Peter C. Mancall is a historian of early North America, the early modern Atlantic World, and Native American history. He has written five books, edited ten others, and has written for American Heritage and the Chronicle of Higher Education, as well as historical journals, and his work has been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered” and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” Current projects include American Origins, which will be volume one of the Oxford History of the United States, and Lord of Misrule: Thomas Morton and the Tragic Origins of New England, which is under contract with Basic Books. In 2012 he delivered the inaugural Mellon Distinguished Lectures in the Humanities at the University of Pennsylvania; a revised version of his lectures will be published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2015.  He is USC Distinguished Professor, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, Linda and Harlan Martens Director of the USC-Huntington Early Modern Studies Institute, Professor of History and Anthropology, and Economics.


William Deverell is an American historian with a focus on the nineteenth and twentieth century American West. He has written works on political, social, ethnic, and environmental history. He is the founding director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. He is one of founding directors of the Los Angeles Service Academy, a high school outreach initiative that teaches high school students about the infrastructural networks of Southern Callifornia. He also directs the USC Libraries Collections Convergence Initiative. Current projects include the Chinatown History Project and the West on Fire Initiative.


Sean Fraga is an environmental historian of the North American West and eastern Pacific Ocean during the long nineteenth century. He specializes in connections between U.S. imperial expansion, Native sovereignty, technology, and the environment. Fraga’s digital humanities research focuses on digital mapping and on scholarly uses of augmented reality.

Fraga’s book project, Ocean Fever: Steam Power, Transpacific Trade, and American Colonization of Puget Sound, is under contract with Yale University Press for publication in the Lamar Series in Western History.

Fraga is the project director for Booksnake, a multidisciplinary experiment in mobilizing augmented reality as an interface for scholarly research. Booksnake lets researchers, educators, and students view digitized archival materials in the real world, making it feel like digital items are physically present.


Ann Marie Yasin specializes in Roman and late antique architecture and material culture and holds a joint appointment in the departments of Art History and Classics. Her particular research interests include experience and perception of the built environment, decorative and epigraphic landscapes, commemoration, urbanism, material culture of religion, and long histories of display and reception of sites and artifacts.

Yasin’s writing on social and political dimensions of sacred architecture and art includes her first book, Saints and Church Spaces in the Late Antique Mediterranean: Architecture, Cult, and Community (Cambridge University Press, 2009), and more recent studies on memory and sacred landscapes, spatiality and perception of devotional graffiti, and architectural frameworks of early Christian relic installations. Her current book project, Re-Building Histories: Architectural Temporality from Augustus to Justinian, investigates correlations between architectural restoration and notions of continuity, change, monumentality and ephemerality from the first to sixth centuries CE.

Former Council Members

Lisa Bitel, Dean’s Professor of Religion and Professor of Religion and History

Cavan Concannon, Professor of Religion

Philip J. Ethington, Professor of History, Political Science and Spatial Sciences

Alice Gambrell, Associate Professor of English

Akira Mizuta Lippit, T.C. Wang Family Endowed Chair in Cinematic Arts; Vice Dean of Faculty; Professor of Cinema and Media Studies, East Asian Languages and Cultures, and Comparative Literature

Lisa Pon, Professor of Art History

Daniel Richter, Associate Professor of Classics

Vanessa R. Schwartz, Professor of History, Art History and Critical Studies; Director, Visual Studies Research Institute; Courtesy Appointment in the Department of French and Italian