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Department of History

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History Center

The History Center was created to nurture scholarship, promote scholarly communication, engage local communities, further development goals of the college and university, and raise the department visibility and enhance its reputation in the historical profession. 


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Upcoming History Center 2020 Events

Free and Open to the Public

Fall 2020 Events


September 2020 (Date To be Announced)
Faculty Spotlight Lecture: Elena Osokina

"Rembrandts for Tractors: Soviet Art Export under Stalin and the Creation of the U.S. National Gallery of Art"

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Location: McKissick Museum Auditorium, First Floor

Description: In the late 1920s, the Soviet Union started industrialization with no gold and currency reserves. The government feverishly sought gold to pay tremendous foreign debts acquired due to purchase of foreign equipment, raw materials, aid of specialists, and technologies.  Mass export of art became one of the means to finance the Soviet industrial leap forward.

Dr. Osokina will discuss how between the late 1920s and the early 1930s, Stalin’s leadership sold antiques and art abroad, literally by the thousands of tons. It was unfortunate for the USSR that the most active period in the art export coincided with a world economic crisis and the depression in the West.  Market prices, including those for antiques and art, dropped drastically.  To fulfill its “currency targets” the Soviet government had to shift from the export of so called ordinary antiques to masterpieces, including the best examples from the major national museums and libraries. In particular, the 21 masterpieces of Western art from the Hermitage Museum in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg) sold by Stalin’s government to the secretary of the U.S. treasury, Andrew Mellon, formed a core of the famous National Gallery of Art in Washington.

Dr. Osokina received her Ph.D. from the Department of History at Moscow University. She is the author of The Heavenly Blue of Angels’ Vestments: The Fate of Masterpieces of Ancient Russian Religious Art, 1920s-1930s (Moscow: The New Literary Observer, 2018). Lecture cosponsored by McKissick Museum.





Thursday-Friday, November 19-20, 2020
Women, Voting, and Politics: Reflections on a Century of Women’s Suffrage

In commemoration of the centennial of the passage of the 19th amendment USC’s History Center and Historic Columbia are co-sponsoring a symposium, “Women, Voting and Politics: Reflections on a Century of Women’s Suffrage” on November 19-20, 2020. The symposium will feature leading historians and a path-breaking woman jurist. Organized around an evening keynote and two panel discussions the following day, the symposium aims to foster discussion of the history and politics surrounding the passage of the 19th amendment, the ways in which women voters and political figures have shaped American politics and democracy over the past century, and current challenges and opportunities for women as voters, activists, and elected officials.


Thursday, November 19, 2020
Opening Keynote Lecture by Blanche Wiesen Cook

“Eleanor Roosevelt: Women, Power, and Human Rights. A Century of Struggle and Hope”

Time: 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.

Location: To be Announced

Born in 1884, Eleanor Roosevelt was 36 years old when the suffrage amendment passed and became one of the most notable and influential women in national politics from the 1930s until her death in 1962. Blanche Wiesen Cook, Distinguished Professor of History and Women’s Studies at the City University of New York, spent twenty-five years working on her 3-volume biography of ER. She will share fresh insights on Roosevelt in relation to the suffrage movement, the struggle to expand rights, and the changing roles of women in American political life. A question and answer period will follow the lecture. Cook’s comments will help inform the discussions that will follow on Friday in the panel sessions.


Friday, November 20, 2020
Women, Voting, and Politics: Reflections on a Century of Women’s Suffrage Panels

Time: 9:00am – 5:00pm

Location: To be Announced

Please check back for more information about Friday panels and the luncheon keynote talk. 

Please note: If you are a Department of History student or faculty member, contact Jillian Hinderliter at for more information about registration.

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