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.

Jennifer L. Derr
  • Title
    • Associate Professor; Founding Director, Center for the Middle East and North Africa at UC Santa Cruz
  • Division Humanities Division
  • Department
    • History Department
  • Affiliations Science & Justice Research Center, Environmental Studies Department, Critical Race and Ethnic Studies
  • Phone
    831-459-3602 (office)
  • Email
  • Office Location
    • Humanities Building 1, 529
  • Office Hours By appointment via zoom
  • Mail Stop Humanities Academic Services
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Faculty Areas of Expertise Disease and Immunity, Science Studies, Environmental Studies, Biomedical Sciences, Capitalism, Colonialism, History, Water
  • Courses HIS 41: The Making of the Modern Middle East; HIS 151A: Medicine and the Body in the Colonial World; HIS 156: Interrogating Politics in the Post-Colonial Middle East; HIS 156A: Art, Culture, and Mass Media in the Arab Middle East; HIS 157: The Ottoman Empire; HIS 194Q: Making Space in the Colonial and Post-Colonial World; HIS 194W: Social Movements in the Modern Middle East; HIS 260: History and the Spatial Turn: Making Space, Place, and Geography in History; HIS 261: The Contours of the New Middle East History
  • Advisees, Grad Students, Researchers Sean Lawrence

Research Interests

Colonial and Post-colonial Middle Eastern history; environmental history; history of science; history of medicine; critical geography

Biography, Education and Training


B.S. in Biological Sciences, Stanford University

M.A. in Contemporary Arab Studies, Georgetown University

Ph.D. in History, Stanford University

Honors, Awards and Grants

National Science Foundation CAREER Award, "History of Science at the Interface of Biomedical and Environmental Concerns," 2019-2024 

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Department III, Working Group “Art of Judgment,” Visiting Scholar, January 2019 – July 2019 

UCHRI Junior Faculty Manuscript Workshop Award, 2016-2017

National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Stipend Award Winner, 2016

Hellman Fellow, 2015-2016

Social Science Research Council Book Fellowship, 2012

Junior Fellow, Society of Fellows in British Studies, The University of Texas at Austin, 2009-2010


Selected Publications

"Hepatitis C, COVID-19 and the Egyptian Regime’s Approach to Health Care" Middle East Report: Health and the Body Politic" 297 (Winter 2020).

The Lived Nile: Environment, disease, and material colonial economy in Egypt. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2019.

“Labor-time: Ecological bodies and agricultural labor in 19th and early 20th-century Egypt” International Journal of Middle East Studies 50 no. 2 (May 2018): 195-212.

 “The Dirty Subject of the First World War” International Journal of Middle East Studies vol. 46 no. 4 (November 2014): 781-783.

 “A Draft of the Colony: Historical Imagination and the Production of Agricultural Geography in British-Occupied Egypt” Environmental Imaginaries of the Middle East and North Africa. Edited by Edmund Burke III and Diana K. Davis. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2011.

 “Regulation of p53 by Hypoxia: Dissociation of Transcriptional Repression and Apoptosis from p53-Dependent Transactivation” (with Constantinos Koumenis, Rodolfo Alarcon, Ester Hammond, Patrick Sutphin, William Hoffman, Maureen Murphy, Yoichi Taya, Scott W. Lowe, Michael Kastan, and Amato Giaccia) Molecular and Cellular Biology, Vol. 21, No. 4 (February 2001): 1297-1310.