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Social Sciences News

In a recent Barbra Streisand Lecture, sociologist Eva Illouz said the interactive format E L James used to write <em>Fifty Shades of Grey</em> allowed her to incorporate readers’ feedback, including their own fantasies and desired plot twists. Photos by Erica Christianson.

Hard Core Self-Help

February 6, 2014

Anyone who claims not to have at least heard of E L James’ erotic trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey is either fibbing or has been living on a remote desert island with no Internet access for the past three years. The…

USC Dornsife's Daphna Oyserman, Dean's Professor of Psychology, shares her research during a Jan. 22 Dean's Special Lecture, explaining why we often achieve less than we aspire to and offering solutions to help attain our goals. Photos by Matt Meindl.

Meet Your Future Self

January 30, 2014

“If it’s not cool for a teenage boy in inner-city L.A. to do his science homework, then how will he ever become a brain surgeon?” This thorny question was asked by USC Dornsife Dean Steve Kay as he…

Volunteers might become more effective by spending the same amount of time as activists pressuring politicians to change policies, says Professor of Sociology Nina Eliasoph in her new book, <em>The Politics of Volunteering</em>. Photo by Erica Christianson.

Volunteering Vs. Activism

January 24, 2014

Volunteering is considered almost sacred in modern society. But in her book The Politics of Volunteering (Polity Press, 2013) Nina Eliasoph, professor of sociology at USC Dornsife, says that along with the good, volunteers and…

Lois Banner, retiring professor of history and gender studies who wrote a book about Marilyn Monroe, holds up Monroe's favorite photo of herself by Cecil Beaton and an original oil painting belonging to Monroe by Parisian artist Poucette titled "La Toureau" (the Bull). Photo by Susan Andrews.

A Banner Day

January 16, 2014

As a young professor in the 1960s, Lois Banner was moved by history. She had no idea at the time that she would play such a vital part in it. With ambitions to push forward the nascent field of women’s history, she…

In his role as Warschaw Chair, Robert Shrum will encourage students to engage in politics. He will connect them with elected officials, candidates and their staff members from across the political spectrum to discuss and analyze relevant issues. Photo courtesy of Robert Shrum.

Shrum Named Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics

January 14, 2014

Robert Shrum, a veteran political consultant with experience guiding presidential, senatorial and gubernatorial campaigns, joins USC Dornsife as the Carmen H. and Louis Warschaw Chair in Practical Politics on June…

The Global Ethics Fellows Conference hosted by the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs brings together students from around the world to discuss global ethical challenges. Here, attendees participate in a roundtable discussion as part of the program held in New York Nov. 5 to 8. Photo by Amanda Schmitt.

Advocates for Ethics

December 19, 2013

When an earthquake and tsunami occurred in Futaba, Japan, in March 2011, there was a horrible ripple effect. Not only was the small coastal town devastated by the natural disaster, but the nearby Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear…

Romanticizing the violence of the 19th century American frontiersman as a route to individual freedom is dangerous, USC Dornsife doctoral student Alex Young warns in a prize-winning paper. Doing so can serve as a justification for violent and racist politics, he said.

A New Frontier

December 13, 2013

In Quentin Tarantino’s blood-spattered film Django Unchained, set in pre-Civil War America, the eponymous hero is a black slave who has suffered brutal treatment at the hands of his murderous former owners, the Brittle…

As USC Dornsife's newly appointed associate dean for science and pre health, Erin Quinn is committed to creating compassionate health professionals with an understanding of human behavior and decision-making. Photo by Steve Cohn.

That Vital Human Connection

December 6, 2013

When an elderly Spanish-speaking woman suffering from depression recently became dehydrated, she went to the local emergency room in her hometown of Ventura, Calif. From there, she was transferred to a psychiatric hospital in…

Named a 2013 “Rising Star” by the Association of Psychological Science, Darby Saxbe, assistant professor of psychology at USC Dornsife, measures fluctuations in cortisol levels and uses neuroimaging to study how relationships with family and close friends affect health and well-being. Photo by Susan Bell.

Under the Skin

November 20, 2013

It’s difficult to forget the harrowing images of emaciated, hollow-eyed Romanian orphans whose plight was revealed after the fall of Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu’s brutal regime in 1989. “When children…

A 22-year-old Greta Garbo poses with a USC track coach on campus in 1926. Photo courtesy of Charles Epting.

Bet You Didn’t Know

November 13, 2013

Remember in The Graduate, when a desperate Benjamin Braddock (played by Dustin Hoffman) sped to “northern California” in his beat-up Alfa Romeo Spider to find Elaine? USC stood in for the University of California,…