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Office of the Provost

Phi Beta Kappa

Visiting Scholars

Since 1956, the Phi Beta Kappa Society’s Visiting Scholar Program has been offering undergraduates the opportunity to spend time with some of America’s most distinguished scholars.  The purpose of the program is to contribute to the intellectual life of the institution by making possible an exchange of ideas between the Visiting Scholars and the resident faculty and students. 

Additional information about the Visiting Scholar Program can be found on Phi Beta Kappa’s website (

Judith Carney visits campus

The Phi Beta Kappa chapter at USC welcomes Dr. Judith Carney, professor of geography at UCLA.  She is the recipient of three distinguished teaching awards and is the author of two award-winning books: Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas and In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa's Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World.  Carney's research centers on African ecology and development, food security, gender and agrarian change, and African contributions to New World environmental history. Her visit is scheduled for November 2-3, 2017.  

Thursday, November 2, 2017

10:05 – 11:20 a.m.

Class Visit

CLASS VISIT: ENVR 501, Global Food Politics (Dr. Jessica Barnes)

Callcott 202

Topic: Global seeds and seeds of memory

12:30 – 1:30 p.m.

Lunchtime Discussion


Green Quad, Room 104

Topic: Mangrove ecosystems in the Atlantic World

Friday, November 3, 2017

12:00 – 12:50 p.m.

Class Visit

CLASS VISIT: ANTH 212, Food and Culture (Dr. Gail Wagner)

Hamilton College 149

Topic: Mangroves as West African foodscapes

2:00 – 3:30 p.m.

Public Lecture

PUBLIC LECTURE: Black Rice: The African Origins of Rice Cultivation in the Americas

Russell House 305

Few Americans identify slavery with the cultivation of rice. Yet rice was a major plantation crop during the first centuries of settlement in the Americas. By the middle of the eighteenth century, rice plantations in South Carolina, and the enslaved Africans who worked them, had created one of the world’s most profitable economies. A longstanding question in American historiography is how rice, a crop introduced to the Americas, came to be cultivated in plantation societies. This lecture discusses the provenance of rice and its cultural antecedents in the Americas. It establishes, through agricultural and historical evidence, the independent domestication of rice in West Africa and the crop’s vital significance there for a millennium before Europeans arrived and the transatlantic slave trade began. This rice accompanied enslaved Africans throughout the New World, including Southern colonies, Brazil, and the Caribbean. Slaves from the West African rice region established rice as a food crop and provided the critical knowledge that enabled its cultivation. A comparative analysis of land use, methods of cultivation, processing and cooking traditions on both sides of the Atlantic during the plantation era help fill in the historical record. Recent genetics research and findings of African rice in botanical collections and among contemporary maroon societies of Suriname lend support for the African lineaments of rice culture in the Americas.