The Levan Institute for the Humanities serves as a hub for the humanities and humanistic social sciences at the University of Southern California, connecting faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and students across disciplines, departments, programs, and institutes. The Institute complements and coordinates efforts across the humanities, broadly conceived, and develops new initiatives that support research and teaching. The institute’s activities include event series with visiting and local scholars, working groups, career mentorship, and the promotion of humanities work at USC.
The Levan Institute for the Humanities has four priorities:
Promoting, supporting, and increasing community engagement with humanities research at USC that is rigorous, creative, bold, and innovative.
Fostering connections and collaboration across and beyond the humanities at USC, as well as with partners in other institutions and organizations locally, nationally, and internationally.
Pursuing a global focus through research and scholarly collaborations that examine diverse topics from cultures both local and around the world.
Supporting public facing scholarship that connects university-based humanities expertise with publics beyond the university and engages with contemporary issues.
The institute’s founding director is Daniela Bleichmar, Professor of Art History and History, Director of the USC Society of Fellows (2020–) and former Associate Provost for Faculty and Student Initiatives in the Arts and Humanities (2015–2020).
The institute is endowed through a generous gift made to USC by Dr. Norman Levan in 2007. Dr. Levan was a literature major as an undergraduate at USC College (now USC Dornsife), and he also received a Master of Liberal Arts from St. John's University. After earning his medical degree from USC in 1939 and serving in the Army Medical Corps during World War II, Dr. Levan began a long and distinguished career in medicine. He started a practice in dermatology and joined the faculty at the USC School of Medicine, becoming chair of the Department of Dermatology from 1961 to 1981. He established the Hansen's Disease Clinic for leprosy at the Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in 1962. Dr. Levan's gift reflects his lifelong belief in the importance of the humanities. The gift originally funded the USC Levan Institute for Humanities and Ethics (2007–2019).