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Humanities News

Dean’s Professor of History Mary Elise Sarotte stands with USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay following her lecture, “A Broken Promise? The 1990 Origins of NATO’s Post-Cold War Expansion.” Photo by Karen Tang.

Investigative Historian

March 16, 2015

How do the behind-the-scenes correspondence among politicians such as Mikhail Gorbachev, former leader of the Soviet Union, and former United States President George H.W. Bush relate to Russia’s recent invasion of…

Japan, Spies and the Roman Empire

Japan, Spies and the Roman Empire

February 17, 2015

Research into a Hollywood-based Jewish spy ring is one of three USC Dornsife faculty research projects that have been honored with a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant for the academic year 2015-16. Steven…

Lincoln's Body by Richard Fox

Grotesque Yet Beloved

February 13, 2015

Speaking to an 1856 convention of newspaper editors in Decatur, Illinois, Abraham Lincoln, never at a loss for a humorous quip or story, told this amusing tale. While riding a horse through the woods, a man Lincoln described…

This is how a mural in the Palace of the Jaguars would have appeared at the height of the ancient Mexican city, Teotihuacan. Illustration by artist Felipe Davalos, courtesy of Justin Underhill.

Art’s Digital Revolution

December 16, 2014

Faded murals line the walls of the Palace of the Jaguars in Teotihuacan in the Valley of Mexico. But centuries ago, the jaguars glistened — illuminated only by natural sunlight — steeped in vibrant reds, blues,…

The yellowing and torn pages of an 18th-century manuscript, some shown in this illustration, are from an unpublished recipe book written by Pennysylvanian Ann Ellis and her English mother, Bettee Saffin. Illustrations by Stephanie Dalton Cowan for <em>USC Dornsife Magazine</em>.

Brave New World

December 2, 2014

Despite its handsome, embossed, brown-calfskin cover and imposing size, the unpublished 18th-century manuscript had been overlooked by academics until Juliette Parsons, a doctoral student in history at USC Dornsife, discovered…

The grave marker of emigrant Lucinda Duncan on the Overland Trail just outside Beowawe, Nevada. Like thousands of other 19th century pioneers who used the trail to cross the continent to Oregon and California, Duncan perished on the journey. Photo by Sarah Keyes.

The Best of the West

November 7, 2014

Tinkling cowbells. A kettle singing on a campfire. The howl of a wolf. The deafening boom of an approaching thunderstorm. Sounds such as these became important harbingers for migrants on the mid-19th century Overland Trail.…

Justin Underhill uses digital animation techniques to explore the use of light in gallery spaces, including the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Underhill is a 2014-16 USC Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Digital Humanities. Image courtesy of Justin Underhill.

Technology and the Humanities

October 20, 2014

Eavesdrop on students at the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ new interactive media building, and you’d expect to overhear discussions on film, video games and multimedia design. But on Oct. 9, these students mingled…

Two children carry containers filled with water in Northern Uganda. Drinking unclean water can lead to many diseases. More than 3.4 million people die each year from water, sanitation and hygiene-related causes. Photos by Justin Arana.

My Name Is Water

October 16, 2014

Justin Arana was traveling the world on a spiritual quest to find himself. The journey was spurred by his grandfather, who had asked if Arana would be happy with the worth of his life if he died the next day. It was 2008,…

Ilana (Tess Lina) meets brilliant but awkward student Suresh (Kapil Talwalkar) in <em>Animals Out of Paper</em>. Photo by Michael Lamont/East West Players.

Socially Conscious Actor

October 8, 2014

Any actor still in college would be thrilled to land a leading role in a big-city Equity production, sharing the stage with only two other actors, both of whom have lengthy stage and screen credits. And then to have the Los…

Winner of a vaunted humanities medal, Marjorie Perloff of English has long championed the work of avant-garde and experimental poets. Photo by Matthew Knip.

Perloff to Receive Humanities Medal

September 18, 2014

One of the foremost critics of 20th- and 21st-century poetry and poetics Marjorie Perloff of USC Dornsife will be honored as the 2014 recipient of Washington University’s International Humanities Medal. The Florence R.…