust in Germany-An annotated online bibliography”  (80 pages) was accepted by Oxford University Press after very positive peer reviews.  In January 2014, Wolf Gruner organized, on behalf of the 2020 research cluster “Resistance to genocide” and in cooperation with the USC Shoah foundation, a week long research visit of four scholars from the “Holocaust Geographies Collaborative” – an international group of 9 researchers – to explore intensively the USC Shoah foundation archive. The team of historians, art historians and geographers has worked together since 2007 on six case studies, culminating in an edited book – Geographies of the Holocaust – which will be published by Indiana University Press in 2014. The group had hitherto primarily focused on building digital infrastructure to establish the structural geographies of Holocaust locations and events, now at USC they wanted to explore the potential of testimonies for a systematic use as a source for geographical analysis. As a result of their week long research and discussions among themselves, but also with a variety of USC scholars from different disciplines, the group wants to use the testimonies as the source base for the next phase of their research, as they announced in the public presentation at the end of their stay, on January 10th.  A more intense collaboration with USC is planned.

Daniela Bleichmar has been awarded a major grant from the Getty Foundation to collaborate with Catherine Hess (Senior Curator of European Art at the Huntington Art Collections) on a multi-year research project entitled "Visual Voyages: Depictions of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin." The project will lead to an international loan exhibit at the Huntington in 2017.

Bill Deverell has been accepted into Annenberg Alchemy, a training workshop for non-profit leadership run by the Annenberg Foundation.

Sarah Gualtieri presented a paper entitled “Out of Ann Arbor: Edward Said and Arab American Studies” at the Transnational American Studies Conference at the American University of Beirut on January 9, 2014.

Joan Piggott reports that the prestigious Luce Foundation has just granted the Project for Premodern Japan Studies funding for our Kambun Workshops for the next two summers, to pay for fellowships for outside graduate students and faculty to take the program. Thanks to the Luce folks, there will be Kambun Workshops for two more years.  Also Part II of our annotated translation and analysis of sections from the eighth-century law codes concerning matters of gender has just been published in the journal Senshûin Shigaku. Part I was published last March (in another journal, Teikyô Shigaku). Part II, which provides interpretation of relevant laws written in the original Chinese, and then translated into both modern Japanese and English, is published in both Japanese and English; and it covers the qualifications and activities of female officials who worked in the classical Japanese palace. To finish the project, we anticipate about ten more such publications over the next few years, at the rate of one or two per year. That will bring all relevant sections of the Yôrô Ritsuryô Code into modern Japanese and English. This legal historical project of annotating and analyzing the classical Japanese law code (ritsuryô) has been a top priority for East Asian researchers for decades, so that it is finally being done and published by the Gender and Ritsuryô Research Group (Joan Piggott, Akiko Yoshie, Yôko Ijûin) is a big deal!

Jacob Soll's article, The Reception of The Prince 1513-1700 and the Origins of the Modern Meaning of Machiavelli has been accepted by Social Research: An International Quarterly.  On January 10, Jacob Soll presented the Faculty Address at the 2014 Spring New Student Convocation.  In addition, Jake has been named a "correspondent" of the Boston Globe and as such he published "Fresh Ideas Can Come from the 13th Century" in the January 29th edition.



Fall 2013

Wolf Gruner’s book chapter "Armenier-Greuel.“ Was wussten jüdische und nichtjüdische Deutsche im NS-Staat über den Völkermord von 1915/16? (Armenian Atrocities. What did Jewish and non-Jewish Germans know about the Genocide), in: Holocaust und Völkermorde. Die Reichweite des Vergleichs, ed. by Sybille Steinbacher, Frankfurt/Main-New York 2012, will be translated into Turkish and published in April 2014 in the Turkish academic journal: Birikim No. 300, 4/2014.  He also coauthored a biographical introduction of the late German writer Michael Peschke for a book with his theater and screen plays: Wolf Gruner/Hugo Velarde, Beobachten, Erinnern, Verstehen. Michael Peschkes Leben und Werk, in: Michael Peschke, Von Hauptbahnhof bis Kalaschnikow. Texte für Theater und Film. Herausgegeben von Hugo Velarde und Harald Müller, Berlin: Theater der Zeit 2013, pp. 7-12.

Our emeritus colleague Jack Wills has just published a thoughtful, important letter in this month's copy of the American Historical Association's Perspectives. Click here to read the letter.

Marjorie Becker participated with David St. John in a two part Fisher Museum presentation, entitled “Drawn to Language.”  Her participation, in conversation with St. John who read from his recent Andean-inflected poetry, was a paper drawing on her years of grass roots experience, research and teaching in and about the Andeas.  In her presentation she focused on the explosive and exceptionally resistant histories of female dances, souls, and song of the Andes.  In addition, as part of a collaboration between History and ASE, Professor Becker shaped a historical, literary and theoretical introduction to her internationally prominent Yale mentor Florencia Mallon.  Before a wide audience of USC colleagues and students drawn from multiple Latin American history and studies courses, Mallon read from her celebrated novel, Beyond the Ties of the Blood.  A remarkable conversation about the often gendered relationships between theory, historical and more creative writing ensued.

Daniela Bleichmar recently presented papers at two conferences held at Dumbarton Oaks ("Botany of Empire") and the Clark Library ("Iberian Globalization of the Early Modern World"), and served as the inaugural speaker for the new Iberian Studies seminar at Johns Hopkins University. Her short piece on Latin American science just appeared in Kenneth Mills and Evonne Levy (eds.), Lexikon of the Hispanic Baroque: Transatlantic Exchange and Transformation (UT Press).

From Wolf Gruner’s book, Jewish Forced Labor Under the Nazis: Economic Needs and Racial Aims, 1938–1944 (Cambridge UP 2008), the chapter 6 on “Camps and Ghettos – Forced Labor in the Reich Gau Wartheland” was selected for a reprint in the 2nd edition of: The Holocaust: Origins, Implementation, Aftermath, ed. by Omer Bartov (Rewriting Histories series) Routledge, 2013.

Peter Mancall’s talks in October and early November included “Pigs for Historians,” at the Chicago Humanities Festival, “Henry Hudson’s Fatal Journey,” at Cornell, and “Les habitants de Nouveau Monde vus d’Europe” at the Lycée Français de New York.

María Elena Martínez’s essay “Archives, Bodies, and Imagination: Queer Approaches to History, Sexuality, and Politics,” has been accepted for publication by the Radical History Review, as part of a Special Issue on “Queering Archives” (fall 2014) The journal received 130 proposals for the issue. In October she presented on “Religion, Caste, and Race in the Spanish and Portuguese Empires: Local and Global Dimensions” at the University of Pennsylvania’s McNeil Center for Early American Studies. And she has accepted an invitation by Mexico’s National Autonomous University to deliver lectures on indigenous women’s rights next spring, as part of a seminar on law and history and a project by the school’s legal research institute to address the question of gendered violence historically and in the present in order to make juridical recommendations.

Brett Sheehan was nominated for the Steven B. Sample Teaching and Mentoring Award and was recognized along with the other nominees at a parents’ banquet on October 24, 2013.

Jacob Soll guest lectured in the undergraduate seminar on material culture at the University of Pennsylvania and the Library Company and was also an invited speaker at the conference on the History of Political Economy at Harvard Business School.

Marjorie Becker has been invited by English professor David St. John to participate with him in a program at the Fisher Museum based on various Andean connections.  In particular, the work draws on the connections between Quechua (one of the Andean languages,) and music; the connections between St. John’s recent Andean-inspired poems, and Becker’s multiple trips to Peru and Bolivia and annual courses teaching the cultural histories of Boliva and Peru.  This part of this project will take place at the Fisher in October.  Becker has also been asked to help organize and participate in Florencia Mallon’s USC History Department visit.  Mallon, Becker’s Yale mentor, is an internationally famous historian and creative writer.  Her visit is part of multiple programs focusing on “The Other 9/11,” and the series of Chilean tragedies following the death of Salvador Allende and the government of Agustin Pinochet.  Becker’s own 9/11 poem, (emerging from an invitational conference she participated in,) was published last year.  It attempts to speak to and about her own multi-faceted experiences of Chile, its history, its present, its multi-faceted gendered worlds and the vast and elegant roles Salvador Allende played in Chileans’ and foreigners political and personal histories.  In addition, Becker has recently become involved, with the passing of her undergraduate and graduate teacher Larry Goodwyn, in widespread considerations of Goodwyn’s ground-breaking political and oral historical work.  Her own approach to miscegenation between enslaved women and their white “masters,” which received an AAUW award, emerged from her extensive study in Goodwyn’s undergraduate and graduate courses, and her work as an oral historian of the U.S. South.

Judith Bennett, co-editing with Ruth Karras, has just published The Oxford Handbook of Women and Gender in Medieval Europe: 39 contributors; 600+ pages; and, best of all, it includes a spectacular chapter on gender and Christianization by Lisa Bitel.

Daniela Bleichmar has been awarded the The American Historical Association's 2013 Leo Gershow Award for "the most outstanding work published in English on any aspect of 17th- and 18th-century European history" for her book Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions & Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

Wolf Gruner is pleased to note the successful completion of the Third interdisciplinary workshop “Resisting the Path to Genocide: Individual resistance”. This international conference was organized by the 2020 Dornsife research cluster “Resisting the path to genocide” and hosted at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, and the Villa Aurora, Pacific Palisades, September 26 – 28, 2013. The workshop brought scholars from the Netherlands, Poland, the UK, Germany, Australia and the United states, representing disciplines as Political science, Anthropology, Jewish studies, History, History of Medicine and Philosophy, together who discussed their research on Resistance during the Holocaust, the Herero Genocide and Mass violence in three African countries as well as theoretical questions.  Also, Gruner was invited to give a commentary on the panel “Persecution” at the international conference “Die deutsche Gesellschaft im Nationalsozialismus. Forschungspositionen und –perspektiven” (The German society during the Third Reich. Research Positions and Perspectives), organized by the University of Vermont und the Zentrum für Zeithistorische Forschung Potsdam, 30 September to 2 October 2013 in Potsdam, Germany.

Nathan Perl-Rosenthal will be delivering papers by invitation at two international conferences taking place this month: "The Bordeaux-Dublin Letters Colloquium" at NYU and "Language Diversity in the French Americas, ca. 1600-1800," at the University of Toronto.  He appears as an expert in's video introduction to John Quincy Adams, released this past month.

Steve Ross has weighed in on the controversy surrounding Ben Urwand's book, "The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact With Hitler,” in a letter published in the September 16, issue of The New Yorker.  He also appeared with Urwand on Warren' Olney's "Which Way LA," as well as news reports on BBC and Arte.

Elinor Accampo co-edited a special edition of French Historical Studies on “Disaster” that appeared in June.

The Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the very foundation that awarded Marjorie Becker a Charlotte Newcombe Dissertation Fellowship, has asked her to help assess potential Charlotte Newcombe recipients.  She has also again been asked to review one of the monographs that have emerged in partial response to her work on ordinary Mexican’s multiple socio-economic, political, and gendered acts, acts that partly prompted Mexico’s twentieth century post-revolutionary government.

Judith Bennett's "Death and the Maiden" (Journal of Medieval and Early Modern History 42: 269-305) has been awarded the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians' prize for the best article of 2012.

Daniela Bleichmar is on leave this academic year with a fellowship from the Getty Center, where she will conduct research for a book project on the lives of sixteenth-century Mexican codices in Europe and America during the early modern period. As Consortium Professor, she will teach a graduate seminar on "Cultural Encounter and the Category of Art," which is open to doctoral students from USC and five other area universities. The book she co-edited with Peter Mancall, Collecting Across Cultures: Material Exchanges in the Early Modern Atlantic World (Penn) is now out in paperback. 

Bill Deverell invites everyone to a special screening of Chinatown on the evening of September 27th on the big wall of the Natural History Museum, facing Exposition Blvd., at 6:00 pm.  Bring a picnic or patronize one of the food trucks on Expo.  A brief panel discussion, with David Ulin, Bill Deverell, Sandra Tsing Loh and Christine Mulholland, precedes the screening.  Funded by Metabolic Studio, this event marks the 100th anniversary of the Natural History Museum and the Los Angeles Aqueduct.  Join us!

Clinton Godart presented a paper titled “Herbert Spencer in Japan: Boom and Bust of A Theory (1868-1911)” at the 24th International Congress of History of Science, Technology and Medicine, held at the University of Manchester, July 27. This essay will be published in a book manuscript titled "Global Spencerism" (Brill), edited by Bernard Lightman.

Wolf Gruner submitted “Parias de la Patria: The myth of the liberation of the indigenous people in Bolivia 1825-1890,” an unpublished book manuscript which had been recently translated from German into Spanish, to the publisher “Plural” in La Paz, Bolivia.  He co-edited the review section (20 reviews) of volume 29 of the historical Yearbook “Beitraege zur Geschichte des Nationalsozialismus”. The thematic volume deals with Continuities and Discontinuities regarding National Socialism during the 20th century.  He wrote a review on the Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies for the English Historical Review which was published in July 2013. Wolf Gruner gave a well attended invited Public Evening Lecture on “Resistance, Opposition and Protest: Unknown responses of German Jews towards their persecution” at the Jewish Museum Berlin, on August 8, 2013. He was interviewed by the German radio station “NDR” on his research on individual Jewish defiance and protest in Nazi Germany 1933-45, which was broadcasted on August 19th 2013 and re-broadcasted by another radio station. Gruner was also invited to give the keynote “German Jews, Their Persecution and Resistance” at the Munich International Seminar “German Sources and Archives of Holocaust History” organized by Ludwig Maximilian University and the Institute for Contemporary History, Munich, on 17 August 2013. In the beginning of June he presented an invited paper at the scholar’s retreat of the Holocaust Educational Foundation on the “future of Holocaust research and education”, in Linconshire, Il.  In Los Angeles, he presented an invited paper: The East Berlin underground-Multiple subcultures, personal reflections” at a public evening panel: “Claus Bach-East German Photography”, May 22, 2013, at the Wende Museum, Los Angeles. In April he was part of the panel “The Shoah – Can It Be Studied?  And If So, How?” organized by the Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study at USC.

Paul Lerner published "Könige des Einzelhandels: Jüdische Warenhausunternehmer und die Macht des Konsums" [Kings of Retail:  Jewish department store entrepreneurs and the power of consumption] in Fritz Backhaus, Raphael Gross and Liliane Weissberg (eds)., Juden.  Geld.  Eine Vorstellung [Jews, Money, An Idea] Frankfurt: Campus Verlag, 2013.  He also delivered the Kahn lecture in German Jewish studies at UCLA in May.  His book manuscript is under contract with Cornell University Press and scheduled to appear in Fall 2014.

Brett Sheehan has published “Unorganized Crime: Forgers, Soldiers, and Shopkeepers in Beijing, 1927, 1928,” in Billy K.L. So and Madeleine Zelin, eds., New Narratives of Urban Space in Republican Chinese Cities: Emerging Social, Legal, and Governance Orders  (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2013), 95-112.

Jacob Soll gave the keynote library history lecture at the American Library Association in Chicago, as well as papers at Cambridge University, the Fondazione Luigi Firpo in Turin and the University Federico Secondo in Naples.  He authored one book chapter, “Accounting and Accountability in Dutch Civic Life,” for a book on Dutch Common Folk, edited by Margaret Jacob and Catherine Secretan (Palgrave), and submitted an article, “The Reception of The Prince 1513-1700, and the Origins of the Modern Meaning of Machiavelli,” for a special issue on Machiavelli of the journal Social Research.  He further authored two op-ed pieces for the Boston Globe, another for the Qatar Foundation’s Magazine Think (where his article was paired with pieces by Bono and the former Archbishop of Canterbury) as well as the first book review ever to be published in the Chronicle of Higher Education (forthcoming) on the new English edition of Arlette Farge’s classic The Allure of the Archives (Yale).  He also finished the manuscript of his forthcoming book, The Reckoning: Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations (Basic, 2014), 380 pages, now in line-editing phase.  Soll was appointed to the Provost’s Review Committee for the University Library and on October 8th, he will deliver the Huygens-Descartes Lecture, a public talk at the historic Zuilenzaal on the history of science to the City of Amsterdam.

Kevin Starr gave the keynote address at the annual conference of the Josiah Royce Society, held this August in Grass Valley, California, Royce's birth place.  In addition, Kevin has joined the blue ribbon panel for the 75th anniversary observance for the 75th anniversary celebration of the publication of The Grapes of Wrath being organized by CSU Bakersfield.



Spring 2013

Professor Marjorie Becker has been invited to participate, with Prof. David St. John, in "Peruvian Portals: A Cross-Cultural Hymn."  This assessment of Quechua poetry and Andean history will take place at the Fisher next fall.

Professor Sarah Gualtieri has been invited to present a paper at the International Immigration History Conference, " A Century of Transnationalism", at UCLA on April 26, 2013. 

Professor Wolf Gruner’s article “Peregrinations into the Void? German Jews and their Knowledge about the Armenian Genocide during the Third Reich” (Central European History 2012) was translated into Armenian and published in three chapters in the journal:  Nor Or Weekly.

Professor María Elena Martínez was awarded a 2012-2013 Mellon Mentoring Award in the Faculty to Graduate Students category. 

Recent PhD Graduate Catherine Clark (modern Europe and Visual Studies), has been offered a tenure track appointment at MIT.

Recent PhD Graduate Ben Uchiyama (modern Japan), has been offered a tenure track appointment at the University of Kansas.

Recent PhD Graduate Kristina Buhrman (pre-modern Japan), has been offered a tenure track appointment at Florida State University.

Professor Joan Piggott has published the first in a series of articles and translations of the eighth-century Japanese law code, known as the Yoro Code, in "Gender in the Japanese Administrative Code, Part 1: Laws on Residence Units." The article appears in the Teikyo Journal of History 28.

Professor Judith Bennett gave a talk on feminist canons at the University of Oslo in January and talks on women and poverty at the University of Glasgow in February and the University of Antwerp in March.

Graduate Student Mark Braude has won the Gargan Prize for the best graduate student essay from the Western Society for French History for his paper “Prince Rainier of Monaco and Princess Grace of Hollywood: Myth, Media and the Wedding of the Century.”

Undergraduate history major Jasneet Aulakh has won a Fulbright fellowship for India.

Professor Wolf Gruner published the book in German "Gedenkort. Rosenstraße 2-4: Internierung und Protest im NS-Staat" (Memorial. Rosenstrasse 2-4. Internment and protest in Nazi Germany), hrsg. von der Topographie des Terrors, Hentrich Verlag Berlin 2013. He gave a lecture at the memorial "Topography of Terror" in Berlin on February, 26th 2013, where the book was presented and the 70th anniversary of the so called factory raid and the public protest against the deportations of Jews in the Rosenstrasse was remembered.

Professor Vanessa Schwartz’s article, “LAX: Designing for the Jet Age” is now published in DeWit and Alexander, LA Overdrive (Getty, 2013) and her work will be integrated into the exhibition of the same name, opening in April. 

Undergraduate history major Roza Petrosyan has won first place in the research category at the USC Undergraduate Writer's Conference with her honors thesis in history "Voiceless Heroes:  Female Resistance During the Armenian Genocide" (2012).

Graduate Student Sari Siegel was selected as a participant for The Annual Summer Institute on the Holocaust and Jewish Civilization - Northwestern University 2013.

Graduate Student Natasha Pesaran was accepted by Middlebury College for their prestigious Arabic language program and received also a Critical Language Scholarship sponsored by the US State Department for Morocco for summer 2013. She declined the former and accepted the latter.

Professor Vanessa Schwartz has just published an essay, “Film and History” in the electronic journal of Sciences Po called Histoire@Politique.

Professor Daniela Bleichmar is pleased to note that her book was awarded the PROSE award for best book in the History of Science, Medicine, and Technology in 2012 from the Association of American Publishers. 

Graduate Student Sari Siegel's article, “Treating Dr. Maximilian Samuel: A Case Study of an Auschwitz
Prisoner Doctor,” has been accepted for publication in the prominent peer-reviewed Journal Holocaust and Genocide Studies and is scheduled to appear in 2014.

Recent PhD Graduate Sarah Keyes has been selected an ACLS/Mellon New Faculty Fellow for 2013-15. She joins an elite group of just 26 such fellows nationwide.

Professor Peter Mancall's "The Raw and the Cold: Five English Sailors in Sixteenth-Century Nunavut," is the lead article in the January 2013 issue of the William and Mary Quarterly.

Undergraduate History Majors Roza Petrosyan, Cara Palmer, and Jasneet Aulakh have been awarded USC Discovery Scholar Prizes for the Academic Year 2012-2013.  This honor, presented to only ten undergraduate students per year, recognizes outstanding and creative undergraduate academic achievement.  The three students will join other outstanding USC scholars at a ceremony during Commencement Week and be greeted by University President C. L. Max Nikias at a reception for the award winners. 

Professor Sarah Gualtieri presented at the thematic conversation, The Arab Uprisings: Media Representations of Women & Youth," at the Middle East Association Conference in Denver, CO, in November.

Graduate Students Nicholas Gliserman and Keith Pluymers have received PhD Dissertation Fellowships for 2013-14 from the Early Modern Studies Institute.

Recent PhD Graduate Jessica Kim has received a tenure track job offer from California State University, Northridge.

Professor Vanessa Schwartz participated in a Presidential Plenary at the AHA in conversation with Bill Cronon, Peter Galison and film director John Sayles. She will be keynoting the conference: Politics in Art Forms in February at USC with a talk, "Beyond Atrocity: Looking at Photojournalism."

Graduate Student Max Felker-Kantor has just published “‘A Pledge Is Not Self-Enforcing’: Struggles for Equal Employment Opportunity in Multiracial Los Angeles, 1964–1982.” Pacific Historical Review 82, no. 1 (February 1, 2013): 63–94.

Steve Ross' Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped America Politics was just named by Choice as one of  its “Outstanding Academic Titles” for 2012.

Professor Jacob Soll authored the review, "I Would Prefer Not To—What Paperwork Means to Modern Life," The New Republic, January, 10, 2013

  • Department of History
  • 3502 Trousdale Parkway
  • Social Sciences Building (SOS) 153
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 90089-0034