The UCSB Department of History has offered opportunities for graduate study in the history of science since the 1960s. The History of Science field encompasses a broad range of topics including technology, medicine, and the environment. In addition to the Department of History’s nationally recognized faculty and diverse course offerings, our campus is home to numerous other outstanding related departments, programs, and research centers. Each year, history of science faculty and students participate in a wide variety of activities and initiatives that promote graduate education and enrich the intellectual life of the campus. Santa Barbara is also home to a large collection of museums and archival institutions (with many more within a short drive) and the field regularly hosts guest speakers and visiting colleagues from other institutions throughout California and beyond.
Applying to UCSB
Potential students are strongly encouraged to contact faculty with interests in their proposed areas of research prior to submitting their materials. Applicants must submit their materials through the Graduate Division to the History Department, but should note their interest in the history of science field, and should indicate which faculty members they wish to work with. General application materials are available here.
The general course requirements for the History of Science field are the same as those for the History Department. Students in the History of Science field must, however, complete at least one of their two-quarter research seminars with a faculty member from the field.
Faculty in the History Department
W. Patrick McCray (Professor, field convener, 2012-13)
Research interests: History of modern science and technology, science and the Cold War, emerging technologies
Peter Alagona (Assistant Professor)
Joint appointment with Environmental Studies Program
Research Interests: environmental history, history of science
Gabriela Soto-Laveaga (Associate Professor)
Research interests: Modern Mexico, bio-prospecting, history of race, health, science in Latin America
Affiliated Faculty and Researchers
Joint appointment with Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies
Research interests: Intellectual communities of Mesoamerica; ancient astronomy; indigenous science; science and religion; science in colonial Latin America
Nicole A. Archambeau (Lecturer)
Joint Appointment with Religious Studies
Research interests: Pre-modern history of pre-modern medicine; history of emotions; plagues and epidemics.
Greg Graves (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Research interests: American environmental history, hydrological engineering
Peter Neushul (email@example.com)
Research interests: Military industrial complex, history of American technology, mariculture
Peter Westwick (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Research interests: Cold War science, American science and technology, modern physical sciences
The Badash Prize in the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine
This prize celebrates the career of Lawrence Badash, the founder of HSTEM at UCSB who passed away in 2010. Professor Badash served the university, community, and historical profession in several capacities for many years. An inveterate worker for peace and weapons control, Professor Badash embodied the model of a socially engaged intellectual. This prize is awarded annually for the best graduate student essay in the preceding three years on the history of science, technology, or medicine in any era or geographical arena, or on weapons control.
Past Badash Prize winners:
- 2012, Hanni Jalil, "Sin Salud no es posible cultivar la tierra: Sanitary units and Rural Health Commissions in Colombia, 1934-1938" (Mentor: Soto-Laveaga)
- 2011, Roger Eardley-Pryor, “Better to Cry than Die?: the Paradoxes of Tear Gas in the Vietnam Era and Today.” (Mentor: McCray)
- 2010, Jill Briggs, "Birth Control in Jamaica." (Mentors: Osborne)
- 2009, Nicole Pacino, "Healing the Nation: The Bolivian Revolution, Public Health, and the Process of Nation Formation 1952-1964." (Mentor: Soto-Laveaga)
- 2008, Jill Briggs, "'An Agreed-on Program': Eugenics and Public Discourse in the late 1930's" (Mentor: Osborne)
- 2007, Nicole A. Archambeau, “The Cycle of Negative Emotions: Comparing Sufferers’ and University Trained Practitioners’ View of Tristia” (Mentor: Farmer)
- 2006, Paul Hirsch, "Weird Science: Uncensored Representations of the Atomic Bomb in American Comics, 1945-1954” (Mentor: Hasegawa)
- 2005, Donald R. Burnette, "Failed Boundary Objects: The Case of Frederic E. Clements and the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden" (Mentor: Guerrini)
- 2004, Jason Kelly, “Archaeology and Enlightenment Natural Philosophy” (Mentor: Guerrini)