Steve Ross – Myron and Marian Casden Director

Steven J. Ross is Professor of History at USC. The first person in his family to go to college, Steve received his B.A. from Columbia University, a Bachelor of Philosophy from Oxford University, and a PhD from Princeton University. Professor Ross has written extensively in the areas of working-class history, social history, film history, and political history. His first book, Workers On the Edge: Work, Leisure, and Politics in Industrializing Cincinnati, 1788-1890 (1985) was adapted for the screen by Cincinnati unionists and made into a documentary entitled “They Build the City: The Working People of Cincinnati.” His second book, Working-Class Hollywood: Silent Film and the Shaping of Class in America (1998), received the prestigious Theater Library Association Book Award for 1999. It was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the “Best Books of 1998” and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award in History. Professor Ross’s book, Hollywood Left and Right: How Movie Stars Shaped American Politics, received a Pulitzer Prize nomination and a Film Scholars Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. This is the academic equivalent of an “Oscar.” The New York Times Book Review selected it as one of its “Recommended Summer Readings” for 2012.

Steve’s most recent book, Hitler in Los Angeles: How Jews Foiled Nazi Plots Against Hollywood and America (Bloomsbury Press), was named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History for 2018, and received the Richard Wall Memorial Award, Theatre Library Association for 2018. It has been on the Los Angeles Times Best Seller list for 21 weeks.

Ross’ Op-Ed pieces have appeared in the Los Angeles TimesWall Street JournalWashington PostTime, International Herald-TribuneNewark Star LedgerWashington IndependentPoliticoHollywood ReporterHuffingtonPost, and Daily Beast. Steve’s work on movie stars and politics has led to appearances on The Today Show, ABC Evening News with Peter Jennings, Nightline with Ted Koppel, CNN’s American Morning and The Situation Room, Fox News, NBC News, and programs broadcast on Canadian, British, French, Swiss, German, and Australian television—as well as numerous documentaries about Hollywood. He has lectured at universities throughout the United States, England, France, Israel, New Zealand, and Australia. In addition to his academic day job, Ross directs the Casden Institute for the Study of the Jewish Role in American Life.  He is also the co-founder and former co-director of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities at USC.

Lisa Ansell – Assistant Director

Lisa Ansell received her B.A. in French and Near East Studies from UCLA; her M.A. in Middle East Studies from Harvard, was the Chair of the World Language Department of New Community Jewish High School for five years before coming to USC in August, 2007. Lisa Ansell currently teaches Hebrew Language at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion.