UCSB Santa Barbara Department of History logo

History Undergraduate Receives Chancellor’s Award for Research Contributions

Three graduating seniors, including one History major, have been recognized for their outstanding contributions to undergraduate research at UC Santa Barbara.

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for 2016 has been awarded to Charles Joseph Key, who has earned a bachelor of arts degree in History, as well as two other undergraduates from different disciplines.

Under the mentorship of Professor Laura Kalman, Key completed a senior honors thesis analyzing how and why black Americans were disproportionately singled out for gun control measures in the latter half of the 1900s. To conduct research he traveled across the country, accessing records at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the National Rifle Association Museum in Virginia, as well as the California State Archives, the Ronald Reagan Library and the Bancroft Library at UC Berkeley.

Describing Key’s thesis, Sharon Farmer, chair of the History Department, called it an “extremely original piece of research that has implications for changing the ways in which we look at the history of gun control, and with the potential to be published in a major scholarly journal.”

Graduating with distinction in his major, Key also is the recipient of an Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities grant to help fund his independent research. He received dean’s honors for six quarters. Key next plans to pursue a law degree.