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History News

Peter La Chapelle ’02 takes a cue from Woody Guthrie and finds his own way to persevere.

In My Opinion

May 7, 2013

Most historians start off not with a rich vein of sources, but with some basic information and a hunch. That is where historical imagination makes its entrance. R.G. Collingwood’s turn of phrase “historical…

Historian Deborah Harkness breathes life into the mysteries of the past by embroidering fiction onto gaps in the historical record. At the centerpiece of her <em>All Souls Trilogy</em> of books is the perplexing, real-life manuscript Ashmole 782, originally donated to the Bodleian Library at Oxford University in 1858. Photo by John Livzey.

The Dark of Harkness

May 7, 2013

Deborah Harkness believes the pages of centuries-old manuscripts are enchanted. Like clues to a mystery, they hold the key to unraveling the chronology, ambitions, failures and successes of those who lived before us. And…

Jacob Soll, professor of history who arrived Summer of 2012, has a joint appointment with the USC Leventhal School of Accounting. A MacArthur fellow in 2011 and Guggenheim fellow from 2009 to 2010, Soll was recruited from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Illustration by Bill Sanderson.

Hire Purpose: Jacob Soll

May 7, 2013

You’re at a dinner party and the vichyssoise is a mere memory, the smoked velouté of partridge is gone and you’re deep into the butterscotch budino. What’s the one subject that has not been broached?…

Adorned with sandalwood paste and roses, this white marble statue of a Jain Tirthankara, or Jina, an enlightened being who teaches Jainism, is from a temple in Bikaner, Rajasthan, Northwest India. Photo courtesy of James McHugh.

Sense and Sensuality

April 9, 2013

Uproar, Moon Juice, Outrage and Who’s He? Despite their deceptively avant-garde names, these are in fact medieval Indian perfumes, created and titled almost a thousand years ago at a time when the sense of smell played a…

USC Dornsife Professor of History and Accounting Jacob Soll (left) and Nathan Perl-Rosenthal, assistant professor of history, are approaching their research in innovative ways. Soll photo by Geraldine Bruneel, Paris. Perl-Rosenthal photo by Ben Pack.

New Stars of Yore

January 22, 2013

One of the top-20 history departments in the nation just got stronger. USC Dornsife’s Department of History has recruited MacArthur Fellow Jacob Soll from Rutgers University, who is using his innovative talents to…

Deborah Harkness, professor of history in USC Dornsife, has been named a "Woman of Influence" by Mount Holyoke College. Her recent novels, <em>A Discovery of Witches</em> and <em>Shadow of Night</em>, are <em>New York Times</em> bestsellers. Photo by Vania Stoyanova.

An Influential Woman

October 23, 2012

Deborah Harkness remembers the “ah-ha” moment that set her off on her intellectual journey. She was an undergraduate Renaissance studies major at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Mass., when one day in class…

The Arch of Sorrow marking the entrance to the museum built on the site of The Akmolinsk Camp for the Wives of the Traitors of the Fatherland (ALZHIR). Photo by Azade-Ayse Rorlich.

Steppes Ahead

October 1, 2012

Descending from the upholstered comfort of their van into the vast, windswept steppe of Northern Kazakhstan, six USC Dornsife students gazed about them at an abandoned guard tower and the futuristic-looking Arch of Sorrow…

A leader in the field of women's studies and history, USC Dornsife's Lois Banner has written a new book breaking stereotypes that have haunted Marilyn Monroe since her death at age 36 a half century ago. Banner photo by Roger Snider.

The 50-Year Itch

August 1, 2012

Marilyn Monroe’s biographers haven’t always been kind. Since she was found dead in her Brentwood, Calif., home on Aug. 5, a half-century ago, she’s been portrayed anywhere from bimbo and victim to tempestuous…

Troy Polamalu, Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety, made good on a promise to return to USC Dornsife and finish his studies toward a bachelor's degree in history. Photo by Duane Ryder.

Steely Determination

July 30, 2012

When Troy Polamalu left Los Angeles to join the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2003, he vowed to return and complete his college education. On May 13, 2011, he traded in his black and gold Steelers helmet and jersey for a black…

Rosina Lozano, who earned a Ph.D. in history in 2011 and Vlad Vicol, who received a Ph.D. in mathematics in 2010, both in USC Dornsife, were hired onto the faculty at Princeton University. Lozano photo by Nick Vossbrink. Vicol photo courtesy of Vlad Vicol.

On the Tenure Track

July 30, 2012

Vlad Vicol who earned a Ph.D. in mathematics in 2010 and Rosina Lozano who received a Ph.D. in history in 2011, both in USC Dornsife, have been appointed assistant professors at Princeton University. Lozano, who came to USC…