University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences is the heart of the University of Southern California. The largest, oldest and most diverse of USC’s 19 schools, USC Dornsife is composed of more than 30 departments and dozens of research centers and institutes. USC Dornsife is home to approximately 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students and more than 750 faculty members with expertise across a spectrum of academic fields.

Our frontline scholars are working to find solutions to society’s toughest challenges by advancing human health, preserving and improving our environment, and strengthening our communities. Together, we are defining scholarship of consequence for the 21st century.

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Displaying 1 - 20 of 66 articles

Saint Patrick. Thad Zajdowicz

10 things to know about the real St. Patrick

There are many myths associated with St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. But Patrick's own writings and early biographies reveal the person behind the legend.
Moviegoers familiarize themselves with the joystick that will allow them to interact with the film ‘I’m Your Man’ during its premiere on Dec. 16, 1992. AP Photo/Richard Harbus

From Smell-O-Vision to Astrocolor, the film industry’s biggest innovation flops

Sound, color and special effects transformed the moviegoing experience. These inventions decidedly did not.
California’s 1994 fight over immigration parallels the present-day U.S. AP Photo/Nick Ut

When the next generation looks racially different from the last, political tensions rise

In the 1990s, older Californians struggled to make way for a younger, more diverse generation. Here’s how that 'racial generation gap’ transformed the state – and what it means for the rest of the US.
Relics of St. Valentine of Terni at the basilica of Saint Mary in Cosmedin. Dnalor 01 (Own work)

The ‘real’ St. Valentine was no patron of love

Valentine's Day originated as a feast to celebrate the decapitation of a third-century Christian martyr, or perhaps two. So how did the day become a celebration of love?
King of a technologically advanced country, Black Panther is a scientific genius. Marvel Studios

The hidden superpower of ‘Black Panther’: Scientist role models

Seeing black lead characters who are accomplished scientists could be just the thing to help inspire future generations to follow in their footsteps.
President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress. Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

3 key quotes from Trump’s first State of the Union, explained

Trump touted his administration's economic successes and laid out his immigration plan in an 80-minute speech to Congress. Our experts weigh in.
North Korean women work at the cashier table of a bookstore in Pyongyang, North Korea. AP Photo/Ng Han Guan

Inside North Korea’s literary fiction factory

The state-produced stories, which include tales about apartment lotteries, theme parks and the Clintons, might seem absurd. But they offer a window into the regime's priorities and anxieties.
Searching for victims after a rain-triggered mudslide that blanketed a village and killed at least 178 people in north China’s Shanxi province, Sept. 13, 2008. AP Photo/Andy Wong

Global toll from landslides is heaviest in developing countries

While the Montecito, California mudslides took 20 lives, landslides kill far more people in developing countries. Tighter construction standards and early warning systems could help reduce their toll.
Science is one thread of culture – and entertainment, including graphic books, can reflect that. 'The Dialogues,' by Clifford V. Johnson (MIT Press 2017)

New ways scientists can help put science back into popular culture

You might not think much about science topics as part of your everyday life. But science – like art, music, religion – is part of our culture, and scientists can help it reclaim its rightful place.
The tomb of Abelard and Héloise. Alexandre Lenoir, via Wikimedia Commons

What a medieval love saga says about modern-day sexual harassment

An affair between a philosophy professor and his teenage student became the subject of ballads in the streets of Paris in the 12th century. A scholar asks: Why wasn't it called sexual harassment?
Worshippers depart a church service at the Crystal Cathedral megachurch in Garden Grove. Jonathan Alcorn/Reuters

How California’s megachurches changed Christian culture

California megachurches played a significant role in how millions of people - Christian or not - understand Christianity.
A small – but powerful – Latino middle class has emerged in California, led by elites like State Senator Kevin de Leon. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Latino elites are paying the California dream forward

Scholars say elites are critical to helping ethnic communities thrive. So, who are the Latino elites and what work are they doing for their community?
Is the California Dream still alive and well? Ivan Aleshin/

Imagining the ‘California Dream’

Millions of people have imagined California, but only one man was its historian.

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