Meet the board members of the UCSB History Associates below.

Helen Murdoch

President

Helen Murdoch received her Masters in History from UCSB in 1992. Finding herself lonely doing research, but loving working with her students, she earned a Teaching Credential from UCSB in secondary Social Studies and National Board Certification in Social Studies-History for Adolescence and Young Adulthood. After teaching World History, American Government, and Yearbook for 15 years at local high schools, she became a high school Teacher Librarian and then a Technology Integration Coach. For the past five years Helen has been the Social Studies Instructional Support Specialist for the Santa Barbara Unified School District, working with district social studies teachers. In addition, Helen is the President of the Santa Barbara HIgh School Alumni Association and Co-Director of the UCSB California Global Education Project. In her spare time, Helen is a book blogger and enjoys travelling.

J. Sears McGee

Vice-President

J. Sears McGee

Sears McGee joined the UCSB History Department in 1971 and has served twice as department chair (1900-95, 2006-07). He joined the History Associates Board a few years after this organization was established and has served as its president and (currently) its vice-president. He has given two talks at History Associates events (“Henry VIII: Hero or Monster,” and “Queen Elizabeth I Goes to the Movies”). His research concerns early modern Britain (especially religion and politics in England from the 1590s through the civil wars of the 1640s), and his courses deal with early modern Britain and, more widely, early modern Europe from the High Middle Ages to the French Revolution. He won the Academic Senate’s teaching prize for the social sciences in 1989, and he co-directed a program of professional development for K-12 teachers in our region from 1997-2005. His wife Marni writes books for children (see marnimcgee.com), and they have two children and three grandchildren.

R. Stephen Humphreys

Treasurer

Steve Humphreys

Stephen Humphreys joined the UCSB History Department in 1990 as the first holder of the King Abdulaziz Al Saud Chair in Islamic Studies, a position he retained until his retirement in 2012. Soon after retirement he joined the History Associates Board.  Both his teaching and research portfolios have ranged widely across Middle Eastern history, from the rise of Islam (early 7th century CE) down to whatever the latest crisis may be.  His publications deal with Syria-Palestine in the age of the Crusades (1095-1291), the early caliphate (7th century CE), the adaptation of Christian communities to Muslim rule down to ca.1200, and secular/religious politics in the Middle East since World War II. He has resided and traveled in Europe and the Middle East, as well as India, China, and Japan.

Laura Kalman

Secretary

Laura Kalman headshot with bookcase filled with books in the background

Karen Anderson

Member

Karen Anderson

Mary Louise Days

Member

Mary Louise Days

A Santa Barbara native, Mary Louise Days received degrees in history from Santa Barbara City College and UCSB. Her minor was architectural history. She was employed by the City of Santa Barbara Planning/Community Development Department for over thirty-five years. This included a number of years as the City’s first urban historian and staff to the Historic Landmarks Commission. She has published numerous articles on historical topics and has been a frequent adviser to UCSB’s Public Historical Studies program. A consulting historian and researcher, she serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Citizens Planning Association and the Santa Barbara Conservancy. She is a past president of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. Travel is her main hobby. She is a co-author of the 2016 book Santa Barbara A Guide to El Pueblo Viejo, and is a past president of the UCSB History Associates.

Elizabeth Digeser

Member

Photo of Elizabeth DePalma Digeser

Beth Digeser received her Ph.D. in Ancient History from UC Santa Barbara in 1996, and joined the History faculty here in 2004. Her research has focused on the intersection of ideology and politics in the third- and fourth-century CE Roman Empire, while her teaching engages the broad sweep of Roman history, including the rise of Christianity. She is the author of The Making of a Christian Empire: Lactantius and Rome (2000) and A Threat to Public Piety: Christians, Platonists, and the Great Persecution (2012). The founding editor of the UC Press journal, Studies in Late Antiquity, she also served as Chair of the Department of History from 2012-15. As a graduate student, Digeser was the beneficiary of the History Associates’ generosity, and she has happily served as a member of the Board for a number of years—including a stint as Treasurer.

Hal Drake

Member

Hal Drake

Hal Drake taught Roman history at UCSB from 1970 until his retirement in 2008. A specialist in the historiography and political thought of the Late Roman Empire, he is the author of Constantine and the Bishops: The Politics of Intolerance (2000) and A Century of Miracles: Christians, Pagans, Jews and the Supernatural, 312-410 (2017). As chair of the History department in 1988, he watched in awe as Dick Cook single-handedly talked the legendary UC bureaucracy into creating the History Associates, and he has served on the Board since its inception. He currently holds an appointment as Research Professor at UCSB and keeps busy with conferences celebrating the 1700th anniversary of Constantine’s conversion to Christianity.

Susan Miles Gulbransen

Member
Susan Miles Gulbransen

Susan Miles Gulbransen received her M.A. in History at UCSB in 1966. After 21 years writing for the News-Press, she now free lances and teaches writing at Santa Barbara Writers Conference and through SBCC Adult Ed. A community volunteer, she co-founded the Granada Theater restoration project and the S.B. Book & Author Festival and has served on several boards. In 2004, she was named Woman of the Year and in 2003 received the News-Press Lifetime Achievement Award. She, like every other writer in California, is now working on a novel.

Sheila Lodge

Member

Born at home on her parents’ dairy in Arcadia, CA, Sheila is a life-long Californian except for 2 1/2 years in Annapolis, MD, where she taught school and did social work. She returned to California in 1950 and came to Santa Barbara in 1952. Sheila served on the Santa Barbara City Planning Commission from 1973-1975, the City Council from 1975-1981, and as mayor from 1981-1993. An incurable public policy wonk, since 2009 she’s been back on the Planning Commission where she started her civic life 45 years before.

Monica Orozco

Member

Monica Orozco

Monica Orozco is a second-generation native of the Santa Barbara-Goleta area. She earned her doctoral degree from the History department at UCSB in 1999, with a focus on Colonial and 19th-century Mexican history. She joined the History Associates in 1997 while still a graduate student, and has served as a student representative, secretary, president, and treasurer. Currently she is Executive Director of Old Mission Santa Barbara, as well as the Director of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library, a separate nonprofit located at the Old Mission.

Marla Hemingway

Member

 

Nancy Hofbauer

Member

Born in New Jersey and raised in New Jersey and North Carolina, Nancy moved to California in 1981 and to Santa Barbara in 1996. A stay at home Mom for many years, Nancy returned to school in the 80s to get a Masters in Applied Computer Science. Nancy retired from Bank of America as Vice President, Information Systems, IT Project Manager. Hobbies include playing bridge, travel, and hiking our lovely trails.

Anne Petersen

Member

Darcy Ritzau

Member

Darcy Ritzau

Darcy is a CA native, born in Napa and moved to Santa Barbara in 1971 to attend UCSB. She started working in the History Department in 1973 and for 46 years enjoyed her job as Graduate Program Advisor. She retired in 2019 and has been happily crafting away and also babysitting for her two grandsons who live a few blocks away. She enjoys mixed media art journaling, knitting, sewing, getting out in nature, power walking every morning, and is slowly getting back into weaving and spinning, a passion she had many years ago. 

Mary Standlee

Member

Mary Standlee headshot

Stephan Miescher

History Department Chair

Stephan F. Miescher is a historian of West Africa and joined the History Department in 1998. He grew up in Switzerland where he attended the University of Basel before pursuing graduate studies at Northwestern University (Ph.D. 1997). His research has focused on gender, masculinities, oral history, and the history of development and  technology in Africa. He is the author of Making Men in Ghana (2005) and A Dam for Africa: Akosombo Stories from Ghana (2022), and the co-editor of six volumes, including Men and Masculinities in Modern Africa (2003), Africa After Gender? (2007), Modernization as Spectacle in Africa (2014), and Gender and Imperialism and Global Exchanges (2015). He served as co-editor of Ghana Studies and as co-convenor of the Mellon Sawyer Seminar, “Energy Justice in Global Perspective.” With his partner R. Lane Clark, he made the documentary film Ghana’s Electric Dreams, which will accompany his book, A Dam for Africa.

Giuliana Perrone

History Department Community Relations Chair

Giuliana Perrone headshot

Giuliana Perrone received her PhD in U.S. History from UC Berkeley in 2015. She joined the faculty at UCSB in 2016 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Virginia’s Carter G. Woodson Institute. She specializes in the history of North American slavery, abolition in the United States, the Civil War & Reconstruction, and American legal history. She is currently finishing her first book project, The Problem of Abolition in the Age of Slavery, which explains how and why ​​slavery, as a legal institution and a social practice, remained actionable in American law well after its ostensible demise. She currently chairs the Development & Community Relations committee in the department of history.

Nicky Rehnberg

HGSA Representative

 

Page last modified: September 28, 2021