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Comparative Gender + Sexualities History

Horniman's almanac, 1888About the Field

The University of California at Santa Barbara has one of the nation’s strongest offerings in gender history. Over a dozen historians of women, men, gender, sexuality, and culture have generated an exceptionally exciting and wide-ranging program that has attracted scholars and graduate students from every continent. This multitude of gendered research and teaching interests has created core strengths that include not only concentration in the history of a single nation but also comparative, transnational, and interdisciplinary perspectives covering a chronological depth from medieval Europe and colonial New England to nineteenth- and twentieth-century West-Africa, Middle East, East Asia, South Asia, Latin America, Britain and its Empire, and the U.S.

Students concentrating in the new field of comparative gender history will gain a firm grounding in diverse research methodologies, in historiographies of women, gender, and masculinities, and in theoretical approaches, including culture and representation, materialities, consumer culture and identities, and gender, race, sexualities, family, class, age ethnicity, and nation, empire, and borderlands.

As a compliment to the field of gender history, students have the option of doing a doctoral emphasis in feminist studies or global studies (women, culture, and development). UCSB also sponsors frequent graduate student conferences including the recent, well-attended, “Women and Conflict: Historical Perspectives,” and an annual interdisciplinary conference in medieval history. In 2001, a large international conference, “Africa After Gender?: An Exploration of New Epistemologies in African Studies,” provided a forum for faculty and graduate students alike. In 2015, we hosted “Women, Gender, Sex: Social and Cultural Histories of the Long Nineteenth Century-A Conference in honor of Patricia Cline Cohen.” We also run an on-going brown bag workshop series on gender history and plan to have an annual public event.

In the Field


  • Debra Blumenthal is an historian of late medieval and early modern Iberia whose research interests include Muslim, Christian and Jewish relations; the history of slavery and race in the medieval and early modern Mediterranean world; gender history; and the history of medicine and women’s health. Her current book project, entitled “Comares. Mothering in Uncertain Times,” exposes the complex interactions between midwives, wet nurses and birth mothers (not to mention physicians, surgeons and fathers) in a period characterized by male anxiety over female control of reproduction.
  • Sarah Case’s research and teaching interests are US women’s history, history of the US South, history of education, and public history. I am the editor of The Public Historian
  • Veronica Castillo-Munoz is a historian of the Mexico-U.S. borderlands. I study how gender, migration, and race intersect in northern Mexico and the U.S. Southwest.
  • Utathya Chattopadhyaya is a historian of modern South Asia and the British Empire. He studies and teaches the histories of intoxicant commodities, agrarian systems, and social and cultural histories of imperial power and practices, with a focus on how gender structures multispecies life, rural labor, scientific knowledge, and inter-related categories of governance in colonial contexts. 
  • Adrienne Edgar is a specialist in the history of modern Russia, the Soviet Union, and Central Asia.  Her research has focused on conceptions of nationality, ethnicity, and race in Eurasia, as well as on questions of gender, family, and everyday life.  Her most recent book is Intermarriage and the Friendship of Peoples: Ethnic Mixing in Soviet Central Asia (Cornell University Press, 2022). 
  • Jarett Henderson is a specialist in queer history, colonial North America, and the comparative histories of British settler colonialism, interested in how colonial ruling across the nineteenth-century British Empire was wrapped up with transimperial debates about gender, sexuality, and political liberty. His current project explores the history of unnatural sex and settler self-government in the British North American colonies between 1790 and 1860. 
  • Lisa Jacobson is a cultural historian of the late nineteenth and twentieth-century U.S. Her research investigates how ideologies of gender and sexualities have shaped the marketing of alcoholic beverages and other goods, the construction of identities, the development of regulatory systems, and experiences of childhood and the family.
  • Carol Lansing’s work in medieval Italian archives, exploring the intersection of gender, emotionality and state formation, like efforts to restrain factional violence by coding dramatic expressions of grief as feminine.  My current book is on strategies of women in poverty, including forms of concubinage and active responses to sexual violence.
  • Evelyne Laurent-Perrault
  • Stephan Miescher
  • Erika Rappaport is a European cultural historian interested in the history of gender, consumer cultures and business in Modern Britain and its Empire. I study how consumption and commodities were integral to the construction of identities, politics, and economies in the 19th and 20th centuries. My recent work positions the British Empire within a broader global framework, and I am currently working on a history of public relations during decolonization and the Cold War. 
  • Luke Roberts is an historian of Japan from the seventeenth through the nineteenth century.  Right now, I am researching samurai daily life, family, masculinity and femininity.  I am particularly interested in how gender ideals and a different reality have a functional relationship.
  • Sherene Seikaly

Affiliated Faculty:


Graduate Students:


  • Mariel Aquino: Research Fellow for the National Humanities Alliance.
  • Justin Bengry: Honorary Research Fellow, Birkbeck College, University of London, Founder and Managing Editor of Notches: (Re)marks on the History of Sexuality.
  • Megan Bowman: Lecturer, Georgia State University
  • Joshua Birk: Assistant Professor, Smith College
  • Sarah Case: Managing Editor, The Public Historian, Lecturer University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Sasha Coles: Assistant Teaching Professor of History, Penn State University.
  • Sandra T. Dawson; Lecturer, Northern Illinois University.
  • Susan Falck: Director, Rancho Camulos Museum in Piru, California.
  • Thomas Franke 
  • Sarah Hanson
  • April Haynes: Assistant Professor, University of Wisconsin.
  • Fang He: New York University ShanghaiGlobal Perspectives on SocietyPost-Doc.
  • Carolyn Herbst Lewis: Assistant Professor, Grinnell College.
  • Betsy Homsher: Vice President, Student Affairs, Kettering University.
  • Caitlin Koford
  • Nancy McLaughlin: Associate Professor, UC Irvine.
  • Laura Moore, History Instructor, Cate School.
  • Bianca Murillo: Assistant Professor, Willamette University.
  • Laura Nenzi: Associate Professor, University of Tenn. at Knoxville.
  • Elizabeth Pryor: Assistant Professor, Smith College.
  • Rana Razek
  • Anna Katharina Rudolph
  • Sergey Saluschev
  • Stephanie Seketa
  • Nancy Stockdale: Associate Professor, University of North Texas.
  • Danielle Swiontek: Department Chair, Santa Barbara City College.
  • Nicole Pacino: Assistant Professor, University of Alabama, Huntsville.
  • Anne Rapp: Associate Professor, Lewis University, Chicago.
  • Katrin Sjursen: Assistant Professor, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville.
  • Tanya Stabler: Assistant Professor, Loyola University, Chicago.
  • Matthew Sutton: Professor, Washington State University.
  • Sarah Watkins: Visiting Assistant Professor, Colby College.
  • Corinne Wieben: Assistant Professor, University of Northern Colorado.
  • Rachel Rains Winslow: Associate Professor of History, Westmont College, Director of Westmont’s Center for Social Entrepreneurship, Co-Director of the Westmont Center for Dialogue and Deliberation.
  • Angela Woollacott: Manning Clark Professor of History, Australian National University.
  • Leandra Zarnow: Assistant Professor, University of Houston.

The following courses are in this field:

We have few core requirements but rather we teach courses that reflect developments in the field, faculty and graduate student interests.

  • History 200WN: Historical Literature: Women
  • History 201G: Advanced Historical Literature: Gender
  • History 201WN: Advanced Historical Literature: Women
  • History 217D: Feminist Perspectives of Jewish and Christian Tradition
  • History 219A: Research Seminar in Gender and History
  • History 219B: Research Seminar in Gender and History
  • History 286A: Women and Modernity in the Non-Western World
  • History 286B: Women and Modernity in the Non-Western World