The Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West (ICW) is a center for scholarly investigation of the history and culture of California and the American West. Through sponsorship of innovative scholarship, research and programming, ICW draws on the resources of the University of Southern California and The Huntington Library to build a unique collaboration amongst a research university, a research library, and the public.


Welcome to ICW’s new website. Some of our menus above have changed and we appreciate your patience as we continue to add features.

Congratulations to USC/ICW Doctoral Student Julia Brown-Burnstein

USC/ICW doctoral student Julia Brown-Bernstein @jbrownbe has been awarded the Cassius Marcellus Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship at Yale University. This two-year fellowship supports research in U.S. history with a focus on the history of the American West and U.S. Mexican Borderlands. While at Yale, Julia will be affiliated with the Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders and with the Yale Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration.

Congratulations, Julia!

Dr. Naomi Sussman Joins University of Oregon

ICW is excited to share that Postdoctoral Fellow with the USC Society of Fellows and ICW Affiliated Scholar Dr. Naomi Sussman has accepted a position as an assistant professor in the History Department at the University of Oregon. She will focus on pre-1848 Mexico, its northern borderlands, and the region’s Indigenous histories. Her hire is part of a larger effort to expand Latinx Studies into a degree-granting program and complement existing strengths in Native Studies and Critical Race and Ethnic Studies at UO. Congratulations, Naomi!

From the Directors

On behalf of the Institute on California and the West, welcome to ICW’s website. We invite you to scroll through these pages to see the range of ICW projects over the last two decades. We will mark our 20th anniversary in 2024 and are hopeful you can join us in the celebration. Our work investigating the history and culture of the modern American West is characterized by a set of activities that seek to bridge scholarly and public audiences, dialogues, and contributions to knowledge. We are committed to our work and our many collaborations, and we urge you to reach out to us with questions, comments, and suggestions about other directions we might explore. We take every suggestion seriously, and our dialogues with you strength our work and outreach.

May 9, 2024

The Specters of the Housing Crisis in Section 8 Los Angeles

Abby Gibson

Hotel Cecil; Barclay Hotel; Alexandria Hotel. If you’re interested in bloody tales of true crime and hauntings in Los Angeles, you’ve probably heard the names of these infamous hotels. Located along Spring and Main streets in downtown Los Angeles, these spooky abodes tower as cold stone witnesses to Los Angeles’s most salacious and bloody past. Grim tales of serial killer rampages, suicides, stairway fires, and freak elevator accidents throughout the twentieth century and beyond stalk the halls of these hotels and their surrounding streets in the historic core of Los Angeles; and, if you’re a believer of a world beyond this one, so do ghosts.



Published in partnership with the University of California Press, ICW’s scholarly series Western Histories questions and deepens collective understanding of the history of California and the American West. In addition to the partnership with UC Press, ICW has published stand-alone texts including, Form and Landscape and Past Due.


USC Courses

Through ICW, USC faculty teach undergraduate courses at USC and graduate courses at The Huntington, directly weaving the library’s scholarly materials into the professional training of students. Doctoral and postdoctoral students in USC Dornsife College utilize the breadth of The Huntington collections in their path-breaking research on the history of the American West. At the graduate level, ICW is at the nexus of inter-university collaboration with students and scholars from UCLA, University of California, Riverside, University of California, Irvine, and others.

Study LA

Los Angeles History Syllabi

Drawing on academic partners throughout the region, syllabi from courses focused on Los Angeles history reflect the range of approaches to better understanding this space.

Contact Us

Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

University of Southern California
Van Hunnick Department of History
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Los Angeles Service Academy (LASA)

University of Southern California
Van Hunnick Department of History
Los Angeles, CA 90089

Social Media

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