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Science, Technology, and Society

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 and the surrounding environs are also home to a large collection of museums and archival institutions. The field regularly hosts guest speakers and visiting colleagues from other institutions throughout California and beyond.

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine Colloquium

In addition to regular course offerings, there is a regular colloquium/workshop meeting throughout the academic year (typically 5-7 times per quarter). It is open to all students, from those just starting out to those about to enter the job market.  This course is designed as a space for graduate students to discuss emerging new directions in the history of science scholarship, to meet visiting scholars, to “workshop” job or conference presentations, etc. in a friendly and supportive environment. Another aspect of the workshop will be to function as a “journal club.” This is a fairly common aspect of graduate student life in the sciences but less so in the humanities. The idea is for us to read recent works in the field – books, articles, and so forth – and discuss them.

Annual SoCal History of Science Graduate Conference

In addition to regular annual colloquium/workshop, graduate students in the History of Science field at UCSB are part of a larger network of graduate students and faculty in the history of science programs in California. Starting in 2017,  graduate students in the history of science from UCSB, UCLA and UCSD organized the first annual SoCal HoS graduate conference, which met annually at one of the participating campus (UCSB hosted the conference in 2018). After the interruption caused by the pandemic, the SoCal history of science graduate network is planning to expand to include other California programs, and is welcoming incoming graduate students in the history of science to get involved.

People: History of Science Faculty and Graduate Students

  • Elena Aronova (Associate Professor)
    Research Interests: history of the life sciences; environmental and evolutionary sciences; history of science in Russia and the Soviet Union; science and the Cold War
  • Brad Bouley (Associate Professor)
    Research Interests: histories of religion and science in early modern Europe
  • W. Patrick McCray (Professor)
    Research interests: History of modern American technology and physical sciences, science and the Cold War, emerging technologies; art & technology
  • Kate McDonald (Associate Professor)
    Research interests: Technology and empire; history of transportation, infrastructure and mobility; history of science and technology in East Asia.
  • Taylor M. Moore: (Assistant Professor) Modern Middle East; history of science, medicine, and magic; critical race and slavery studies; history of the body; history of anthropology and museums; science and the speculative.
  • Isidro González G. (Ph.D. Candidate) (isidrogonzalez@ucsb.edu). Research interests: disability, race, and gender; professionalization of the social sciences; eugenics; 20th century US.
  • Elena G. Mailander (Grad Student) (emailander@ucsb.edu). Research interests: history of science and technology; 20th century East Asia; print culture; information and discourse networks; science, media, and society.
  • Kandra Polatis (Ph.D. Candidate) (kpolatis@ucsb.edu). Research interests: history of medicine; transnational science; colonialism; death studies; 20th century East Asia.
  •  Billy Marino (PhD Candidate) (wmarino@ucsb.edu). Research interests: Mars and planetary science; robotic space exploration; environmental and scientific knowledge creation; 20th century US.
  • Nicky Rehnberg (PhD Candidate) (nrehnberg@ucsb.edu). Research interests: history of environmental science, racial science,  public history, transnational 20th century.
  • Xiaosong Gao (Grad Student).Research interests: history of medicine; sensory history; material history of science; middle and late imperial China; global history
  • Gavin Williams (Grad Student) (grwilliams@ucsb.edu). Research interests: Early modern Portuguese Empire; Atlantic history; history of drugs and medicine; commodity history
  • Alexandra Noi (Ph.D. Candidate) (alexandra_noi@ucsb.edu). Research interests: history of science in the Soviet Union and China, eugenics, incarceration, Cold War science 
  • Mark Makukutsi (Grad Student) (markmakukutsi@ucsb.edu). Research Interests: Colonial impacts on African people’s medical practices and their perceptions towards medicine, and  its effects on healthcare and healthcare delivery  in the wake of natural disasters.