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Humanities

The Humanities explore the human condition. It pertains to everything and anything derived from human creation such as art, literature, language, philosophy, and religion. The Humanities emphasize the development and mastery of critical thinking, analytical, and qualitative skills moreover than empirical methods utilized in the natural and social sciences.

The Humanities majors in the Dornsife College:

African American Studies

African American Studies is a multidisciplinary program designed to provide a critical understanding of the historical, cultural, social, and political experience of African Americans, with particular emphasis on the development and culture of the African American communities in California and the West as well as on both historical and contemporary effects of global issues on African American communities. The program is particularly appropriate for students preparing to work and interact with diverse communities and cultures in the United States and abroad in such fields as education, human services, law, business, journalism, and public administration.

Advisor: Cynthia Mata-Flores
E-mail: cmflores@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 450

American Studies and Ethnicity

American Studies and Ethnicity integrates the study of history with literature, the arts, and the social sciences in an effort to understand the diverse peoples and cultures that have composed the United States. This interdisciplinary major covers critical perspectives on regional, ethnic, class, and gender diversity. An education in American Studies and Ethnicity will be particularly appropriate for students interested in pursuing careers in law, journalism, government, foreign service, social work, international business, public administration, and education.

Advisor: Cynthia Mata-Flores
E-mail: cmflores@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 450

Art History

Art History combines the study of art with the study of culture. The undergraduate major not only receives sound training in the history of art but also a basis in other humanistic disciplines. The curriculum is designed to guarantee students a general knowledge of both western and eastern art, and to offer a variety of upper division courses in specialized areas. Majors are exposed to a diversity of theoretical approaches and encouraged to sharpen their critical and conceptual thinking. This foundation has enabled many Art History graduates to pursue advanced degrees in nationally-recognized programs, to enter diverse fields, including law or business, and to pursue careers in the arts. A special feature of the undergraduate program is the apprenticeship, which affords upper-division students the opportunity to work in the professional art world in return for academic credit. Students gain valuable job skills in local museums, galleries, auction houses, and art foundations. Apprenticeship placement is also available during the summer months throughout the United States.

Advisor: Jeanne Herman
E-mail: jaherman@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-4552
Office: VKC 351D

Asian American Studies

Asian American Studies is a multidisciplinary program designed to provide a critical understanding of the historical, cultural, social, and political experience of Asian Pacific Americans, with particular emphasis on the development and culture of the Asian American communities in California and the West as well as on both historical and contemporary effects of global issues on Asian American communities. The program is particularly appropriate for students preparing to work and interact with diverse communities and cultures in the United States and abroad in such fields as education, human services, law, business, journalism, and public administration.

Advisor: Cynthia Mata-Flores
E-mail: cmflores@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 450

Chicano/Latino Studies

Chicano/Latino Studies is a multidisciplinary program designed to provide a critical understanding of the historical, cultural, social, and political experience of Chicanos and Latinos, with particular emphasis on the development and culture of the Chicano/Latino communities in California and the West as well as on both historical and contemporary effects of global issues on Chicano/Latino communities. The program is particularly appropriate for students preparing to work and interact with diverse communities and cultures in the United States and abroad in such fields as education, human services, law, business, journalism, and public administration.

Advisor: Cynthia Mata-Flores
E-mail: cmflores@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 450

Classics

The undergraduate Classics major gives students an understanding of the cultures, languages, and literatures of ancient Greece, Rome, and the Mediterranean world. Classics is a broadly interdisciplinary field. Most courses focus on ancient Greece and Rome, but students in the department also study the impact of classical cultures on later societies and the interactions among various ancient cultures. USC is a member of the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies and the College Year in Athens program. Undergraduate students specialize in one of four tracks: civilization and society; literature and mythology; Greek language, literature and culture; or Latin language, literature and culture. Students complete a language requirement in Latin or Greek, and study texts that have been central to Western scholarship for thousands of years. To supplement classroom instruction, students are encouraged to spend a semester studying in Athens or Rome. Classics majors are encouraged to explore courses in allied fields such as ancient Philosophy, History, Comparative Literature, Art History, and Archaeology. A major in Classics can also be very successfully paired with degrees in a range of other fields. Our students have been known to combine their study of Classics with a number of other pre-professional emphases, majors, and minors, including pre-med, Religion, Cinematic Arts, and Political Science.

Advisor: Roberto Leni
E-mail: leni@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 357

Comparative Literature

Literature captures snapshots of different people, culture and history. In USC College’s Comparative Literature department, the full spectrum of the world’s literature is being analyzed and compared—from mythology, drama and biographies, to poetry, novels and films. The programs developed in Comparative Literature have a unique cross-cultural and interdisciplinary approach to study, and our undergraduate program is more broadly conceived than at many other universities. While we offer traditional Comparative Literature courses that cross the boundaries of national literatures and study literary periods, movements, and genres, our courses also allow students to explore literature's social and political contexts and to discover its relation to other arts like film, painting, and music. And a strong non-Western component in the undergraduate program encourages our students to learn more about Asian literary traditions and cultures. Students study Comparative Literature through individualized programs, where topics vary from modernist literature to hip-hop culture. The Comparative Literature major allows students to learn a language in depth, as well as study the literature, art, film and music produced in associated cultures. As a result, Comparative Literature makes an ideal double major with nonliterary fields such as Cinema, History and Philosophy—and even with fields outside the humanities like Journalism, International Relations, Business, and pre-medical or pre-law programs. Comparative Literature majors follow one of two tracks: the Literature/Media/Critical Thought track or the Foreign Language track. The requirements for both tracks of the major accommodate very well semesters of study abroad.

Advisor: Roberto Leni
E-mail: leni@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 357

East Asian Area Studies

USC College’s East Asian Area Studies program is interdisciplinary by design, drawing on faculty from various departments in the College and throughout USC. With a strong curriculum and faculty, an East Asian Library, and USC’s urban location, the program is poised for a leadership position in East Asian scholarship and research. East Asian Area Studies (EAAS) is a major appropriate for students with a broad interest in East Asia, especially China, Japan and Korea. In addition to being an excellent first major, EAAS is a very attractive double major for students in other programs and in professional schools (Business, Cinema, Engineering, etc.) who want to make East Asia part of their personal and professional futures.

Advisor: Jier Dong
E-mail: jierdong@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2991
Office: CLH 101

East Asian Languages & Cultures

USC College’s East Asian Languages and Cultures department provides students with a well-rounded education on East Asia by focusing on the study of the languages, linguistics, literature, thought, and civilizations of China, Japan, and Korea. Undergraduate students typically concentrate on one East Asian language and culture while also taking broader survey courses on East Asia as a cultural unit. For this reason, one frequently hears students on campus speaking about "majoring" in Japanese, Chinese, or Korean, though strictly speaking all these students are actually majoring in EALC. However, students are not restricted to focus their studies on one language or culture. The B.A. programs strongly emphasize language for effective communication in East Asia. Undergraduates may elect to complete up to one year of their coursework in East Asia through the study-abroad programs administered by USC’s Office of Overseas Studies. The progressive degree program in East Asian Languages and Cultures permits exceptional undergraduate students to receive both a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Arts in East Asian Languages and Cultures within five years.

Advisor: Lisa Kamrany
E-mail: lkamrany@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 357

English/Creative Writing

The Department of English offers a broad range of courses in English, American, and Anglophone literature of all periods and genres, and in related areas such as creative and expository writing, literature and visual arts, ethnic literature and cultural studies, the history of the English language and of literary criticism, and literary and cultural theory. Class sizes are limited to 25 to enable full discussion (16 in creative writing workshops). Instructors assign extensive reading and writing in order to help students become perceptive readers, critical thinkers, and strong writers – skills that are their own lasting rewards and that also help prepare students for several areas of graduate study and for a number of professional and creative pursuits. USC College’s English department offers B.A. degree programs in English and English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. To develop as a scholar and writer, students can combine an English major with another area of literature, Journalism, or Cinema-Television Critical Studies. The department’s wide-ranging faculty include published poets, novelists, cultural critics, essayists, and literary historians. They are experts in medieval and Renaissance, and 18th- and 19th-century literature, critical theory, film and popular culture, gender and queer studies, minority discourse, postcolonialism, modernism, rhetoric and romanticism. English’s award-winning faculty has made a reputation for itself nationally for its embrace of diverse theoretical approaches and its encouragement of interdisciplinary studies. Studying English can increase one’s opportunities in any career. English graduates often pursue advanced academic work, but often venture into a variety of fields including business, medicine, law, education, and social work.

Advisor: Rebecca Woods
E-mail: rrwoods@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3725
Office: THH 404H

Advisor: Flora Ruiz
Email: fruiz@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3728
Office: THH 404H

French

The study of French involves the mastery of the language and its literary and cultural expressions in fiction, non-fiction, dramatic, cinematic, and poetic texts, as well as the study of social and political institutions within the context of intellectual history. The department offers a variety of classes in French, as well as some courses with readings and discussion in English to satisfy diverse needs. Topics range broadly from the study of a single author to a literary genre; from current events to cinema; from gender studies to literary criticism. At USC, language study transcends textbooks and dictionaries. The USC College Language Center offers computer and media technology that help students learn more about the language and people through film, television, and small-group conversation. Courses are kept small to allow for maximum interaction between students and professors. Students often study abroad. The department runs a summer program in Dijon, France; students also attend semester-long or year-long programs in Paris. Employment opportunities include internships with consular offices, companies with large local offices in Los Angeles, and work-abroad programs in French-speaking countries. Faculty and staff have many contacts and keep students informed of opportunities.

Advisor: Josephine Le
E-mail: kpn@dornsife.usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 357

Gender Studies

The Gender Studies Program explores, across disciplines and cultures, the changing roles, functions and images of women and men from feminist perspectives. The undergraduate major focuses on the evidence and argument about what the places of women and men are in culture and what they should be. Course offerings include a community internship and senior seminar. Professors bring insights from fields such as History, Religion, English, Cinema-Television, Law, Sociology, and Anthropology. The department offers a B.A. for majors, drawing on feminist scholarship from biology and psychology to religion, literature and the arts. One popular area of study is the development of feminism throughout history, from ancient civilization to the 20th century. In Gender Studies, students work with faculty to individualize their curriculum and can extend their research across film, art and literature. All majors have a faculty mentor from the department who meets with them throughout their undergraduate years. Opportunities for fieldwork abound in Los Angeles, where people represent a broad range of gender identities and complexities.

Advisor: Jeanne Weiss
E-mail: jeannew@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2792
Office: THH 422

Health & Humanity

The Health and Humanity major intended for students interested in fields that inform the health professions and in related questions about health and human experience. Courses in this interdisciplinary major meet many of the requirements for admission to the professional programs in medicine, nursing, and other fields. Experiential learning is an important component of the Health and Humanity major, and a health-related internship is required. In addition, students select an emphasis in one of seven areas: Bioethics; Health, Gender, and Ethnicity; Health and Aging; Health and the Mind; Biological Sciences; Biochemistry; or Biotechnology.

Advisor: Karla Rivera
E-mail: krivera@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2534
Office: CAS 120

History

The History Major exposes students to deep connections between the study of past times and places, and the roots of that study in human concerns about values, identities, issues, and policies. Historians are analysts of complex data, exotic documents, and mysterious images, and writers of persuasive prose. The Department of History offers courses in ancient, medieval and modern European history, including Russian history; in both North and Latin American history; in the history of East Asia; and in world history. Through the years, the department has cultivated great strengths in the history of California and the American West. Some of the department’s courses are chronological, some national or regional, and some are thematic, with special strengths in gender, race and ethnicity, popular culture, medicine, and urban history. Students are encouraged to sample courses that focus on different periods and places, but are required to take at least three courses from a thematic, temporal, or geographic concentration. In their courses, students encounter the peoples and cultures of the past and develop skills in critical thinking, research, and writing essential for understanding the present. Research assistantships and internships are often available for undergraduate History majors seeking engagement in History outside the classroom. Recent opportunities include work with a professor in the History department doing research for a volume in the Oxford History of the United States series entitled American Origins, or archival work with the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, which houses nearly 52,000 videotaped testimonies from Holocaust survivors and other witnesses. Some History majors go on to graduate studies and careers in schools, universities, and archives. Others find that they are highly prepared for law school, journalism, politics, social services, or any number of other jobs that require analytical skills.

Advisor: Melissa Borek
E-mail: mborek@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-1659
Office: SOS 153

Italian

The study of Italian involves the mastery of the language and its literary and cultural expressions in fiction, non-fiction, dramatic, cinematic, and poetic texts, as well as the study of social and political institutions within the context of intellectual history. The department offers a variety of classes in Italian, as well as some courses with readings and discussion in English to satisfy diverse needs. Topics range broadly from the study of a single author to a literary genre; from current events to cinema; from gender studies to literary criticism. At USC, language study transcends textbooks and dictionaries. The USC College Language Center offers computer and media technology that help students learn more about the language and people through film, television and small-group conversation. Courses are kept small to allow for maximum interaction between students and professors. Students often study abroad. The department runs a summer program in Verona, Italy; students also attend semester-long or year-long programs in Florence or Milan. Employment opportunities include internships with consular offices, companies with large local offices in Los Angeles, and work-abroad programs in Italian-speaking countries. Faculty and staff have many contacts and keep students informed of opportunities.

Advisor: Josephine Le
E-mail: kpn@dornsife.usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 357

Judaic Studies

A Bachelor of Arts in Religion with an area of emphasis in Judaic Studies is offered cooperatively by the USC School of Religion and the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, an independent college adjacent to the USC campus. Students of the program receive regular course credit and their degrees from USC. The emphasis in Judaic Studies provides the opportunity for in-depth study of Jewish thought, ethics, history, literature, tradition, spirituality, and women's studies using approaches developed through the academic study of religion. It is an interdisciplinary program that challenges and stimulates students to examine and learn about Judaism as a topic of scientific interest.

Narrative Studies

Narrative Studies is a systematic inquiry into the determinants of an effective story. It prepares students for the development and evaluation of original content for novels, films, theatre, and other narrative platforms, but recognizes that the range of professional opportunities in literature and the performing arts is much wider than the roles of author, screenwriter, or playwright. To recognize a good story, to critique, help shape, realize, and transform it requires a background in the history of narrative, cross-cultural and contemporary models, and an understanding of the broader context of popular culture.

Advisor: Flora Ruiz
E-mail: fruiz@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3728
Office: THH 404

Philosophy

The School of Philosophy offers courses in most areas of philosophy, including philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, epistemology, metaphysics, logic, philosophy of science, political philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, the history of philosophy, phenomenology, and existentialism. The major in Philosophy is designed to acquaint students with the fundamental problems of Western thought and introduce them to the concepts and techniques necessary for independent philosophical thinking; it is equally intended to provide a broadening perspective for the various areas of specialization in the natural and social sciences and in literature and the arts. The School of Philosophy offers two major options: the major in Philosophy and the major in Philosophy with an emphasis on Ethics, Law and Value Theory. The beautiful Hoose Library of Philosophy maintains an impressive collection of traditional and electronic media to support research efforts. The undergraduate Philosophy Club enables students to meet, share knowledge and discuss topics outside the classroom. Weekly lecture events are hosted by the department in which leading philosophical scholars from around the nation present their research and theories.

Advisor: Erica Wasserman
Email: ebronste@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2534
Office: CAS 120

Philosophy, Politics, & Law

This interdisciplinary major combines in a systematic and structured way basic education in philosophy, political theory, and elements of law. It may be of particular interest to students contemplating post-graduate work in law; those interested in a career in public service or politics; and those attracted by the rigor of philosophy, and its attention to foundational issues, who are also interested in politics and law. Students are exposed to a wide range of conceptual and methodological approaches, while learning enough philosophy and political science to leave a choice of options for graduate schools.

Advisor: Erica Wasserman
Email: ebronste@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2534
Office: CAS 120

Religion

The School of Religion offers courses in the following areas of religious studies: Bible and ancient near eastern religions; religion in world societies; ethics and theology; and religion and American life. Courses are designed to facilitate the appreciation and critical evaluation of all religious traditions in the light of past and present scholarship. An opportunity is also provided to undergraduates to focus on the social and ethical contributions and implications of humankind's religious heritages through the study of business and medical ethics. Opportunities for comparative religious study abound. USC and its surrounding neighborhood serve more than a dozen distinct faith communities. Students also have the opportunity to take courses at Hebrew Union College and receive regular USC course credit. As a discipline involving multiple tools—literary analysis, language and cultural studies, sociological data, psychology, and ethics—Religion often leads students to many different kinds of graduate education.

Advisor: Roberto Leni
E-mail: leni@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 357

Russian

From the days of czars to the Cold War to halting steps toward democracy, Russia and Eastern European countries have been consistently influential, enigmatic, and controversial. In USC College’s Slavic Languages and Literature department, faculty and students jointly develop insights into the history and character of this pivotal region, with a special focus on Russia. The Russian major combines thorough preparation in the Russian language with the study of Russian literature, art, and culture. Particular emphasis is placed on developments in contemporary Russia, and the major offers students the opportunity to witness the dramatic renaissance of one of the world's major cultures as it redefines itself and its place in the world. To gain firsthand knowledge of the language and culture, students may study in Moscow, St. Petersburg or a lesser-known Slavic city for a summer, semester, or year. Graduates in Russian are sought after in government, international business, journalism, law, academia and the arts.

Advisor: Susan Kechekian
E-mail: susan@usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-2735
Office: THH 255

Spanish

The Spanish major emphasizes the language, literature, linguistics, and culture of Spain and Latin America. Our location in the largest Spanish-speaking community in the nation, in one of the gateways to Latin America, makes our program particularly attractive and relevant. Professors in USC College’s Spanish department use literature, folklore, cinema, art, music and architecture in small, discussion-driven classes to explore a number of critical contemporary issues. Students are challenged to examine matters such as the growing importance of popular culture in Iberia, Latin America and the Latino United States; the role of race, class and gender within Spanish and Latin American society; and the impact of diasporas and migrations on today’s cultural landscape. Students of Spanish are encouraged to study for a semester or a year at various affiliated universities in Spain, Mexico, Costa Rica, Peru, Chile, Argentina and Brazil, and the department offers on a regular basis an intensive summer program in Madrid. The department encourages students to combine a Spanish major with a double major or minor in another discipline either within the College or other schools at USC. A major in Spanish offers several advantages, which extend beyond the classroom. It will provide you with the opportunity to become better acquainted with Spanish and Latin American culture, language, and literature. Moreover, proficiency in a second language is a desirable and necessary skill for future employment or graduate work. Students with academic preparation in Spanish significantly enhance their career opportunities in such areas as teaching, communications, government service, health, law, public relations, the travel industry, social work, and many other areas.

Advisor: Josephine Le
E-mail: kpn@dornsife.usc.edu
Phone: (213) 740-3800
Office: KAP 357

Notable Alumni

Bart Kosko
B.A. Philosophy and Economics, Class of ‘82
Science Fiction Writer, Professor of Electrical Engineering at USC

Rob Cavallo
B.A. English, Class of ‘85
Chief Creative Officer, Warner Bros. Music; Grammy Award-Winning Music Producer

Heather Rosen
B.A. French, Class of ‘97
USC University Hospital and LAC+USC Hospital Surgical Resident

William Stetson
B.A. Classics, Class of ‘82
Orthopedic Surgeon and Associate Clinical Professor Keck School of Medicine

Deara Okonkwo
B.A. English, Class of ‘08
Dance Studio Owner and Teacher