Americas and Africa

The Americas and Africa caucus invites students to explore the complex history of intercultural encounter, exchange, and conflict that connects South, Central, and North America and the diverse nations of Africa. Courses in this concentration locate these regions within larger global movements of people, goods, and ideas. Major topical themes in the concentration include Indigenous history, African diaspora, immigration, gender, labor, religion, social movements, politics, and critical history of race. Courses in this concentration extend from the colonial era to the modern day and reflect interdisciplinary approaches to historical practice.


Major Requirements

The history major requires a minimum of 12 unique courses. At least eight of the 12 courses must be upper-division (HIS 100-199). A maximum of four courses, including the introductory survey course, may be lower-division (HIS 1-99).

Region of Concentration: Americas and Africa (6 courses)

I. One lower-division introductory survey course:

All of the above courses satisfy the Ethnicity and Race (ER) general education requirement.

II. Four additional Americas and Africa courses, three of which must be upper-division

III. One Americas and Africa Comprehensive Requirement

Historical Skills and Methods (1 course)

IV. HIS 100, Historical Skills and Methods

HIS 100 introduce history majors to historical methods and provides preparation for advanced historical research. Students develop critical reading, historical analysis, research, and disciplinary writing skills. HIS 100 also satisfies the Textual Analysis and Interpretation (TA) general education requirement.

Students who enter UCSC as frosh are expected to complete HIS 100 by the end of their second year. Transfer students are expected to complete HIS 100 no later than their second term at UCSC.

Catalog of Course Requirements

The History Catalog of Course Requirements indicates what region(s) of concentration and what chronological distribution requirement(s) individual history courses may apply toward.

Breadth Requirements (4 courses)

V. Two courses from each of the remaining two regions of concentration:

Upper-Division Elective (1 course)

One additional upper-division history course of your choice from any of the three regions of concentration

Distribution Requirements

Of the 12 courses required for the major, at least three must meet chronological distribution requirements. One must be set before 600 C.E., and two must be set in periods prior to the year 1800 C.E.

Intensive Major Option

The intensive history major offers students a pathway to enrich their study of history, refine their skills in writing and research, and receive a designation on their transcripts that signals their ambition and accomplishment to potential employers and graduate schools. All history majors are eligible to declare the intensive track, including junior transfers. If a student attempts but does not complete the intensive track they may still graduate with a standard history degree, provided the appropriate major coursework has been completed.

Matt O'Hara
  • Title
    • Provost, Stevenson College
    • Chair, History Department
    • Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • Stevenson College
    • History Department
    • Humanities Division
  • Affiliations Latin American & Latino Studies, Research Center for the Americas
  • Phone
    831-459-5199 (office)
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, 537
  • Office Hours Fall 2020, please email for an appt. (zoom)
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise History, Mexico, Colonialism
  • Courses HIS 11B, Latin America: National Period; HIS 100, History Skills and Methods; HIS 134A, Colonial Mexico; HIS 134B, History of Mexico, 1850 to Present; HIS 190H, History of Time; HIS 190T, Latin America in the Cold War; HIS 204C, Colonialism, Nationalism and Race Research Seminar; HIS 280A, History Graduate Proseminar: Teaching Pedagogy

Research Interests

Mexico and Latin America; religion; political culture; history of time; bioprospecting and history of medicine

Biography, Education and Training

Ph. D. University of California, San Diego

B.A., University of California, Berkeley

Honors, Awards and Grants

American Council of Learned Societies, Fellowship, 2013-14
American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grant, 2013-14
Kimberly S. Hanger Article Prize, 2013
Thomas McGann Award (book prize), 2010
James Alexander Robertson Memorial Prize for best article, American Historical Association-Conference on Latin American History, 2007
National Endowment for the Humanities, Faculty Research Award, 2005-6
Rockefeller Foundation Fellow in American Indian Studies, The Newberry Library, Chicago, IL, 2004-2005
National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, The John Carter Brown Library, Brown University, Providence, R.I., 2004

Selected Publications