Don’t Miss

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Postdoc Industry Career Success Stories: panelists discuss how they transitioned from postdocs to industry professionals. Hosted by USC PDA and USC Stevens Center for Innovation

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 | Noon – 1pm | GFS 207 (UPC) | lunch catered by Chipotle | Flyer | rsvp by emailing


Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellows Lecture Series

The lecture series is designed to give members of the USC community a forum in which to begin a discussion about the methods and stakes of humanistic research, led by leading scholars from other universities who have made and continue to make important contributions both within and across disciplines.

Upcoming Lectures


Adorno held that chamber music is the sonoric embodiment of a sociality otherwise disappearing in modern society. It represented for him a kind of utopian social balance between individuality, on the one hand, and community, on the other. In chamber music he located a sonoric space for a lost sociability, where each musical voice was heard by mutual consent, and where being heard was not defined by the competitive survival of the fittest, the loudest, the most clever.  In chamber music, as a principle of musical organization, Adorno heard and saw musical conversation, give and take, sharing, and musical support of intertwining voices:  in short, both mutual respect and friendship. As he put it, chamber music “practices courtesy” through a process of what he termed “pure doing.”

What are the spatial (visual) and sonoric aesthetics of chamber music as made in the privacy and semi-privacy of domestic enclosures in the Europe of Brahms time, the second half of the nineteenth century? What are the historical trajectories (the archeology)—similarities and differences—of the social phenomena associated with chamber music’s relationship to Bildung as a principal of modern worth and achievement? And, in particular, how are the aesthetic correlatives tied to chamber music visually represented (made a sight), no small matter in a culture already overdetermined by the so-named “visual turn” upon which modernity was founded and remains to this day anchored?

Richard Leppert is Regents Professor and Morse Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature at the University of Minnesota. Leppert’s work is concentrated on the relations of music and imagery to social and cultural construction. He has specific interests in critical theories of the arts and culture from the Frankfurt School to postmodernism. Leppert’s books include, among others, an edition of Essays on Music by Theodor W. Adorno; The Sight of Sound: Music, Representation, and the History of the Body; Art and the Committed Eye: The Cultural Functions of Imagery; and a volume of collected essays, Sound Judgment, for the Ashgate Press series, Contemporary Thinkers on Critical Musicology.


Past Lectures

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By: Giorgio Bertellini, Associate Professor in the Departments of Screen Arts and Cultures and Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Michigan.

Leavey Library Auditorium, on April 22, 2014, 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm.

In the early 1920s, Hollywood’s superstar  Rudolph Valentino and Italian dictator  Benito Mussolini gained outstanding  popularity in America. Their fame resonated with a widespread fascination for narratives casting a white, charismatic leading man  capable of presiding over a new phenomena often gendered as female: crowds of film fans, political unrest, and an expanded social and political suffrage.   Through a close reading of press and  archival evidence and in dialogue with both star studies and American political history,  my talk seeks to discuss the emergence of an  expansive cultural and political discourse that, by relying on the racial and national alterity  of these two Italian icons, pragmatically  questioned the foundations of democracy against its seemingly mainstream approval.

Light refreshments will be served. For further information, please contact Gaoheng Zhang, Ph.D. at  

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by Dr. Vincent Bruyère on Thursday April 3, from 12pm-1:30pm in THH 170. Lunch will be provided, please RSVP by emailing by Monday, March 31.

Vincent Bruyère is Assistant Professor of French in the Department of French and Italian at Emory University. Professor Bruyère’s first book, La différence francophone – Jean Léry à Patrick Chamoiseau, was published in 2012 with Rennes University Press in France. His primary research focus is on the French Americas, and on questions of research ethics in historiography and health sciences.  His latest book project attempts to write a literary and cultural anthropology of our belief in survival in the age of medical and environmental bioethics. His articles have been published in journals such as L‘Esprit Createur and Intermedialites. In 2012, he was a visiting fellow of the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University.

ABSTRACT: “Medical Humanities in the Exhausting Present”

With this paper, I propose to err on the speculative side with respect to the description of a domain of research. The intervention is speculative in the sense that I will not come up with facts, figures, or definitional outcomes explaining why the domain of Medical Humanities matters, or why it manages to mobilize resources and warrant expenditures. It is a domain to the extent that it occupies a space of answerability that revolves around a question: How do we stay attached to the humanities, understood as social project and discourse of self-formation, in a culture of life, and what forms of life do these attachments take? In that sense, Medical Humanities are less a division of the humanities, or even a division of literature within the research university, than that which endures in effect the disjuncture between the human and life, and endures as a form of reliance in such states of disjuncture.



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A dialogue between two widely-published authors, John Beckman & Tom Bissell. Moderated by Molly Pulda, USC Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholar in the Humanities, English

A dialogue between two widely-published authors, John Beckman, Professor of English at the U.S. Naval Academy, author of American Fun: Four Centuries of Joyous Revolt (Pantheon, Feb. 2014) and Tom Bissell, L.A.-based critic, journalist, writer of video games (including Gears of War: Judgment). Recent books include Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation (Believer Books, 2012) and The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room, the Greatest Bad Movie Ever Made (Simon & Schuster, 2013, co-authored).



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