Mission Statement

The Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities was founded in 1998 to create an intellectual center for our city by bringing together academics, authors, historians, architects, artists, curators, journalists, and poets. Its membership seeks to reflect a genuine “town and gown” composition, an eclectic and cosmopolitan association. The Institute’s broad purpose is to stimulate a cross-disciplinary exchange of ideas. The twice-monthly lunches explore many of the social, scientific, and cultural issues of the day with a greater variety of experience and intellectual outlook gathered in one room than any given Fellow is likely to experience during their daily life. It is hoped that each Fellow’s work will benefit from—and perhaps even be inspired by—the conversations and friendships that grow out of the lunches and more formal events (conferences and public talks) sponsored by the Institute.

The Institute aims to be international, urban, and inclusive in its outlook, avoiding viewpoints predictably to the right or left. It seeks to integrate intellectual life with the active civic life of the city and to reflect the diversity that is so palpably a hallmark of Southern California as it continues through the twenty-first century.

The Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities is sponsored by the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Science at the University of Southern California, which contributes to office and meeting rooms and generously underwrites a portion of the Institute’s annual budget.

-Image above by LAIH Fellow, photographer Noé Montes

LAIH Directors

David Ulin


David L. Ulin is Professor of the Practice of English at the University of Southern California, where he edits the journal Air/Light. He is the author or editor of nearly twenty books, including the novel Thirteen Question Method and Sidewalking: Coming to Terms with Los Angeles, shortlisted for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. He is the former book editor and book critic of the Los Angeles Times, and his work has appeared in The AtlanticHarper’sVirginia Quarterly ReviewThe Paris ReviewThe New York Times, and The Best American Essays 2020. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, and Ucross Foundation, as well as a COLA Master Artist grant from the City of Los Angeles. He is the editor of Didion: The 1960s and 70s, Didion: The 1980s and 90s, and Didion: Memoirs & Later Writings for Library of America.

Louise Steinman


Louise Steinman is a writer, artist, and independent literary curator. She is the author of three books: The Crooked Mirror: A Memoir of Polish-Jewish Reconciliation; The Souvenir: A Daughter Discovers Her Father’s War, and The Knowing Body: The Artist as Storyteller in Contemporary Performance. Her essays have been widely published in U.S. and abroad. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships (Chora Prize; NEA Artist Fellowship; Danish Arts Council) and artist residencies at Rauschenberg Foundation; Warsaw Bauhaus; Ucross, and others. She founded and was the longtime curator of the ALOUD literary and performance series for the Los Angeles Public Library. She is co-director of the Los Angeles Institute for Humanities, USC.

Leo Braudy

Co-Director Emeritus

Dr. Leo Braudy is among America’s leading film critics. Braudy, a frequent finalist for national book awards, teaches Restoration literature and history, American culture after World War Two, popular culture and critical theory, including the histories of visual style and film genres. His work appears in journals such as American Film, Film Quarterly, Genre, Novel, Partisan Review, and Prose Studies– to name a few. His book Jean Renoir: The World of His Films was a finalist for the National Book Award. The Frenzy of Renown: Fame and Its History was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. From Chivalry to Terrorism was named Best of the Best by the Los Angeles Times and a Notable Book of the Year by the New York Times. His most recent book is Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds. Among other publications, he has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal.

Janice Littlejohn

Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn is a journalist, author, and screenwriter. In addition to co-authoring Swirling: How to Date, Mate, and Relate Mixing Race, Culture, and Creed (Atria/Simon & Schuster), Janice contributed to the anthology Reflections: A Collaboration Between Painting and Literature (Pochino Press) and edited All About the Benjamins: Helping People Create Sustainable Wealth in the Midst of Financial Insanity (Amazon). Her screenplay, Those People: A Love Story, was a finalist at the Austin Screenwriter Awards and DreamAgo Plume y Pellicule international screenwriting atelier, and she is producer of “…but can she play?”: Blowing the Roof Off Women Horn Players and Jazz. A contributor to numerous U.S. and international publications, Janice’s reportage has been awarded by the LA Press Club, NABJ, among others. She is a fellow of Hurston/Wright Foundation, Anaphora Literary Arts and LA Institute for the Humanities.

Contact Us

LAIH Address

University of Southern California
Doheny Memorial Library 241
Los Angeles, California