William Deverell is Professor of History at USC and Director of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West. His publications explore the environmental, political, social, and cultural history of California and the American West. At USC, he also directs the USC Libraries Collections Convergence Initiative. He received his undergraduate degree in American Studies from Stanford and his graduate degrees in history from Princeton.
The 18th Annual Ruskin Lecture with Amy Woodson-Boulton: "Ruskin's Truths in an Age of Fake News"
Writing at the height of liberalism and laissez-faire political economics, Ruskin advocated for a society that would put human well-being first, ahead of simple measures of wealth or productivity. In truth, much of the underlying logic of Ruskin's period looks similar to our own time of austerity, rapacious free-market capitalism and neoliberalism. Ruskin's perspective gives us a profound means of understanding, not only that logic, but also how people have resisted it, finding news ways to relate to each other, to the economy, and to the natural world.
'Rusted Is Living/Polished Is Dead': Ruskin's Idea in Poems by William Carlos Williams and Marianne Moore
A lecture/reading by former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, January 22, 2017. Mount Saint Mary's University, Doheny campus, Los Angeles.
"The Exiles" and the Challenge of Poverty: A Screening and a Conversation with Ron Austin.
February 23, 2017: USC School of Cinema Arts
"The Exiles," a feature-length documentary of Native Americans living near LA's Skid Row provides a remarkable glimpse into the daily reality of their lives. Filmed in the late 1950s, "The Exiles" reflected the growing alienation of many young Americans at the time. From the perspective of more than half a century, "The Exiles" raises still-pertinent questions about the nature of contemporary urban poverty.
After the screening, Ron Austin, one of the film's producers, reflects on the film and its themes with Levan Institute director Dr. Lyn Boyd-Judson.
The 17th Annual Ruskin Lecture with Sara Atwood: “‘A pile of feathers’: Valuing Education in a Market Society”
In recent years, the market has extended its reach ever more alarmingly into schools, universities, and educational reform initiatives. More and more, education is equated primarily with national and global economic success. Increased emphasis on testing, standardization, and measurement, a decrease in fine arts programs, and a growing tendency to treat students as consumers, point to a disturbing shift in our understanding of the value of education. At the same time, there is a growing lack of preparedness, curiosity, and cultural literacy amongst students. Today, disagreement persists about access, curricula, standards, teacher training and other subjects. Sara Atwood will consider how Ruskin’s ideas might productively inform our educational debates.
Current Guild Master in the United Kingdom, Clive Wilmer lectures on Ruskin’s ecological vision and his own current work — co-sponsored by Ruskin Art Club, USC Environmental Studies Program, and USC Dornsife.
Poets Dana Gioia and Victoria Chang share their views on the current state of poetry in a Q&A session following a reading of their work at L.A.'s Ruskin Art Club, 11/7/2012.
Gioia is author of four collections including "Interrogations at Noon," winner of the 2002 American Book Award. Dana Gioia, poet and former NEA Chairman, reads from his work at the Ruskin Art Club, 11/7/12.