Europe and the Mediterranean World

The Europe and the Mediterranean World concentration offers students the opportunity to explore the histories of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East, and connections between these places and the larger world. We look at the continual flow of ideas, people, and material goods across this region, from the earliest states in the ancient world until today. We examine how empires, colonialism, religion, culture, the environment, and social and economic forces, including the development of capitalism and of the nation-state, shaped these interactions in profound ways. Collectively, we trace over 5000 years of intersecting histories, examining linkages and conflicts forged by geography, trade, war, migration, imperial aspirations, colonial violence, religious and ethnic minorities, and struggles for liberation.

The caucus includes intensive study of the histories of Europe, Russia, North Africa and the Middle East, as well as imperial, colonial, and transnational histories that trace the changing relations among these places. Major periods and areas of focus include the ancient and medieval worlds, oceanic empires in the early modern period (1450-1800), modern imperialism and colonialism, and decolonization and postcolonial states in the twentieth century.

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).

Major Planning Worksheet

Copy a History Major Planning Worksheet to your UCSC Google Drive.

Region of Concentration: Europe and the Mediterranean World (6 courses)

I. One lower-division introductory survey course:

All of the above courses satisfy the Cross-Cultural Analysis (CC) general education requirement.

II. Four additional Europe and the Mediterranean World courses, three of which must be upper-division

III. One Europe and the Mediterranean World 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.

Alma Rachel Heckman
  • Title
    • Neufeld-Levin Chair of Holocaust Studies
    • Assistant Professor
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • History Department
    • Jewish Studies
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Stevenson College Academic Building, 277
  • Office Hours Winter 2021: Fridays, noon-2pm PST and by appointment (via Zoom)
  • Mail Stop Stevenson Academic Services
  • Mailing Address
    • Stevenson Academic Services, 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz California 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Jewish Studies and Judaism, Middle East Studies, Mediterranean Studies
  • Courses HIS 74A: Introduction to Middle Eastern and North African Jewish History: Ancient to Early Modern; HIS 074: Introduction to Jewish History and Cultures; HIS 74B: Introduction to Middle Eastern and North African Jewish History: Early Modern to Present; HIS 76: The Holocaust; HIS 185C: Communism, Nationalism, & Zionism: Comparative Radical Jewish Politics; HIS 185O: The Holocaust and the Arab World; HIS 194K: Jewish Radical Movements; HIS 194L: Exile, Diaspora and Displacement: Jewish Memoir from North Africa and the Middle East; HIS 194V: Fascism and Anti-Fascism: The Global Spanish Civil War; HIS 185I: Latin American Jewish History in the Modern Period

Summary of Expertise

Modern Jewish History

Modern History of North Africa and the Middle East


Research Interests

Modern Jewish History

North Africa and the Middle East

Labor History

Transnational Jewish Political Activism



Third Worldism


Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D. in History, UCLA, 2015.

C.Phil. in History, UCLA, 2012.

MA in History, UCLA, 2012.

B.A. in French (major) and Middle Eastern Studies (major), Wellesley College, 2009.

Honors, Awards and Grants

Fellow at the Herbert D. Katz Center for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Pennsylvania (Fall 2018)    

Hellman Fellowship for AY 2017-2018 

Posen Society of Fellows award for 2014-2016

UCLA International Institute International Fieldwork Fellowship for AY 2013-2014

UCLA Center for Jewish Studies Bluma Appel Fellowship for AY 2013-2014

 Ralph and Sarah Monkarsh Graduate Fellowship travel grant Summer 2013

American Academy for Jewish Research (AAJR) travel fellowship Summer 2013

Takiff Family Foundation Fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Fall 2013

UCLA Center for Jewish Studies Roter Research Travel Grant Summer 2012

FLAS grant to study Hebrew Summer 2011

Chancellor’s Prize to support Summer research 2011 and 2012

Fulbright Fellowship to Morocco, AY 2009-2010

Selected Publications

 The Sultan's Communists: Moroccan Jews and the Politics of Belonging. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2021.

 “Fissures and Fusions: Moroccan Jewish Communists before, during, and after WWII,” in On the Margins of the Holocaust, Sarah Abrevaya Stein and Aomar Boum, Eds. (Stanford University Press, 2019).

“Jewish Radicals of Morocco: Case Study for a New Historiography,” in Jewish Social Studies Vol. 23, No. 30, Spring/Summer 2018: 67-100.

“Multivariable Casablanca: Vichy Law, Jewish Diversity, and the Moroccan Communist Party” in Hespéris-Tamuda special issue “Jews of Morocco and the Maghreb: History and Historiography,” Vol. LI – Fascicule 3, (2016): 13-34. 

 “Packed in Twelve Cases: The Alliance Israélite Universelle and the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair” with Frances Malino in Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture Society n.s. 19, no. 1 (Fall 2012): 53-69.

"Edmond El Maleh". The Literary Encyclopedia. 18 April 2013. []

Numerous translations for Julia Phillips Cohen and Sarah Abrevaya Stein, eds., Sephardi Lives: A Documentary History of the Ottoman Judeo-Spanish World & Its Diaspora, 1700-1950 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2014).


Selected Recordings

"Beyond Casablanca: Jews in Vichy North Africa," Tajine podcast episode 4, Feb. 12, 2014.


"Jewish Citizens on Exhibit," Ottoman History Podcast, episode 126, Oct. 17, 2013.