The Department of History invites students to reimagine the traditional ways we carve up geographical space by examining not just the histories of nations but also those of regions, trade, and cultural exchange. History teaches a way of thinking, a way of questioning, and a way of wondering about the world. After all, the past is never really fixed.
History undergraduates gain insight into diverse beliefs, social arrangements, and technologies that have shaped human experience and given it meaning. We ask students to do much more than memorize facts; we ask them to solve intellectual puzzles, to evaluate conflicting evidence, and to assess different scholarly interpretations of the past.
Our distinguished faculty has organized its strengths into 15 different fields of study and 7 cross-field research clusters. These are: Gender and Sexualities; Empires and Borderlands; Commerce, Commodities and Material Cultures; Religion, Cultures and Society; Science, Technology and Society; Pre-Modern Cultures and Communities; and Public History and Theory.
UC Santa Barbara defined Public History as a profession in 1976, with a Rockefeller Foundation grant to train historians for public and private sector careers beyond conventional academic employment.
The Center is an interdisciplinary research and education initiative that aims to expand public understanding and discussion of important issues facing working people through an undergraduate minor, a graduate-level colloquium, conferences, and workshops.
The Center for Cold War Studies and International History is a leading international center dedicated to the study of the Cold War era, promoting discussion and scholarship on topics related to the study of the Cold War, broadly conceived.
History News & Features
In a series of video interviews, Humanities and Fine Arts professors share thoughts on the merits of their fields and their most rewarding experiences as teachers and researchers.
Historian Jane Sherron De Hart’s new book “Ruth Bader Ginsburg: A Life” marks the first full biography written about the second female U.S. Supreme Court Justice. But the biography wasn’t an easy accomplishment. In a talk hosted by the UCSB History Associates last weekend, De Hart spoke about the challenges she faced while writing the biography.
Tea has long been one of the most popular commodities in the world. In her book, A Thirst for Empire: How Tea Shaped the Modern World, UC Santa Barbara professor Erika Rappaport takes a deeper look into the historical value of the global tea industry, and how it ultimately shaped our contemporary consumer society.