USC Libraries - USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study

University of Southern California

USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study

polymath n. a person of much or varied learning; a great scholar.”—Oxford English Dictionary


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.

Spring 2015 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 II: Back to the Future

The Future—what is it, how best to predict it, whether it will feature utopic advancement or a dystopic nightmare—has long occupied our minds. Over the course of Spring 2015, students and select faculty will consider paradoxes and what possibilities thinking about the future might hold.

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Polymathic Workshops, Panels, and Special Events

In Spring 2015, 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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The Goethe Society

The Goethe Society, an undergraduate organization affiliated with the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study, will continue its enjoyment of the cultural resources of the USC campus and greater Los Angeles. 

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