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History of Public Policy

The graduate program in the History of Public Policy at UCSB offers intensive reading and rigorous research training in the 19th and 20th century history of public policy and political economy.

Primary faculty teaching in the History of Public Policy field:

  • Randy Bergstrom, U.S. Social Policy

  • Mary Furner, 19th and 20th Century U.S. History

  • Nelson Lichtenstein, U.S. Labor History

  • Alice O’Connor, U.S. Public Policy


  • Additional faculty who can direct History of Public Policy doctoral dissertations include:

  • Eileen Boris, Hull Professor of Women’s Studies

  • Patrick McCray, History of Science and Technology and Center for Nanotechnology and Society

  • Ken Mouré, Modern Europe, Monetary Policy

  • Salim Yaqub, History of U.S. Foreign Policy


  • Prior to applying, students who wish to pursue graduate training in the History of Public Policy are encouraged to contact the faculty member whose specialty best matches their interest.

    For more information on graduate training in the History of Public Policy at UCSB, see The Graduate History Program at UCSB.

    Interdisciplinarity. We encourage research and collaboration across traditional boundaries of subject, discipline, and place. Students in policy history have also read and researched in the seminars of the Cold War and International History Center and Women’s Studies, among others.

    We host conferences and speaker series in conjunction with the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy, Feminist Studies Department, and the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center. These conferences offer faculty and graduate students opportunities for extensive scholarly interaction with visiting scholars of policy in History and affiliated disciplines.

    Recent conferences and speaker series include:

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  • Research and teaching opportunities. Students can research and teach in Washington, D.C., through the UC Washington, D.C., Center, and for state policy projects, in Sacramento at the UC Sacramento Center.

    The UCSB History Department offers a variety of teaching opportunities for advanced students, including teaching assistantships in the courses of the Department’s unique undergraduate major in the History of Public Policy, in the interdisciplinary Labor Studies program, in the introductory survey courses in World, U.S., and other fields of history.

    Recent graduates and current graduate students in the History of Public Policy include:

  • Steve Attewell

  • John Baranski is Assistant Professor at Fort Lewis College. His dissertation is “Making Public Housing in San Francisco, 1900-2000”


  • Maeve Devoy, Deputy Director of the George Washington University Institute for Constitutional Studies, 2003 Robert Kelley Fellowship winner, and 2004-05 Dean's Prize Teaching Fellowship winner

  • Andrea Gill

  • Jill Jensen

  • Ellie Shermer

  • David Torres-Rouff is an Assistant Professor at Colorado College. His dissertation, Making Los Angeles: Race, Space, and Municipal Power, 1822-1890 is under contract to be published by Yale University Press.


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    The following faculty are in this field