Comparative Race and Ethnicity
Race and ethnicity are enduring themes of world history. Some regard them as artifacts of the modern world since the European Enlightenment, others as recurring issues throughout all ages and all cultures. The UCSB History Department has a number of scholars whose work centers on or includes racial and ethnic issues—scholars of the United States, Latin America, Europe, Central Asia, East Asia, the Middle East, the ancient Mediterranean, public history, and the history of science. We exist in a university that has unparalleled resources in other departments for the comparative historical study of race and ethnicity, including distinguished faculty in the departments of Women’s Studies, Sociology, Religious Studies, Chicana and Chicano Studies, Black Studies, and Asian American Studies (Many of whom are affiliate faculty members of the History Department).
We offer a comparative, historical approach to the study of race and ethnicity, in order to help students stretch beyond the specifics of particular groups, times, and places. We intend that students will become knowledgeable about not just the histories of particular groups, but also of racial and ethnic theory and of similarities, differences, and connections between the experiences of groups that may be widely separated by time or space. We are particularly interested in ways that study of ethnicity may intersect with other issues, such as gender, class, religion, labor, nation formation, and the history of ideas.
Each quarter the department offers many undergraduate courses that address race and ethnicity. The graduate field centers on a graduate readings course in historical constructions of race and ethnicity, offered at various times by many of the faculty listed below, History 201RE, Comparative Historical Literature of Race and Ethnicity. Also offered from time to time is History 268DE, a two-quarter research seminar in the comparative history of race and ethnicity.