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Humanities News

Holly Payne ’97 today, fully healed 15 years after surviving a drunk driving accident. Photo credit Cindi Kinney.

Writing to Forgive

February 23, 2010

"If I am alive, I am going to write." Holly Payne '97 spoke these words as she lay on the edge of a road beside a cemetery. Seconds earlier, she stopped to assist two stranded cyclists. A passing pickup truck struck all…

Once Upon a Blog

Once Upon a Blog

February 18, 2010

Tell me a story. That edict drives journalism, a craft I chose to pursue when I entered USC in the fall of 1982. Good writing is the backbone of the storytelling done in journalism, along with the good reporting that…

Auteur Rockstar Strikes A Chord

Auteur Rock Star Strikes a Chord

February 11, 2010

Listening to a brooding cello concerto, the writer strikes the keyboard as he begins his short story or book. He begins, yet does not know where it will end until he arrives there. "You know, it's hard for me to do this -- to…

James McHugh of USC College has been offered a Society Fellowship at Cornell University’s Society for the Humanities to complete his book about scent in medieval India. Photo credit Steve Cohn.

The Sweet Smell of Success

February 9, 2010

Imagine a figure wrapped in fine silk, dripping with diamonds and bathed in a cloud of exotic perfume. Is this a celebrity, a diva, the ghost of Liberace? According to James McHugh, assistant professor of religion in USC…

Historian & Author Extraordinaire

Historian and Author Extraordinaire

January 27, 2010

Back in Widener Library at Harvard University during the late ’60s, an American historiographer was born. University Professor and Professor of History in USC College, Kevin Starr researched and wrote five chapters for…

From Barbies to Rockets

From Barbies to Rockets

January 27, 2010

No longer do we live in a world divided into two cultures. The literary artist, like the scientist, must embrace science and technology. Telling science stories is an excellent way to do this, though many writers balk at the…

Illustration by Rick Cortes.

The Magic Poetry Bus

January 27, 2010

I grew up within poetry — the sound of my mother’s voice reciting Great Poems. The poetry she recited was canonical: Shakespeare, Milton, Tennyson, Dickinson, Longfellow — but the way she told these poems…

Crime novelist, trained psychologist and USC College Ph.D. graduate Jonathan Kellerman. Photo credit Blake Little Photography.

Reading the Mind

January 27, 2010

Many budding writers would give anything to get inside the heads of best-selling authors to learn their secrets to success. Crime novelist Jonathan Kellerman ’74 can spare them the trouble. As a trained psychologist,…

Juli Berwald ’98 is a freelance science writer who earned her Ph.D. in ocean science from USC College. Photo courtesy of Juli Berwald.

Power Writing

January 27, 2010

The words were written in large, red letters across the top of the page — "Go see the writing counselor. Her phone number is..." I had just received my first, graded essay as a college freshman in a class called…

Lyn Boyd Judson, director of the Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics, housed in USC College, contemplates the sculpture, "Life," created by Junxian Poon. Photo credit Pamela J. Johnson.

The Art of Ethics

January 27, 2010

Go ahead, gripe. It's not against the law or anything. But have you considered your negativity's impact on others? Constant exposure to a Debbie Downer or Bob Bummer can be like inhaling second hand smoke. It's repugnant, but…