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).

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.

Cynthia Polecritti
  • Title
    • Professor Emerita
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • History Department
  • Affiliations Italian Studies
  • Phone
    831-459-3356 (office), 831-459-2555 (message)
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Stevenson College Academic Building, 267 Stevenson College
  • Mail Stop Stevenson Academic Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise History, Italian Studies, Renaissance Studies, Popular Culture, Urban studies, Middle Ages
  • Courses HIS 65A, Medieval Europe: 200-1000; HIS 164A, Late-Medieval Italy, c. 1200–1400; HIS 164B, Renaissance Italy, c. 1400–1600; HIS 183A, Nineteenth-Century Italy; HIS 183B, Fascism and Resistance in Italy; HIS 196D, City of Rome; HIS 196Y, Saints and Holiness in Medieval Europe

Research Interests

Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern Italy; social, cultural, and urban history; ritual and popular devotion

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Selected Publications

  • "In the Shop of the Lord: Bernardino of Siena and Popular Devotion," in Beyond Florence: The Contours of Medieval and Early Modern Italy, P. Findlen, M. Fontaine, and D. Osheim, eds. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.
  • Preaching Peace in Renaissance Italy: Bernardino of Siena and His Audience. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2000.