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Modern Europe

The UCSB program in Modern European History offers a comprehensive range of courses from the eighteenth century to the present. Coverage includes major national histories – Britain and its Empire, France, Germany, and Russia/Soviet Union – and thematic courses with strong comparative, transnational and cultural dimensions. UCSB’s Modern Europe program blends political, cultural, social, diplomatic and economic approaches. Our emphases include the history of radical movements of the left and right (the Russian Revolution, Fascism/Nazism, genocide and the Holocaust), public memory, gender studies, urban history, consumer culture, food studies and the global history of capitalism. We also have a focus on empire, race and nation, and the history of the Cold War.

The Modern Europe graduate program provides an integrated combination of reading and research seminars and preparation for university teaching. Our program keeps specific requirements to a minimum in order to allow students maximum flexibility in designing (in consultation with their advisors) the course of study that best suits their needs and interests. Particular emphasis is given to making theoretical and comparative connections with other fields of history. Modern Europe faculty are core members of thematic clusters in women, gender and sexuality studies, labor, capitalism and political economy, Borderlands and Empire, the history of the Cold War, history of science and technology, and Jewish Studies. Members are also affiliated with Feminist Studies, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Global Studies, English, Cold War Studies, Public History, the Southern California Russian History Program, and Environmental Studies.

Core Courses / Requirements:

All graduate students with a dissertation field in Modern Europe take Hist 200E, a reading seminar that surveys key historiographical debates in modern European history, as well as a selection of specialized reading and research seminars, and independent studies.

Recent Specialized Reading Courses in the Field:

  • 201E: The Making and Unmaking of Class in Victorian Britain
  • 201E: The British World: Nation, Empire and the History of Globalization
  • 201E: Commodities, Objects and other Things: Victorian Material Culture
  • 201E: Empires, Nations and Identities: Readings in 20th Century British History
  • 201E: Gender, Politics and the State in Europe, 1870-1970
  • 201E: Empire and Nation in Russian and Soviet History.
  • 201E: Ethnic and Racial Mixing in the Modern World

Current Faculty:

  • Elena Aronova is a historian of science working on the history of science in Russia and the Soviet Union, history of science during the Cold War, transnational history, the history and politics of environmental data collection, the history of evolutionary biology, and other topics. 
  • Manuel Covo is a historian of the Age of Revolutions in the Atlantic World. He specializes in the history of the French colonial empire, Haiti, and early America, with a focus on political economy, race, and violence. He is the author of Entrepôt of Revolutions: Saint-Domingue, Commercial Sovereignty and the French-American Alliance (2022). 
  • 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 the history of marriage, the 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). 
  • Harold Marcuse is a public historian of Germany. He examines how the historical representations of people and events in German history have changed across the ruptures of German history in the 20th century. His focus is particularly on museums, memorial sites, and monuments and memorials, but he also draws on films, newspapers and magazines, school textbooks, and other popular and scholarly representations. He seeks to understand how collectively held ideas about past events emerge, what causes those ideas to change, and how those conceptions shape the values and behaviors of the groups that embrace them. He is currently working on a collection of case studies of canonical events of 20th century German history.
  • Erika Rappaport is a European cultural historian, interested in the history of gender, consumer cultures and business in Modern Britain and its Empire. Her work explores how the history of consumption and commodities were integral to the construction of identities, politics, and economies in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her most recent work positions the British Empire within a broader global framework and she is currently working on a history of public relations during decolonization and the Cold War.

Affiliated Faculty:

Current Students:

Recent Alumni/ae:

  • Zamira Abman (2015), Director of the Comparative International Studies Program, San Diego State University

  • Dimitri Akulov (2014), World History Teacher, BASIS Independent School, Fremont, CA.

  • David Baillargeon (2018), Assistant Professor of History, University of Texas, Arlington


  • Megan Barber (2012),  Editor-in-Chief, The Public Goods Project

  • Justin Bengry (2010), Lecturer in History, Goldsmith College, University of London

  • Joseph Campo (2019), Lecturer, The College of New Jersey; Adjunct Assistant Professor, Rider University, NJ

  • Sandra Dawson (2007), Executive Administrator of the Berkshire Conference of Women’s Historians

  • Brian Ernst (2014), Lecturer, Writing Program, UCSB

  • Mira Foster (2012), Director of Education, The World House Project, Stanford University

  • Brian Griffith (2020), Eugen and Jacqueline Weber Post-Doctoral Scholar in European History at UCLA and Visiting Lecturer at Scripps College

  • Bonnie Harris (2009), Lecturer, San Diego State University

  • Traci Heitschmidt (2003), Chair, History Department, Corum Deo Academy, Flower Mound, Texas

  • Yuriy Malikov (2006), Associate Professor of History at SUNY Oneonta

  • Alan Mason (2012), physician (Albuquerque, NM)
  • Sergey Saluschev (2022)

  • Stephanie Seketa (2019), Director of the Liberal Arts Program at Ringling College of Art and Design

  • Jean Smith (2013), Lecturer in British Imperial History, King’s College (London)

  • Tara Tubb (2012), Grants Administrator/Program Manager, City and County of Denver