Latin America

Latin American History at UCSB

The University of California, Santa Barbara, has a strong trajectory in Latin American History. Our PhD program welcomes students interested in all time periods and regions of Latin America. Our faculty’s research and teaching cover a very broad range of regions, periods, and subjects: from Mexico to the Caribbean and the Andes and from the sixteenth century to the twentieth, considering key questions in social, political, and cultural history and the history of science. As a result, our students are not only able to pursue research in a wide variety of topics, but also obtain a firm grounding in Latin American history more broadly, with its different historiographies, methodologies, and theoretical perspectives.

Students in Latin American History complete a sequence of reading seminars covering the key issues, themes, and literature of the colonial period and the nineteenth and twentieth centuries (HIST 250A, 250B, and 250C). Beyond this, they have great flexibility to design—working closely with their advisors—individual programs of study combining more specialized seminars courses on particular themes and regions with independent reading courses to suit their interests. They also obtain the skills—such as palaeography, or digital research skills—necessary to conduct their research.

Our students also work in tandem with faculty in other subfields within the department—such as the larger program of history of science, environmental history, medieval studies, African history, U.S., or European History—as well as with faculty from all over campus. Every major department at UCSB has distinguished faculty specializing in Latin America: Anthropology and Archaeology, Film and Media Studies, Geography, Global Studies, Political Science, Sociology, and —of course—the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. Our graduate students are also in constant interaction with the students of the Master’s program in Latin American and Iberian Studies (LAIS), many of whom have subsequently joined our PhD program.

Recently completed or ongoing dissertation projects reflect the diverse interests of students and faculty. They include public health in rural Colombia and post-revolutionary Bolivia, nineteenth-century Mexican military history, the student movement in Argentina, civil wars and the wars of independence in Peru, and historiography of Portugal and Brazil, among others. We have also trained students whose research has focused on regions as diverse as the territories of modern-day Guatemala, Argentina, Jamaica, Brazil, Chile, and Paraguay.

The PhD program in Latin American History at UCSB has an excellent job placement record. Former students hold tenured or tenure-track professorships, or have held visiting professorships at the following institutions: University of Maryland University College, Virginia Tech, UC Riverside, Central Washington University, Furman University, West Point, American River College, Whitworth College, University of Alabama, Quest University (Canada), and ICESI University (Colombia) among others. Other recent PhDs have sought and obtained jobs as directors of historical archives, and analysts for think tanks such as the New America Foundation.

Before you apply to our graduate program, make sure to contact the faculty member whose research field is closest to your scholarly interests.

The following faculty are in this field

  • Veronica Castillo-Muñoz, who focuses on transnational migration to Mexico and Mexican migration to the United States.
  • Juan Cobo-Betancourt, who focuses on the social and cultural history of colonial Latin America, and its place in the early modern world.
  • Evelyne Laurent-Perraultwho focuses on the history of the African Diaspora in colonial Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • Cecilia Méndez Gastelumendi, who focuses on the social and political history of the Andean region, primarily during the transition from colonial to republican rule.

The following courses are in this field

  • History 201LA: Advanced Historical Literature: Latin America
  • History 201LI: Advanced Historical Literature: Latin America and Iberia
  • History 250A: Foundations of Latin American History: Colonial Period
  • History 250B: Foundations of Latin American History: Nineteenth Century
  • History 250C: Foundations of Latin American History: Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries
  • History 251A: Seminar in Latin American History
  • History 251B: Seminar in Latin American History
  • History 253A: Special Seminar in Latin American History
  • History 253B: Special Seminar in Latin American History
  • History 254B: Latin America, Spain, and Portugal
  • History 255A: Ecological Imperialism: Science, Nature and Conquest in Latin America
  • History 255B: Ecological Imperialism: Science, Nature and Conquest in Latin America
  • History 256: Topics in Mexican History

Page last modified: February 5, 2021