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Message From the Chair

David N. Myers
Dear Friends,

I am pleased to welcome you to the website of the UCLA History Department. The Department is acknowledged as one of the great centers for the study of history in the world. What makes us excellent are the people of the Department: our more than 60 award-winning faculty members, our 200 brilliant graduate students, and the thousands of outstanding undergraduates who take our courses.

These remain challenging times for universities in America, particularly for those of us who work in the humanities and social sciences. But the challenges of today are the opportunities of today. We believe that a good grasp of history is not a mere luxury, but a necessity for informed engagement in society. And it is our mission at the UCLA History Department to provide historical knowledge, depth, and perspective to our students—and to the broader public with whom we constantly interact. In addition to offering hundreds of courses, the Department sponsors the Public History Initiative, as well as an array of public lectures and symposia, including our well-known “Why History Matters,” open and free to the public. In the coming year, we will continue to build a rich network that connects graduates of the Department to the thousands of alumni out there who are anxious to give back.

One of the sources of ongoing optimism for the Department is that we have generous supporters who recognize the importance of history. Our esteemed colleague in Roman history, Ron Mellor, has made a significant estate gift, along with his wife, Prof. Anne Mellor, to the History and English Departments. Former UCLA administrator Tom Lifka, a trained historian and long-standing friend, has created a prize for the best dissertation in the Department. And we are delighted to have received a gift to create the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Chair in Jewish History, which will support that field and graduate studies more generally in the Department.Jessica Goldberg

It is also a delight to welcome new faculty colleagues to replenish the ranks. We are thrilled to welcome these distinguished scholars and teachers to UCLA:

  • Jessica Goldberg, who joins us an associate professor of medieval history

  • Katsuya Hirano, who joins us associate professor of Japanese history

Katsuya HiranoWe are also pleased to welcome Stephanie Koscak, who will be with for us for two years as a post-doc in the history of the book (shared with the Clark Library).Stephanie Koscak

In the midst of this good news, challenges remain. Ensuring the key role of history in our society—and the world-class research and teaching for which we are renowned--is a task shared by all of us. Please join us as partners by making a contribution to the UCLA History Department. And please be in touch with me (myers@history.ucla.edu) to share your thoughts about History@UCLA.

David N. Myers
Robert N. Burr Department Chair

P.S. I am honored to hold the new Robert N. Burr Department Chair position, named after one of the Department’s great chairs and enabled by last year’s extraordinary gift from the Arcadia Fund.