Degrees & Programs History
Are you interested in the past? Do you enjoy studying different peoples, places, and periods? Do stories from long ago pique your curiosity?
If so, consider a history major. Our international faculty will teach you how to read, research and write history well—and help you gain skills that will serve you in any profession. History studies human activity and its meaning from the earliest times to the present, exploring different dimensions of human interactions, including politics, economics, religion, culture and ecology. Sharpen your analytical and critical skills and learn to ask good questions, to understand situations from several vantage points, to cultivate humility, and to understand and appreciate other times, people, and cultures.
* The asterisked courses may be taken in any order.
* The asterisked courses may be taken in any order.
* The asterisked courses may be taken in any order.
Born and educated in England, he studies immigration to the United Kingdom
Provides historical and cultural contexts for current events in the Middle East
Examines race, religion and law in Colonial India
A specialist in American history who has led Westmont’s Europe Semester six times
A native of France and expert in French attitudes toward dancing
History graduates flourish in a wide range of careers:
- Archival Work
- Christian Ministry
Chandra Mallampalli has been appointed to the Fletcher Jones Chair of Social Sciences. Cambridge University Press published his latest book, “A Muslim Conspiracy in British India? Politics and Paranoia in the Early Nineteenth Century Deccan,” in June. Cambridge also published his 2011 book, “Race, Religion and Law in Colonial India: Trials of an Interracial Family.” He is finishing another book under contract with Oxford University Press, “Between Hindu and Muslim: Christians of Modern South India.” Chandra and a collaborator from Pepperdine received a networking grant from the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities to study South Asian Christianity in Transition: Identity, Theological Education, and the Plight of the Marginal. In August, Chandra was a visiting fellow at the Madras Institute of Development Studies in Chennai, India and presented two papers and conducted research in state and Jesuit archives. Recent and forthcoming publications include: “Conquest and Intrigue in South India during the First Anglo-Afghan War,” Journal of Asian Studies; “Slaying Men with Faces of Women: Liberalism and Patronage in the Trial of a South Indian Maulvi,” Modern Asian Studies; “Dalit Christian Reservations: Colonial Moorings of a Live Debate,” The International Journal of Asian Christianity; and “The Orientalist Framework of Christian Conversion in India,” a chapter in the new book “Relocating World Christianity” (E.J. Brill).
European Drama and Performance Studies has published an article by Marianne Robins, “Dancing, Morality, and the Religious Origins of Secularization in France, 1500-1650.”
Alister Chapman is on sabbatical for the fall 2017 semester.
- Chloe Balma ’12: I earned a degree at Westmont in social sciences with an emphasis in history. My experiences and interests led me to work in health care with a focus on access and delivery of care for underserved populations. I am finishing a master’s program at UC Berkeley for Public Health in health policy and management. The social science major at Westmont allows students to blend interests in political science, history, business, and sociology, a combination that has proved relevant to the work I am doing today.”
- Rachel Raven Bjork ’01: “I live and work at Jubilee Partners, an intentional Christian community that hosts recently arrived refugees and walks alongside them through friendship, ESOL classes, health and legal coordination. Thirteen years after graduation, there are still times I stop mid-task and recognize that my history studies prepared me for this work by equipping me to understand context—be it cultural, social or institutional—and training me to research, analyze and articulate ideas for very different purposes, whether documenting a legal case, starting a new program or facilitating a difficult conversation.”
- Thea Brentlinger ’16: “I reside in Challis, Idaho, and serve as manager for the Watermark Inn and as a guide for Horse Creek Outfitters. My responsibilities range from domestic tasks to business transactions to guest relations, which all require organizational and communication skills I learned by studying history. Whether it is via email or in person, with my bosses or guests, I know that I can receive, interpret, and transmit information and ideas effectively.”
- Corey Collins ’14: “After graduating from Westmont, I continued my studies at UCLA School of Law. The writing, researching, and analytical thinking skills I gained while studying at Westmont have prepared me for many rewarding experiences in law school: working for a federal judge, leading student organizations, and serving as an editor of an academic journal. After graduation, I will join the litigation department of a large law firm in Orange County. I cannot stress enough how my experiences at Westmont—and especially those in my history classes—provided a firm foundation for my further education.”
- Jordan Cunnings ’08: “After graduating from law school at UCLA, I serve as a law clerk for a judge on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. After my clerkship, I hope to practice immigration law. I could not have made it through law school without the rigorous academic training and intellectual preparation provided by my Westmont history degree. The reading, writing, and critical thinking skills I developed have been invaluable.”
- Garrett Fahy ’04: “While I thoroughly enjoyed my history major at Westmont, the true value of the skills honed in the discipline—consuming, distilling and analyzing vast amounts of complex information, recognizing subtle distinctions in complex areas, refusing easy explanations for thorny issues—became evident during an off-campus semester in Washington, D.C., and in my post-Westmont years. I’ve been blessed to work in the U.S. Senate, attend Pepperdine Law School, work in litigation practice, write a regular political column, host a radio show and work on some interesting political campaigns. With each endeavor, I’ve been well served by the skills and knowledge gained through my Westmont history degree. The study of history develops and nurtures intellectual curiosity and a love of reading, which are invaluable elements of a meaningful life and vibrant faith.”
- Rachel Hatcher ’12: “As the assistant archivist at the Provincial Archives of Mission Santa Barbara, I am privileged to work with friars on digitization projects, research requests, and museum exhibits. During my time at Westmont, I practiced the research and communication of a variety of different events in world history. I find that this foundation has been important as I help the friars write and celebrate the history of their order.”
- Holly Robertson Huffnagle ’09: “I work for the U.S. State Department as a policy adviser to monitor and combat anti-Semitism in Europe. Previously I worked at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum while completing my master’s at Georgetown University in global, international and comparative history. I daily use skills developed as a history major at Westmont: critical thinking, primary-source research, analysis, and report-writing. During the EuroMaidan protests in Ukraine in December 2013, I worked in the Office of Eastern Europe and used my historical knowledge of the region to put the issues in context with colleagues and policymakers.”
- Jason Huffnagle ’09: “I work for the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Studying history at Westmont has equipped me with the tools necessary to engage in policy matters of national import. This includes, but is not limited to, writing analysis, researching policies, or studying the legislative history of a particular issue. These skills inform my work daily and allow me to distill information to better inform policy-makers.”
- Christopher Lim ’12: “My role as financial associate at Mercer Advisors holds me responsible for the design and implementation of financial game plans for individuals, families and companies. The work I do requires me to extract data and information from client documents or primary sources and build a financial plan or client’s life story, skills which I can undoubtedly trace back to my work in my studies as a history major.”
- Corinna Ott ’15: “After finishing Westmont in December 2014, I joined Youth with A Mission, a worldwide, non-profit Christian missions organization in Newcastle, Australia. My time there included travel to various countries in Asia and work with university students, slum schools and churches, and women rescued from sex trafficking. After returning to the U.S., I worked as a substitute teacher for a local school district in the Bay Area to explore a teaching career. The Lord has now blessed me with an incredible job as a fifth-grade teacher at one of the lowest-income elementary schools in the area. I am now applying to grad school to obtain my teaching credential and master’s degree. My dream is to teach high school history, inspired by my love of history initially sparked during my time at Westmont.”
- Michael Ratsamy ’09: “After graduating from Westmont with a degree in history, I worked various jobs and did some career soul-searching. I ended up going back to school and achieved a master’s degree in computer science from CSU Fullerton. I work as a software engineer at Landmark Global, a division of Bpost. My training as a history major gave me the ability to think critically, research, analyze and contextualize complex ideas and helps me navigate the complexities of global commerce and automating this process. As a history major, I learned unabashedly to ask why something works the way it does, saving me countless hours of unnecessary effort and helping me write more robust software that handles both current and future needs.”
- Myrna Perez Sheldon ’06: “I earned my doctorate from the Department of the History of Science at Harvard University in 2014, and I also spent time as a research fellow with the Darwin Correspondence Project at Cambridge University and at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, Calif. I am now a postdoctoral fellow at the Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality at Rice University.”
- Emalie Diaz Sundale ’10: “I’m in my second year of law school at UC Hastings College of the Law and will likely do transactional tax or corporate law after graduation. It’s no exaggeration to say that I use my history skills every day. Studying the law requires reading vast quantities of complicated—and at times contradictory—material, digesting it, and communicating it in a cohesive, succinct and clear manner. My studies in history gave me a four-year head start on this practice and helped me feel confident and prepared when I started my legal education.”
- Tara Tran ’10: “Since parting with Westmont and leaving California, I experimented on the East Coast, returned to my hometown, went back to Santa Barbara, and then worked in Asia. After pursuing a research project in Cambodia on a Fulbright scholarship, I decided to continue those interests further in graduate school at Johns Hopkins, where I am in a doctoral program for history.”
- Emily Whitman ’14: After graduating, she spent four months in Jordan volunteering at a children’s trauma center for displaced Syrians and for multiple medical and humanitarian missions throughout the refugee camps of Jordan with nonprofit Salaam Cultural Museum (SCM). After a stint working as a copyeditor for the Los Angeles Review of Books, she felt called to return to humanitarian work on the Greek island of Lesvos, where she assisted in SCM’s efforts to provide humanitarian aid to refugees and migrants fleeing to Europe by boat. She has contributed to the Middle East Journal as a publications intern for the Middle East Institute and now works as the institute’s program assistant and graphic designer for a new initiative that will bring Saudi entrepreneurs to the U.S. for a yearlong series of TED Talk-style lectures.
- Danielle Willard-Kyle ’11: After graduating from Westmont, I earned a master’s in history in collaboration with Jewish studies at the University of Toronto and a Master of Studies in Jewish studies at the University of Oxford. I am a doctoral student in the History Department at Rutgers University in New Jersey, where my research focuses on post-Holocaust refugees, migration and families in Western Europe and North Africa. I volunteer at a local, federally approved refugee resettlement organization, Interfaith-RISE (Refugee and Immigrant Services and Empowerment), where I bring together many of the skills I’ve learned as a historian: organization, analysis, writing, and, perhaps most importantly, compassion.”
- Mike Willbanks ’92: “For the past 10 years I’ve been on the pastoral staff at Santa Barbara Community Church and oversee worship, men’s, and young-adult ministries. Studying history at Westmont helped me to think critically about the world we live in, making connections between events and ideas, and sharpened my ability to communicate clearly.”
- Ryan Zoradi ’08: “I work for Unitus Impact, a social-impact investment firm headquartered in San Francisco. Our mission is to invest in scalable businesses that improve the livelihoods of low-income populations throughout Asia. Studying history at Westmont piqued my curiosity about the world outside of present-day Santa Barbara and through rigorous research assignments challenged me to quickly get my head around novel subject matter and then construct and defend logical arguments.”