USC Libraries - USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study

University of Southern California

USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study

“If there were a single word that might be the academy’s proclamation it would be discovery.”—Sidney Harman


Wednesday, October 10 2012
5:00 pm to 6:30 pm


DML 241


Undergraduate-Oriented but Open to All


Military Science in the 21st century is polymathic by definition.  Today, the US military is called upon in times of crisis to assist communities in all corners of the world hit by earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear disasters, and famine.  The modern ROTC student majors in such diverse and complex areas as physics and nuclear engineering, linguistics, civil and mechanical engineering, geospatial information science, environmental science, or comparative culture and politics.  Lt. Col. Kirkland, Ph.D. in history, will engage students in conversation about the truly interdisciplinary education of today’s soldier.

Lt. Col. Robert O. Kirkland

Lt. Col. Robert O. Kirkland

Robert Kirkland is the commander of the Army ROTC battalion at USC.  He previously served as the Chief Historian for all U.S. and Allied Military Forces in Iraq.  Lieutenant Colonel Kirkland has written extensively on U.S-Latin American civil-military relations and has appeared on the History Channel and been interviewed by numerous media outlets.   He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Pittsburgh and has held faculty appointments at the United States Military Academy and Claremont McKenna College, and currently teaches military science and history courses at Columbia College (MI) and USC.

Fall 2014 Series

Quadrant Series with Edwin McCann

The Academy for Polymathic Study guides its enquiries through four flexible pathways or Quadrants:  (1) critical and integrative thinking; (2) study of the polymaths; (3) the tapestry of knowledge; and (4) communication.

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Undergraduate Series:

Polymathic Pizza, Part I: On Being Human

What does being “human” really mean and can we ever plumb the depths of the complexity of our humanity? Is being “human” a social, spiritual, or biological reality –or perhaps some combination of all three? Throughout Fall 2014, we will consider what it means to be human, beginning with the personal and expanding outwards to the global implications of our “humanness.”

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Polymathic Workshops, Panels, and Special Events

In Fall 2014, the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study is partnering with leading global and academic institutions and scholars, holding workshops and symposia to explore topics and issues from a polymathic perspctive.   

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Graduate Series:

Objects of Knowledge IV

Conversations regarding objects of knowledge, visual and material worlds from a polymathic perspective.

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