Historians, political scientists, and economists such as Samuel Huntington and Niall Ferguson see clashes between civilizations emerging as the central issue of the 21st century. Americans, meanwhile, are increasingly seeing in diversity an energizing good. As our planet becomes more unified through technology, dissenting localisms are gaining strength. These have emerged in dialectical opposition to globalization and the forces leading to technological unification. Under the guidance of Professor of History Peter Mancall, students will explore past epic encounters in world history, and discuss whether this approach of looking back can assist us looking forward as we determine to live by clash or ecumenism, by dissonance or compromise.
Peter Mancall was recently named the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities, in addition to holding positions as Vice Dean of the Humanities, Professor of history and anthropology, and running USC's interdisciplinary Early Modern Studies Institute. The extent of his polymathic scholarship ranges from topics on quantitative economic history, to alcoholism in Native American societies, to an invigorating investigation of Henry Hudson's fatal voyage, a work that landed him a gig on “The Daily Show” with Jon Stewart.