Check out my new peer-reviewed piece in the Ethnic Studies Review,

Personal Statement:

Mattie Webb is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where she studies 20th century U.S. and African history. She is presently in South Africa as a Visiting Scholar at Rhodes University’s Sociology Department and the Neil Aggett Labour Studies Unit (NALSU). Mattie’s research combines social and diplomatic approaches to history and looks at the impact and awareness of the Sullivan Principles, a U.S. code of conduct for multinational corporations operating in South Africa during the apartheid era. Her dissertation, titled “Diplomacy at Work: The South African Worker and the Sullivan Principles on the Shop Floor,” draws on archival sources and oral histories from the United States and South Africa. Her work is supported by the U.S. Fulbright Program, the National Security Education Program, the Emory University Stuart A. Rose Library, and UCSB’s Center for Cold War Studies and International History. Mattie holds a master’s degree in Global Studies from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, where she wrote her thesis on economic sanctions as a tool to promote regime change, with a specific focus on the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986. While at UNC, she received funding and language training from the Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) program. She received her BA in History from North Carolina State University in 2014.

Mattie is also a founder of the Cold War Working Group (CWWG), a branch of the UCSB Center for Cold War Studies and International History. If students are interested in learning more about this initiative, see the website here, or contact Mattie if you’re interested in participating in any capacity. The CCWG hosts graduate student workshops as well as an undergraduate blog (“This Day in Cold War History”). If you are a former UCSB graduate student, the CCWG also welcomes “Where Are They Now” posts. Please reach out at for more information.

Dissertation Title:

Diplomacy at Work: The South African Worker and the Sullivan Principles on the Shop Floor

Selected Publications:

“People before profit? Ford, General Motors & the spirit of the Sullivan Principles in Apartheid South Africa (1976-84),” Ethnic Studies Review, peer-reviewed academic journal published by the University of California Press, published December 2021,

“The United States Anti-Apartheid Movement: Bonus Episode,” Scottish Centre for Global History, Episode 4, 50-minute interview.

“Beyond Desegregation: Waging a Battle Against Apartheid in the South African Workplace,” Scottish Centre for Global History Blog, December 2020.

“Corporates and investors need to engage with the US to halt its slide into autocratization,” (co-authored with Raj Thamotheram) Responsible Investor (October 2020).

“The Sullivan Principles at Work: The Conflicted Activism of Rev. Leon Howard Sullivan,” Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library Scholar Blog (August 7, 2019).

“The Turkey Agreement and the Dash to Curb the Refugee Crisis,” UNC Center for European Studies: European Horizons at Carolina (March 2016).

“A Week After the Paris Attacks: Overview and Ramifications,”  UNC Center for European Studies: European Horizons at Carolina (November 2016).

Teaching Fields:

U.S. in the World (1898-present); African History; Comparative Race and Ethnicity

Courses Taught:


171D: U.S. and the World, Yaqub (Spring 2018)

Teaching Assistant:

2C: World History Since 1700, Stephens (Fall 2018)

49B: Survey of African History, c. 1800-1945, Miescher (Winter 2019)

17C: The American People, c. 1917-present, Yaqub (Spring 2019)

17A: The American People, c. 1492-1830, Maar (Fall 2019)

49A: Survey of African History to 1800, Ware (Winter 2020)

2C: World History Since 1700, Spickard (Spring 2020)

17B: The American People, c. 1830-1920 (Winter 2021)

49A: Survey of African History to 1800, Ware (Spring 2021)

Awards & Professional Activities:

Bertelsen Humanities and Social Sciences Research Grant. 2021.

Fulbright Fellowship (South Africa). 2021.

National Security Education Program David L. Boren Fellowship (Zulu, South Africa). 2020-2021 (declined)

SHAFR Code of Conduct Task Force (2020-2023)

SHAFR Graduate Student Committee (2020-2023)

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation Grant.

Departmental Regents Dissertation Fellowship (1 quarter)

Andrew Mellon Engaging Humanities Predoctoral Fellowship. 2020-2021.

William H. Ellison Prize. Best Department Research Paper. 2019.

History Associates Graduate Fellowship Award. 2019.

Emory University Rose Library African American Short Term Research Fellowship. 2019.

Research Affiliate, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Summer 2018.

Graduate Student Assistant, Center for Cold War Studies and International History. UCSB. 2017-2018.

Executive Board Member of European Horizons at Carolina. Communication Director. UNC-Chapel Hill. 2015-2016.

UNC Global Studies Planning Committee. UNC-Chapel Hill. 2015-2016.

Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship, Turkish (FLAS). UNC-Chapel Hill. Academic Year, 2015-2016.

U.S. Fulbright Student Program National Semi-Finalist. UNC-Chapel Hill. 2015-2016.

Award for “Highest Achievement in History,” NC State. Commencement May 2014.

Award for “Best Thesis by a Graduating Senior,” NC State. Commencement May 2014.