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Fall 2007 e-Historian

Welcome to a new academic year! The UCLA Department of History is active on many fronts and there are many exciting developments, including great alumni news and events, and new faculty honors.


The Department of History has partnered with a group of distinguished alumni and friends willing to bring their expertise, perspectives, passion and financial support to form the UCLA History Council. The council is committed to the importance of the study of history, promotes awareness of the excellence and prominence of the UCLA History Department, and raises capital to support the department's mission.

The History Council met on Sept. 27 to plan annual activities and the restructuring of support groups under its aegis for the Department of History. Complementing this restructuring, alumni and friends who are, or wish to become, Chancellor's Associates may now direct their annual gifts to the Department of History and retain all the benefits that have traditionally been given to Chancellor's Associates. For information, visit http://www.UCLAlumni.net/HistoryNov07_01?email=HBQN
The History Council also is developing an annual history tour that will be led by a distinguished member of the department. Watch for an announcement with further details.


Phi Alpha Theta Career WorkshopMembers of the History Council recently donated their time and expertise by participating in the department's first-ever Career Workshop for History on Oct. 17. The workshop, organized by the History Council, Phi Alpha Theta, and the History Honors Society, was a rousing success. A panel of distinguished history alumni discussed their careers and the relevance of their UCLA bachelor's degrees in history with an audience of 35 undergraduate history majors. Panelists included History Council chairman, John Sussman, who moderated the panel, and council members and history alumni Clare de Briere '90, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Ratkovich Company; Dean Rydquist '81, director, senior vice president and chief compliance officer for American Funds Distributors; and Daniel Ziv '99, founder and president of Z Valet and Shuttle Service. Several faculty members attended the panel as well. The event was also profiled in the front section of the Daily Bruin. We are extremely grateful to the council and these members in particular for making better known the many career possibilities for students majoring in history. Read more about the event at <http://www.UCLAlumni.net/HistoryNov07_02?email=HBQN.


On Dec. 6, professor Joan Waugh '80, Ph.D. '92 will deliver the second History Alumni lecture. Created specifically for our department's alumni, these semi-annual lectures explore various historical issues and new areas of research. In her lecture, "The Troubled Legacy of U.S.

Grant," Waugh will examine the historical reputation of General Ulysses S. Grant, a man who played an essential role in the Civil War and Reconstruction Era. He was perceived in many different lights: depending on one's point of view, he was a victorious general or a brutal killer, an inept but honest president trying to implement the northern vision of the war or an imposer of hated "Republican Rule" on a helpless, defeated region.

Watch for your e-mail invitation to the lecture and reception. Space is limited. For information or to RSVP, visit http://www.UCLAlumni.net/HistoryNov07_04?email=HBQN.


Mayor Villariagosa Commencement The UCLA Commencement in June was a success and the Department of History was well represented. History alumni Kareem Abdul Jabbar '69 and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa '77 were central figures in the ceremony. Jabbar delivered the commencement address and Villaraigosa received the UCLA Medal of Honor.

We offer our thanks to the History Council, which served as a catalyst in connecting Jabbar with the university's academic leadership. In partnership with the History Council, we continue to raise the recognition of the department and our alumni on campus. You can find articles and video excerpts from commencement 2007 on the UCLA Alumni Association website.

Lawrence Culver Ph.D. '04, assistant professor of history at Utah State University, has been named a "Top Young Historian" by the History News Network.


Congratulations to professor Saul Friedlander, holder of the 1939 Club Chair in Holocaust Studies, who received the annual Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the highest literary award in the German-speaking world.

Kudos to assistant professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez who has won two best article prizes from the Western Historical Quarterly for "The Crimes and Consequences of Illegal Immigration: A Cross-Border Examination of Operation Wetback, 1943-1954."

Professor emeritus Richard Rouse was honored with a three-day conference on "Medieval Manuscripts-Their Makers and Users: A Conference in Honor of Richard and Mary Rouse."

Professors Edward Alpers and Christopher Ehret were honored in a series of panels organized by their former graduate students at the annual meeting of the African Studies Association in New York City.

Congratulations go to David Phillips for his promotion to associate professor with tenure and to Mary Yeager for her promotion to professor.

This year associate professor Eric Avila is a visiting fellow at the Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University. Assistant professor Ra'anan Boustan is a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Judaism at the University of Pennsylvania in fall and winter quarters.

The department is saddened by the untimely retirement of professor Miriam Silverberg. Earlier this year, Silverberg published "Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times" (University of California Press).

This year, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation awarded a $2.5 million to the UCLA College of Letters & Science for transforming the humanities. One of three initial transformational seminars is being organized by history professors Patrick Geary and Soraya de Chadarevian on "DNA and History."


On Oct. 10, the history department held a memorial to celebrate the life and career of great historian and cherished colleague Eugen Weber (1925-2007), who taught several generations of alumni and who can still be seen regularly on The History Channel lecturing on "The Western Tradition." If you are interested in contributing to a memorial fund in honor of Weber, please direct your contributions to http://www.UCLAlumni.net/HistoryNov07_07?email=HBQN.