Pre-Modern Cultures and Communities
Our department is remarkable for its strengths in the history of the Mediterranean and North Africa, West Asia (also known as the Near East), East Asia, Western Europe, and North America before AD 1700 / 1700 CE. The eleven faculty in this cluster often serve on PhD committees together.
This cluster brings together a diverse set of colleagues who share an interest in historical processes that have shaped the human experience in manifold times and place: imperialism and colonialism, the development of community identities and institutions, religious conflict and concord, law and society, urban life, and warfare and military culture.
While historians of more recent periods typically rely on managed collections of archival documents as the mainstays of their evidence, members of this cluster employ a wide range of methodologies in addition to archival research to explore historical questions. These methods include literary and philological analysis, archaeology and visual studies, epigraphy, paleography, and manuscript studies,
psychotherapy and the study of emotions. Many cluster members hold affiliated appointments in other UCSB departments, including Classics, Religious Studies, French and Italian, etc.
This cluster is also distinguished by the use of multiple languages. In their research, members of this cluster read texts written in languages as varied as Egyptian hieroglyphics, Aramaic, Classical and Modern Chinese, Greek, and Latin, Catalan, Medieval and Modern French, German, Italian, Latin, and Classical and Modern Arabic, Persian, Spanish, Ottoman and Modern Turkish, and Japanese.