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Humanities News

Welcome New Faculty

September 23, 2015

USC Dornsife welcomes 17 new faculty members for the 2015-16 academic year. Hailing from universities around the world, their experience and academic research span a wide range of disciplines. The new faculty members join…

The USC Dornsife Preceptor Program gives its recent Ph.D. graduates teaching experience as they seek tenure-track positions. English Ph.D. Alex Young is pictured here teaching undergraduates. Photos by Matt Meindl.

Teaching to Learn

September 16, 2015

In 1905, Woodrow Wilson, then president of Princeton University, introduced the preceptorial method — a style of learning wherein small groups of students meet regularly with a faculty member for more intimate learning…

American sailors faced multiple perils at sea as they struggled to gain recognition of their rights as citizens during the turbulent age of revolution.

American Identity at Sea

September 14, 2015

“Now sir, you are dished!” These were the mocking words an 18th-century British boatswain addressed to a captured American sailor as he ripped up the seaman’s identity papers and tossed them overboard. This…

Sari Siegel earned a prestigious 2015-16 Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies Fellowship to further her ground-breaking studies of Jewish prisoner-physicians in Nazi Germany. Photo courtesy of Sari Siegel.

Between Coercion and Resistance

August 25, 2015

In 1930s Cologne, Germany, Maximilian Samuel was a beloved obstetrician-gynecologist and decorated World War I hero. He was also Jewish. Deported to Auschwitz in 1942 with his family, Samuel was selected to become a…

Nancy Lutkehaus, professor of anthropology and political science. Photo by Peter Zhaoyu Zhou.

Institutionalizing the Primitive

August 20, 2015

Walking into the dramatic first-floor gallery of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the visitor is confronted with the towering bis poles collected by Michael Rockefeller on his final expedition to New Guinea.…

Nadya Bair challenges the notion of the “great artist photographer” with her research, instead emphasizing the collaborative role of the network. Photo courtesy of Nadya Bair.

Rewriting Photographic History

August 7, 2015

Nadya Bair has long been entranced by photography. As a child in Moscow, she can remember her grandfather — an aerial photographer during World War II — developing photos in his kitchen. The materiality and…

Ella Watson, a government cleaner, is pictured in her Washington, D.C., home with three grandchildren and her adopted daughter in this 1942 photograph by Gordon Parks.  Photo courtesy of Library of Congress: Farm Security Administration archives.

From Wonder to Detestation

August 3, 2015

Her quiet dignity captured for all time, an elderly African American woman is pictured in her simply furnished but spotless home. Taken by photographer Gordon Parks in 1942, the black and white photograph shows Ella Watson, a…

Poet Claudia Rankine is known for her commitment to social justice. Photo by John Lucas.

Claudia Rankine Joins English Department

July 6, 2015

USC Dornsife has recruited renowned American poet Claudia Rankine as Aerol Arnold Chair of English. She will teach a wide variety of literature and creative writing courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level starting…

Photos courtesy of The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.

Wonder of the West

June 1, 2015

A sepia Los Angeles carnival image reveals an early 20th-century settlement on the brink of metamorphosis into a cityscape. Country store nostalgia still takes center stage, but encroaching urbanization and ubiquitous utility…

Barbara Duffey laughs while comparing a student’s writing piece to a Taylor Swift song during her creative writing class. Photo by Matt Gade/Daily Republic.

Soul of the Machine

May 19, 2015

Longer than she can quite remember, the writer Barbara Duffey ’02 has been mesmerized by machines: both the gears and levers sort, as well as the mortal, warm-blooded kind. She knows that the working parts of most…