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 required 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:

  • HIS 10A, United States History to 1877
  • HIS 10B, United States History, 1877 to 1977
  • HIS 11A, Latin America: Colonial Period
  • HIS 11B, Latin America: National Period
  • HIS 30, The Making of Modern Africa

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 exit seminar: HIS 190-series, HIS 194-series, or HIS 196-series

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 A.D., and two must be set in periods prior to the year 1800 A.D.

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.

Matthew Lasar
  • Title
    • Lecturer
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • History Department
  • Phone
    831-459-5593
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Stevenson College Academic Building, 280 Stevenson
    • 280 Stevenson College
  • Office Hours Winter 2020: Wednesdays from 10 am to 1 pm, Stevenson 280
  • Mail Stop Stevenson Academic Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise History, Politics, World History, United States Politics and Government
  • Courses HIS 10B, The United States of America from the Gilded Age through the Cold War; HIS 110E, What Is a Nation? The U.S. from 1877 to 1914; HIS 110F, The United States from World War I through World War II; HIS 110G, The U.S. after the Second World War; History 117: Global Cold War; History 118a: Conspiracy Planet; History 15: The United States of America

Summary of Expertise

The United States of America; the Cold War; conspiracies and conspiracy theories.

Research Interests

United States history; world history; history of the Cold War; radio and telecommunications history.

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D, Claremont Graduate School (now University)

Honors, Awards and Grants

UCSC Excellence in Teaching Award, 2016

Selected Publications

  • Radio 2.0: Uploading the First Broadcast Medium, ABC-CLIO Praeger, 2016
  • Uneasy Listening: Pacifica Radio's Civil War, London: Black Apollo Press, 2005.
  • Pacifica Radio: The Rise of an Alternative Network Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1999; Robert Dawidoff, series editor; updated edition in paperback, 2000
  • "The Triumph of the Visual: Stages and Cycles in the Pornography Controversy from the McCarthy Era to the Present," The Journal of Policy History, Volume 7, No. 2, 1995.
  • "Pacifica Radio's Crisis of Containment," in McCauley, Artz, Halleck, and Peterson, eds., Public Broadcasting and the Public Interest, New York: M.E. Sharpe, December, 2002.
  • "Right out in public": Pacifica Radio, the Cold War, and the Political Origins of Alternative Media", Pacific Historical Review, Volume 67, Number 4, November 1998.
  • "Hybrid Highbrow: KPFA's Reconstruction of Elite Culture, 1942-1960," The Journal of Radio Studies, Volume 5, Number 1, Winter, 1998.

Teaching Interests

The United States of America; the Cold War; conspiracies and conspiracy theories.