Spring 2015

Quadrant Series

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.  In order to explicate these Quadrants more fully, Edwin McCann, professor of philosophy and English, will conduct four conversational workshops over the fall and spring terms from a philosophical, historical, and practical point of view.  Attendance at all four quadrants is required for Harman Fellow certification.

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. Whether we’re envisioning technical advancement or prophesying our own demise, we humans are impassioned about what the future might hold and how our current actions might have an unforeseen effect on humanity. How is considering the future useful? And why are we so obsessed with the future, particularly a dystopic view of it? Can looking backwards perhaps help us better envision what is to come?

Round Table

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. From an exploration of the Graphic Novel, to Zygo, three sessions exploring the dialogue between medicine and ethics, to our first ever student conference, the Harman Academy is pleased to bring an exciting new series of panels, workshops, and special events to campus.


This fourth season of a series of conversations examines the diverse ways that images and things interact, embody and generate ways of knowing, which guide the course of human action and understanding and engender creativity and innovation.  What is new this year is that professional school faculty and graduate students will be recruited to collaborate with their Humanities counterparts to envision the world in innovative (polymathic) ways.

Tischbien Goethe

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.  Each session will be accompanied by an academic presentation and discussion keyed to a specific artistic or scholarly focused event enjoyed by members of the Society.  This year as well – with the assistance of similar undergraduate cultural organizations at selected universities across the nation -- members of the Goethe Society will further develop the Society as a philosophic