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 her years researching the social origins of the minimum wage in the Western world, historian, author, and professor at SUNY at Binghamton Kathryn Kish Sklar discovered that American labor pioneer Florence Kelley’s efforts in the late 19th century to protect women and children in factories led to the minimum wage in America. Sklar shared these findings in a recent UC Santa Barbara lecture hosted by the Center for the Study of Work, Labor, and Democracy and the History Department.
In a recent interview, Raymok Ketema, a first-generation African American college student pursuing her PhD in History at UCSB, discussed her project for the Center for Black Studies Research on minorities in engineering and why she perseveres in her work for women, the Black community, and other people of color.
“Intimate labor and the workers who performed it have always been central to the history of capitalism,” University of Wisconsin historian April Haynes said in a recent talk at UC Santa Barbara. She argues that intimate labor and sex have always played an important part in the United States’ economy.
Haynes, a UCSB alumna, shared her research on intimate labor from the 1790s to the 1860s during her talk for the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy.