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In Memoriam

Professor Emeritus Richard Hovannisian

We are saddened by the news of Professor Emeritus Richard Hovannisian’s passing.  He passed away on July 10, 2023. 

Richard was a prolific world leader in Armenian history who dedicated decades of his life to the UCLA History Department. He was the first holder of the Armenian Educational Foundation Professorial Chair in Modern Armenian History, now named in his honor. Professor Sebouh Aslanian, who now holds that chair, has written a fitting tribute to Richard’s many accomplishments.  Here is the link to that tribute:








Geraldine Alden, Ph.D. 1998

Geraldine Alden, July 16, 1931 – July 16, 2022

Geraldine Alden, Ph.D., graduated cum laude from UCLA in 1975, and became a member of the National Honor Society, Pi Gamma Mu. In 1998, at the age of 67 she earned her doctorate  in Modern European history from UCLA with her dissertation “The Road to Collaboration.”  Before returning to her studies, she was involved with various charitable organizations, founding a support group for the Marlanne Frostig Center for children with learning disabilities and serving as a board member of the Los Angeles Youth Programs for disadvantaged children.

At UCLA, she was on the Board of the College of Letters and Science for four years. Over 30 years ago, she created the support group “Friends of History” for the university’s history department. The group has hosted salons at private homes at which professors from the Department speak on various topics, and has raised money to support graduate students. The Alden-Berg lecture (named for Jeri and fellow alumna Barbara Berg) was established in the UCLA Department of History in 2012. The public lecture features notable academics and scholars who address important issues of the past and present.

Jeri was awarded the CHR Gold at UCLA for personal commitment to the university. A founding member of the Museum of Contemporary Art and a former trustee on its Board of Directors, she was also a member of its Projects Council. She was a member of the Southern California Human Rights Watch Committee, a trustee on the Board of Directors of the Los Angeles Opera, a founding member of the Music Center, and a member of the Music Center’s Blue Ribbon Society.  

Jeri contributed in manifold ways to the well-being of the Department and to public history, and her contributions will be missed. She is survived by three children, eight grandchildren and two great grandchildren.


Distinguished Research Professor Richard Rouse

We are sad to announce that Distinguished Research Professor Richard Rouse passed away on July 6, 2022.

Richard was an accomplished medieval historian, a member of our department since 1963, a congenial colleague who excelled in reading and examining medieval books and manuscripts in Latin and Romance languages. He is survived by his spouse, colleague and frequent co-author, Mary Rouse.

LA Times Obituary





UCLA History Alumnus Neal Salisbury, PhD

Alumnus, Neal Salisbury,  passed away May 27, 2022.  A historian of Native Americans in early modern North America, he was the Barbara Richmond 1940 Professor Emeritus of History at Smith College, where he taught from 1973 to 2014. Dr. Salisbury earned his PhD under Gary Nash in 1972 with his dissertation, “Conquest of the ‘Savage’ Puritans, Puritan Missionaries, and Indians 1620-1680.”

The Organization of American Historians (OAH) has posted a remembrance webpage about Neal Salisbury.






Distinguished Research Professor Gary Nash

Gary B. Nash, Distinguished Research Professor, 27 July 1933-29 July 2021.          

Gary Nash, a prolific historian of early America and a member of the history department since 1966, died on July 29th. Gary earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Princeton, taking a break to serve in the Navy for three years. Once he finished his doctorate, he taught briefly at Princeton before coming to UCLA. He moved rapidly through the faculty ranks, earning full professor in 1972, by which time he had published two books: Quakers and Politics: Pennsylvania, 1681-1726 (1968), based on his doctoral dissertation and Class and Society in Early America (1970).  Although Gary retired from UCLA in 1994, he long remained involved in the university, with the National Center for History in the Schools among other concerns. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he continued to write and to support the work of colleagues, especially students and junior colleagues.

Among his most notable books, his Red, White, and Black: The Peoples of Early America (1974, with many subsequent editions) offered a survey of early American history that featured the three major groups in British North America; this innovative work reshaped the way historians approached the American past. He was proud to report that it was required reading for a time at some military academies such as West Point. His magnum opus, The Urban Crucible: Social Change, Political Consciousness and the Origins of the American Revolution (1979), argued for the importance of non-elites in bringing about the American Revolution. Part of the new social history and the new Left historiography that was remaking understandings of the American past, the book reflected Gary’s view that U.S. history was shaped by the struggles of ordinary people trying to better themselves. Urban Crucible, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, inspired a number of historians to study social history and American radicalism. Gary’s focus on the struggles of ordinary people also inspired the textbook he co-authored, The American People: Creating a Nation and a Society (1986, with many subsequent editions). He wrote numerous books in African American history as well, including Forging Freedom: The Formation of Philadelphia's Black Community, 1720-1840 (1988) and The Forgotten Fifth: African Americans in the Age of Revolution (2006). By the time of his death, he had authored dozens of books, many of them single-author monographs but others co-authored or co-edited works. Most recently, he published Warner Mifflin: An unflinching abolitionist (2017); and Writings of Warner Mifflin: Forgotten Quaker Abolitionist of the Revolutionary Era, co-authored with Michael R. McDowell, was released this summer. His last manuscript, Our Beloved Friend: The Life and Writings of Anne Emlen Mifflin, co-authored with Emily M. Teipe, has just been completed. 

His highly productive research career was only part of how he spent his time; Gary was also an active university and professional citizen. At UCLA, he was Dean of Undergraduate and Intercollege Curricular Development, and Dean, Council on Educational Development. He founded the National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA, working with National Council for History Standards to create History Standards with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Department of Education (a project mandated by Congress). Once the Standards were published—with input from many educators and scholars—the by-then former head of the NEH launched an all-out campaign against them and against Gary as their lead author. He and his colleagues Charlotte Crabtree and Ross Dunn wrote an account of the controversy, History on Trial: Culture Wars and the Teaching of the Past (1997). This controversy has echoes in the current efforts to dictate educational content on the part of the former U.S. president and his supporters. Gary also served as President of the Organization of American Historians (1994-95).  His service to the profession, the public (as with the National Park Service), and K-12 educators was legion.

Gary was also a passionate and engaging teacher; he was awarded the UCLA Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991. He fought to get social history included in the US survey at UCLA, which led for a time to two separate surveys, one social (the 6 series) and the other a more traditional political and intellectual history (7), before the two were combined into today’s History 13 (A-C). His lecture courses wove stories about the past, stories that featured individuals struggling to better their lives. His seminars were challenging and attracted many graduate students. For years, early American history students met at his home for a potluck dinner and to discuss each other’s dissertation chapters. A clear and elegant writer himself, he was also an extremely talented editor of the writing of others; not only his many students but also innumerable colleagues pay tribute to his talents in this direction.

Gary was above all passionate, about his causes, about writing history, and about fighting the good fight. He was an athlete, a backpacker, and a lover of the outdoors. His enormous energy allowed him to make an outsized contribution in many areas. He leaves behind his wife of forty years, Cindy Shelton, children, grandchildren, and many bereft friends.

LA Times News Article

UCLA Newsroom Article

Omohundro Institute Article

The Gary B. Nash Memorial Fund has been established to support the mission of the African-American and American-Indian Centers within the UCLA Institute of American Cultures. Donations in Gary’s memory can be submitted online at https://giving.ucla.edu/Campaign/Donate.aspx?SiteNum=483&fund=14440c or you may send a check payable to “The UCLA Foundation/Nash Memorial Fund” and mail to The UCLA Foundation, PO Box 7145, Pasadena, CA 91109-9903.

The National Park Service Foundation (with which Gary worked for years) is also accepting donations in his memory: https://www.nationalparks.org/support


Professor Emeritus Robert Wohl

We are sad to announce that Robert Wohl died June 3, 2021. 

The following tribute is from Lauro Martines.

I offer these words about Robert Wohl with a divided heart. There is a measure of enjoyment in representing him to younger colleagues, but I also mourn his death. He had long been my dearest friend in the United States.

Although Robert -- he never liked the nickname “Bob” – was born in Montana, there was nothing “mountainy” about him. In college at Dartmouth and then at UCLA, his eyes and spirit quickly turned to European civilization, and there they remained. Graduate study took him to Harvard (1959-1960), to the Ėcole des Sciences Politiques (1960-1961), and then to Princeton University, where he obtained his doctorate in 1963.

His first book, French Communism in the Making, 1914-1924 (Stanford, 1966), came out of his doctoral dissertation and took on a bitterly contested decade in the early history of the French Communist Party. Turncoats and loyalists fought over claims concerning the Party’s nature, aims, and actions. Robert’s book provided a more detached and balanced picture, but it moved along customary research rails.

His next book was based on nearly a dozen years of research, as he reached out inquiringly in a quest for his own kind of history. We had endless conversations about this, especially after he had fully envisaged that book, The Generation of 1914 (Harvard, 1979). Now he had hit his stride. Drawing away from narrow specialization of the sort that can blind one, he had elected to write about culture broadly conceived and often verging on so-called “high” culture. In this take, as he saw it, the primary task was to turn to every kind of valid historical source: memoirs, letters, poetry, fiction, treatises, the press, art, manifestos, the cinema, and of course official government documents. Having decided to navigate through this “embarrassment of riches,” he passed to the decisive action: namely, to pull all his findings together into an argument, themes, a thesis. This task quite evidently called for a plenitude of historical imagination. Robert had this in spades.

In The Generation of 1914, moving from a widely held notion claiming that generations issue in cohorts with similar views among the members, Robert found that this was nonsense. Seen as the determining agent, battlefield experience in the Great War did not lead men into holding similar attitudes and views. The members of that supposed cohort took easily to rabidly conflicting political ideas and social attitudes.  

There followed, in due course, Robert’s books on aviation, where he again draws on every kind of source. I refer to A Passion for Wings: Aviation and the Western Imagination, 1908-1918 (Yale, 1994)), as well as to The Spectacle of Flight and the Western Imagination, 1920-1950 (Yale, 2005). He had planned to issue a third volume on the subject, bringing the tale up to the present, but “nature” – poor health – got in the way.

The aviation books track the ways in which airplanes and the phenomenon of flight were transmogrified into metaphor, myth, prowess, propaganda, and glory. Among many other matters, including Hollywood’s glorification of airplane flight, Robert highlights the play of elitism in the culture of aviation, such as in Mussolini’s assertion that flying was not for the masses.

In The Generation of 1914, as in his books on aviation, Robert employs the method of collective biography to carry much of the weight of his arguments. The underlying assumption of the method is all but self-evident: when taken and studied in its wider historical context, the individual voice turns into a social voice.

Robert was a splendid colleague, cooperative, hugely committed to the Department, always pleasant, and almost – I want to say -- too civilized at times to correct colleagues who called him “Bob”.


Professor Janice Reiff

Janice L. (“Jan”) Reiff died May 4, 2021, unexpectedly. At the time of her death, she was Special Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost for Online Instruction (a post she had held for six years) as well as Professor of both History and Statistics at UCLA. Jan was an accomplished and dedicated teacher, a researcher interested in presenting the past through a variety of media, and an exemplary university citizen. Her engagement across the university and the historical profession made her widely known and well respected, and she will be deeply missed.

Jan joined the department in 1992. Having grown up in Western Illinois, Jan received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern before earning the Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1981. She subsequently worked at the Newberry Library, Northwestern University, and Case Western Reserve University. She also held a position as a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Universität Bremen in Germany before joining the UCLA faculty.

Actively engaged in many aspects of undergraduate education and university governance, Jan served in a wide variety of roles over the decades.  Among her most notable positions, in addition to launching the Online Teaching and Learning Initiative (and chairing its 26-member steering committee) in her capacity as of Special Assistant to the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost, she was Chair of the Academic Senate Chair (2013-14) as well as of UCLA's Graduate Council (2007-2009) and its Committee on Teaching (2011-2012). At the time of her death, she had recently been appointed a project owner for the campus LMS Transformation which aims to help campus update the learning management system and to provide an improved platform for faculty to offer courses in online and hybrid formats. During the pandemic she was a member of the Covid Response and Recovery Task Force, chairing the subcommittee “Teaching and Learning Work Group” which not only considered remote instruction, but also how best to return to an in-person classroom setting.

Jan Reiff has published Structuring the Past: The Use of Computers in History (American Historical Association, 1991); Digitizing the Past: The Use of Computers and Communications Technologies in History (American Historical Association, 1999); and, with Helen Hornbeck Tanner, The Settling of North America: The Atlas of the Great Migrations into North America from the Ice Age to the Present (Macmillian, 1995), with James R. Grossman and Ann Durkin Keating; the prize-winning The Encyclopedia of Chicago (2004); and Chicago Business and Industry: FROM FUR TRADE TO E-COMMERCE (2013). The online version of the Encyclopedia of Chicago was launched in 2005 as joint project of the Chicago Historical Society, Newberry Library, and Northwestern University. She has also published numerous articles particularly in urban and business history. In a joint effort with her Los Angeles: The Cluster class and the UCLA Library, she was working to create an online textbook for that class, “Seeing Sunset, Learning Los Angeles.” See the work in progress here: https://humtech.ucla.edu/project/seeing-sunset/

At the time of her death, she had a number of other projects underway: “Industrial Towns, Suburban Dreams, Urban Realities: Pullman Communities, 1880-1981,” and “Mapping the New Deal and Post-War Renewal.”

Professor Reiff’s dedication to teaching was such that she won a Distinguished Teaching Award from the university (2009), as well as being given an award for distinguished service to graduate education from the Graduate Student Association. In addition, she held the Waldo W. Nelkirk term chair (2015-18), honoring her commitment to innovation in undergraduate education. Jan taught a variety of courses at UCLA. The coordinator of the “Los Angeles” Freshman Cluster, she was also a member of the teaching staff for the “Sixties” GE cluster. In history, she taught American social history, U.S. since 1960, the U.S. survey, and various undergraduate seminars about cities, including a neighborhood-based course on L.A.'s Historic Filipinotown, and a seminar in digital history/digital humanities. Among graduate seminars she offered Comparative Urbanisms, Popular Culture, U.S. Urban History, U.S. Since 1930, U.S. Social History, and Hypermedia and History.

In the last decade, Jan was an ever-present force on campus, involved in numerous initiatives. At our department meetings, she was always able to explain the big picture on undergraduate educational trends and reforms. She embraced online education and advocated for it with passionate intensity.  She invariably reached out to staff and to new faculty, making them welcome in the university community. Since her unexpected death, many people across campus and beyond have expressed their shock and dismay. We mourn her loss, and send our condolences to her family and her many friends.

UCLA Newsroom story on Jan Reiff

UCLA Faculty Center In-Memoriam for Jan Reiff (Dedication is on page 5 and 6.)

~~ If you would like to offer a tribute to Jan, you can do so here. ~~

~~ To read the tributes contributed by Jan’s friends and colleagues, click here ~~


Les Koepplin, PhD 1971

Alumni Les Koepplin passed away February 3, 2021 at the age of 76. The first in his family to attend college, Les completed his Ph.D. in History in 1971 at UCLA, where he held the Sen. William Andrews Clark Graduate fellowship. His dissertation was A Relationship of Reform: Immigrants and Progressives in the Far West. Les spent his career advocating for higher education.

Les began his career working in the UCLA Chancellor’s office, focused on international studies and on university relations with business, foundations, and the federal government. He co-authored the paper “International Business and International Studies” for the American Council on Education Agenda for Business and Higher Education and the paper “International Business, Foreign Language and International Studies” for the President’s Commission on Foreign Language and International Studies. The latter paper was instrumental in the establishment of the Center for International Business Education, Research and Service program in the U.S. Department of Education.

Les spent 25 years in Washington, D.C. employed by the presidents of Rutgers University. Representing the university system, he worked closely with several administrations, Congress and higher education associations to maximize funding for federal student aid and research. Les took the national lead in the successful passage of the R&D tax credit, the establishment of new university-DOD relations, and the revision of the student aid loan program. He directed the Public University project on the Future of State Universities which the Ford and Exxon Foundations supported. The final report was published as The Future of State Universities: Issues in Teaching, Research and Public Service.

The Association of American Universities (the premiere organization of America’s graduate education and research universities) recognized Les’s expertise with an invitation to spend a year as visiting Senior Staff. After retiring from administration duties, Les returned to the classroom at Rutgers and UCLA where he taught History Capstone Seminars: “Continuing Issues in U.S. Immigration and Its Regulation” and “U.S. Science and Technology Policy Since 1945.” Most recently, Les shared his knowledge of policy at student career events and vetted the applications for the inaugural class of the Luskin Center for History and Policy Fellows.

Strong believers in the importance of public education and in giving back, Les and his wife Linda generously endowed a UCLA graduate history fellowship in U.S. Immigrant History in 2017, as well as a collection endowment for the UCLA Library.


Professor Emeritus Bariša Krekić

BARISA KREKIC (14 October 1928 - 12 January 2021)

Barisa Krekic was a professor in the History Department from 1970 until his retirement in 1994, and taught the history of Byzantium as well as the history of the medieval and early modern Balkans. He served UCLA also as Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies.

His family had long roots in Ragusa, where he was born in 1928. The stories he heard in his childhood were those of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while he himself experienced the deprivations of the Second World War and the limitations of the Communist Era. He studied at Belgrade where he obtained his doctorate in 1954. The famous Russian Byzantinist George Ostrogorsky soon depended on him as his assistant at the Serbian Academy of Sciences. He became a professor at the University of Novi Sad in 1956, a position he held until 1970. During this time, he had Visiting Professorships at Indiana University, Bloomington, and at Stanford University. UCLA recruited him as professor in 1970. Visiting Professorships took him to Dumbarton Oaks (Harvard’s international research center in Byzantine Studies) as well as the Central European University in Budapest.

Formative for his future academic development was the year he spent as a postdoctoral researcher in Paris, 1957-8, where he was a contemporary of Helene Ahrweiler. Among his teachers were the historian of Byzantine culture and social life Paul Lemerle and the historian Fernand Braudel. It was the latter who impressed upon his students the importance to study the Mediterranean as a historical and cultural unit, rather than as a divided space, and Ragusa as a key location in this context.

Indeed, Krekic engaged with these issues several decades before ‘Mediterranean Studies’ became a distinct area of research, and his seminal works have become the point of departure for a current generation of scholars who turn their attention to Ragusa as the place where the multiple interactions between the Western, Catholic and the Eastern, Orthodox worlds come into focus. He often spent his summers in Venice, collecting Ragusan documents in the Archivio di Stato. He entrusted his ample research notes to the UCLA library. He also remained connected with Dubrovnik, holding several leadership functions in its Inter-University Center.

Barisa Krekic’s books include: Dubrovnik (Raguse) et le Levant au Moyen Âge  (1961), Dubrovnik in the 14th and 15th Centuries: A City between East and West (1972), Dubrovnik, Italy and the Balkans in the Late Middle Ages (1980), Dubrovnik: A Mediterranean Urban Society, 1300–1600 (1997), Unequal Rivals: Essays on Relations between Dubrovnik and Venice in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (2007), in addition to edited volumes, articles and book reviews.

His active years in the History Department coincided with those of several great scholars, many of them trained in Europe: the Medievalist Gerhardt Ladner, the Byzantinist Speros Vryonis Jr., the Ottomanist Stanford Shaw and the Armenian historian Richard Hovanissian, as well as the historian of Ancient Greece Mortimer Chambers, the historian of Russia Hans Rogge and the historian of early modern France Eugen Weber. He was also closely associated with Henrik Birnbaum in the Department of Slavonic Literatures and Cultures.

Together with his wife Ruzica Popovic-Krekic, herself a scholar of Russia and active in Serbian cultural life in Los Angeles and beyond (she passed away in 2011, making his last years of declining health very lonely), Barisa Krekic maintained a circle of learned friends— all of them Californians by deep conviction—with personal or intellectual roots in Europe. Some of the colleagues mentioned above together with their equally learned wives belonged to this circle, along with many others. Dinner table conversations were always spirited and wide-ranging. He also cared deeply about students and younger scholars.

His gracious manner, deep erudition and warm humanity will be fondly remembered by all who were fortunate to know him.

--- Obituary from Claudia Rapp, UCLA Department of History (1993-2011), University of Vienna (2011-)

Additional Tributes


Professor Emeritus Mortimer Chambers

Mortimer Chambers died peacefully on December 14, 2020 according to his wife Catherine Chambers. Mort who was born in 1927, joined the UCLA History Department in 1958. He studied classical-era Greek history as part of our Ancient history field.

Mort Chambers was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. He is survived by his wife Catherine, his daughters Pam and Julie, five grandsons, and three great-granddaughters. His beloved son Blake predeceased him.

Remembrance of Mort Chambers

Additional Tributes


UCLA History PhD (Spring 1996) alumna Sharon Gillerman 

We are saddened to announce that UCLA History PhD (Spring 1996) alumna Sharon Gillerman (1960-2020) passed away on November 23, 2020 following several months of hospitalization battling an illness. Dr.Gillerman served as the Kutz Chairin Jewish History at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in Los Angeles, and as adjunct Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern California. Dr. Gillerman's scholarship focused on modern German and central European Jewishhistory with a particular interest in gender history, cultural studies, popular culture, and transnational history. Professor Gillerman's first book, Germans into Jews: Remaking the Jewish Social Body in the Weimar Republic, was the recipient of the 2010 Book Award from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association. The book reconsiders the meaning and process of assimilation by focusing on communal efforts to reinvigorate the Jewish community through strengthening the family, welfare, and increasing reproduction. She also co-edited a volume of essays with Benjamin Baader and Paul Lerner, Jewish Masculinities: German Jews, Gender and History. In addition to teaching at HUC-JIR and USC, she was a visiting professor at Brandeis University, UCLA, the University of Hamburg, and Harvard University. 


Research Professor Emeritus Juan Gomez-Quinones

“Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones,” oil on canvas, Salomón Huerta (2018)

“Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones,” oil on canvas, Salomón Huerta (2018)

Our community mourns the loss and celebrates the brilliant career of Juan Gómez-Quiñones, who died on November 11, 2020.  Juan earned his B.A. in Literature, M.A. in Latin American Studies, and  PhD in History, all at UCLA.   After a brief stint as a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the University of Texas at Austin, he returned to UCLA as a tenured full professor in 1974.  Juan’s research and writing ensured that he would emerge as a leading light in the first generation of Chicano Studies scholars.  By envisioning a Mexican American past, he created a model of politically-engaged scholarship in line with the Chicano Movement's political thrust as it emerged in Los Angeles and throughout the U.S. Southwest in the late 1960s and 1970s. At UCLA, Juan played a critical role in the formation of a Chicano Studies community, through the founding of the Chicano Studies Research Center in 1969 (serving as its second director from 1974 to 1985), an archive and library dedicated to the historical experiences of Mexican Americans, and of Aztlán in 1970, which is still the premiere journal of  Chicana and Chicano Studies.  Ultimately, Juan’s tireless efforts to establish a scholarly community dedicated to the study of Mexican Americans led in 1995 to the establishment of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies at UCLA, which now houses 17 full-time faculty members and a student body of about 1000 majors and minors. His work as the quintessential activist-scholar garnered him many honors including the National Association for Chicano and Chicana Studies Scholar of the Year Award in 1990 and the 2003 UCLA Ann C. Rosenfield Distinguished Community Partnership Prize.

Juan’s wide-ranging intellect and expansive record of publication inspired subsequent generations of scholars from a variety of disciplines to focus on the Mexican American experience(s), generating new lines of scholarly inquiry. He wrote about Chicano/a culture and politics, but also about anarchism, the borderlands, political economy, indigeneity, labor, gender and immigration. Juan was also a poet; his collection of poems, Fifth and Grande Vista, was a tribute Boyle Heights, the neighborhood he grew up in.  In the span of his over fifty year association with the UCLA History Department, Juan left a powerful and lasting legacy, not just as an activist/scholar in the field of Chicana/o Studies, but also in ethnic studies more broadly, opening access and promoting equity in higher education.

Please click here for a post from the Director of the Chicano Research Studies Center.

"To L.A.'s Chicano studies professor, icon: Rest in Power" - Los Angeles Times article about Juan Gomez-Quinones.

In Memory of the Legendary Dr. Juan Gómez-Quiñones: Chicano Scholar, Educator, Activist, and Poet,” Medium, November 12, 2020, by Dr. Álvaro Huerta.


Ludwig (Larry) Lauerhass, Jr.

Ludwig "Larry" Lauerhass Jr. died on December 29, 2019.  A UCLA alumnus and employee as well as a generous supporter of both Spanish and Portuguese and History, Larry passed away in his home, in the company of his daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.

In addition to a BA in Political Science from UNC Chapel Hill, he earned at UCLA an MA in Latin American Studies (1959), a PhD in History (1972), and a master’s degree in Library Science (1976). In 1968, Larry joined UCLA Libraries as Latin American Bibliographer; after he got his PhD he taught in both the History Department and the UCLA Washington DC program. He directed the Latin American Center (1978-1984), created and chaired the Program on Brazil (1989-1994), and coordinated the UC Education Abroad Program in Brazil (1995). He taught a number of courses on modern Brazilian history, Latin American nationalism, American monuments, and the memory and iconography of Hiroshima and the atomic bomb.

Larry is the author or editor of many essays and bibliographies on Latin American historiography, politics, and education. On trips to Latin America over twenty-five years as UCLA Bibliographer, Larry acquired well over 200,000 items related to Latin America -- approximately 40,000 of which are printed in or focus on Brazil, comprising one of the top US university library holdings in the field.

He crated endowments in UCLA’s Special Collections targeting 19th-century visual cultures as well as graduate fellowships in the departments of History and Spanish and Portuguese.

Until very recently, when his health took a turn for the worse, he was a frequent visitor to campus, including Bunche Hall.  We are grateful to Larry for his support of our department and our students.

Read more:  UCLA Newroom In Memoriam Article


Paul Padilla

The Development Office has set up the Paul Padilla Memorial Undergraduate Travel Fund. This fund will support students to travel to conduct historical research and to participate in our study abroad opportunities.  If you would like to contribute to the fund in honor of Paul, you may do so online (by going to this link: https://giving.ucla.edu/Campaign/Donate.aspx?SiteNum=29); if you want to use another method, please contact Peter Evans in Development: pevans@support.ucla.edu

The following tribute is from Chair and Professor Carla Pestana:

Paul Padilla, long-time member of the UCLA History community, died unexpectedly from a fall at his home, on Sunday, November 10, 2019. First as a student and later as a staff member, Paul made a lasting impact on the History department and the larger university community.  Sorely missed by all who knew him, his passing is mourned by students, faculty, and staff across campus.

At the time of his death, Paul was Undergraduate Advisor for the Department of History and staff liaison to the history honor’s society, Phi Alpha Theta. Those roles, as important as they were, do not begin to encompass his place at UCLA.  His kindness and generosity gave him an outsized impact, as did his willingness to step in and support any worthy endeavor.  

Paul, a native of Los Angeles, attended UCLA as an undergraduate, earning his BA in History in 1978. He immediately entered the graduate program to study Medieval History.  As a graduate student, he worked with Geoffrey Symcox, Father Robert Burns, Albert Hoxie, and—after his arrival on the faculty—Teo Ruiz.  Although he earned his MA in 1980, Paul withdrew from the doctoral program in 1991 with C. Phil status, just shy of completing his doctorate. His father had died, and Paul joined the UCLA staff in order to support his family. 

 As a staff person, Paul worked in the Registrar’s Office and the Academic Advancement Program, the latter a program which benefited Paul himself when he was an undergraduate and where he worked as a Tutor.  In 1995, he returned to the department as an Undergraduate History counselor recruited by then Chair Ron Mellor to replace counselor Sylvia Dillon.  This year, Paul was in his 45th year of association with UCLA and his 27th year as a staff person, twenty-four of those years employed in our department. Paul was an avid UCLA football fan, serving as a member of the Rally Committee and regularly attending games.

Given his longevity (as well as his capacious memory), it is little wonder that Paul was the unofficial historian of the department.  Any question anyone had about our practices or traditions, or past faculty, or other historical matters, they went to Paul. An inveterate storyteller, Paul could remember illustrative details.  One set of tales he recently recounted involved his role driving faculty member Albert Hoxie (1912-1999) around Europe decades ago.  Hoxie, who served as a lecturer for decades and left his estate to the department, wanted slides of European locations to illustrate his lectures. He traveled year after year to photograph sites; and, with Paul as his driver, the two had numerous adventures.  The most difficult aspect of writing such a tribute about Paul is that Paul himself is not here, to fill in the gaps in our information and enliven our memories with a well-chosen story.

Since Paul’s death, tributes have poured in.  He was the “heart and soul” of the department, according to one former staff member.  He always had a kind word for everyone, along with helpful advice for students, whether graduate or undergraduate, who stopped in to speak with him.  He enjoyed friendships with a wide-range of former staff, students, and faculty, and the current department community similarly feels this loss. A celebration of his life was held on November 25, 2019. 

History advisor Paul Padilla remembered for kindness, dedication - Daily Bruin article about Paul Padilla



The following tribute is from Professor Emeritus Geoffrey Symcox:

Peter Hanns Reill

1938 – 2019

Peter Hanns Reill, Professor Emeritus of History and former Director of the Clark Library and the Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies at UCLA, passed away suddenly on August 18, 2019, following a fall at his home. He is mourned by his wife, Jenna, his daughter, Dominique, and by his wide circle of friends and colleagues. He was a genial, warm-hearted, generous man, a witty conversationalist and raconteur, who endeared himself to everyone who knew him. All those who loved him are devastated by his untimely passing, for he had many years still to come in a long and productive scholarly career.

Professor Reill was born in Astoria, NY, on December 11, 1938. His parents were immigrants from Germany. He was awarded his BA by New York University in 1960, and his PhD by Northwestern University in 1969. He joined the Department of History at UCLA as an Assistant Professor in 1966, and rose steadily through the ranks, becoming Full Professor in 1980, and Chair of the Department from 1988 to 1991. He retired in 2011. His research centered on the cultural and intellectual history of Europe during the 18th century Enlightenment, focusing on the interchange of ideas between Germany, Britain and France, and the interdisciplinary relationship between science and philosophy. His work was internationally recognized; he received numerous Fellowships and held several Visiting Professorships in this country and in Europe. He produced major studies in his field, together with a long series of articles and edited volumes. He was at work on the research for another book at the time of his death.

Professor Reill was a skilled and dedicated teacher. He taught a wide range of undergraduate lecture courses and graduate seminars, admired for their clarity and intellectual rigor. He was approachable and cared deeply for his students. He will be fondly remembered by the many students he nurtured, who went on to academic careers of their own.

Professor Reill’s crowning achievement was his brilliantly successful service as joint Director of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library and the Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies at UCLA, from 1991 to 2011. He took the helm at a moment of budgetary uncertainty but, undeterred, quickly expanded and transformed both these institutions. In his hands they became centers of advanced historical and literary study, nationally and internationally renowned, attracting students and established scholars from across the globe. Professor Reill was an innovative administrator and (an essential accomplishment) also a highly skilled fund-raiser, winning numerous grants from donors and scholarly funding institutions. At the Clark Library he embarked on a major acquisitions program to extend the library’s holdings beyond its core collections in British 17th and 18th century history and literature, to give it a broader chronological and international range. Through judicious purchases he built up the Clark Library’s collection of books and papers relating to Oscar Wilde, making it the most important collection of Wilde materials in the world, which now attracts researchers from across the USA and abroad. He instituted an Outreach Program for K-12 students, in conjunction with LAUSD, to foster their interest in and love of the humanities. He set up a program of poetry readings, and as a lover of classical music, an annual series of recitals and chamber music concerts; both the poetry readings and the concerts were staged in the grand setting of the Library’s wood-paneled salon.

At the same time, Professor Reill worked tirelessly to expand the activities of the UCLA Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies. He set up a full schedule of annual conferences, held at the Clark Library, with up to twenty sessions each year, side-by-side with one- or two-day scholarly meetings, on a vast range of literary and historical themes. He established relations with numerous universities and scholarly institutions in the United States and Europe. An indication of the international recognition the UCLA Center attained under Professor Reill’s leadership was its role as the venue for the 34th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, in August 2003; Professor Reill was at that time the elected President of the Society. This very successful meeting, and the activities which Professor Reill arranged to accompany it – films, concerts, visits to cultural centers in Los Angeles - attracted over 1200 scholars, not only from the USA and Europe, but also from countries in Asia and Latin America. This resounding success is a fitting tribute to Professor Reill’s talents as an imaginative administrator and coordinator of landmark intellectual forums.

Professor Reill will be terribly missed by his grieving family, and by his great circle of devoted friends and colleagues. Family and friends alike share in the profound shock and sense of loss at his being torn away from them so suddenly and tragically. He was an internationally renowned scholar, and a brilliant creator of programs that fostered a diverse range of intellectual endeavors. But above all, he will be remembered as a decent, witty, friendly man, and a generous host who loved to entertain. His memory will be treasured by all those who knew and loved him.

The funeral will be private.


PROFESSOR EMERITUS Speros Vryonis, jr.

The following tribute is from former students John Langdon and Professor Stephen Reinert of Rutgers University:

Speros Vryonis, Jr., prominent member of UCLA’s History Department from 1960-1982, and Director of the Gustave von Grunebaum Center for Near Eastern Studies from 1972-75 and 1979-82, quietly passed away on March 11, 2019 in northern California. 

Professor Vryonis was a titan in the field of Byzantine Studies, whose publications on the transitions from Byzantine to Turkish rule in both Asia Minor and the Balkans were groundbreaking.  His masterpiece — The Decline of Medieval Hellenism in Asia Minor  and the Process of Islamization from the Eleventh to the Fifteenth Century (1971) — remains the premier study in the field, and ignited at publication an animated scholarly debate among specialists in Byzantine and kindred fields.  For this achievement, he was awarded the Haskins Medal by the Medieval Academy of America.  His elegant survey Byzantium and Europe (1968) arguably remains one of the best introductions to the field.  Vryonis’s scholarship extended deep into modernity,  his last major monograph, published in 2005, being The Mechanism of Catastrophe: The Turkish Pogrom of September 6–7, 1955, and the Destruction of the Greek Community of Istanbul. 

In addition to his appointment at UCLA,  Professor Vryonis held the Chair of Medieval & Modern History at the University of Athens (1976-84).  Following his departure from UCLA in 1997, he inaugurated NYU’s Onassis Center for Hellenic Studies (1988-93) and subsequently the Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism in Sacrameneto, California (1995-2000).  He produced a cadre of Byzantinists at UCLA and NYU, who taught/are teaching at Rutgers University, UCLA, the University of Pennsylvania, and Cardiff University.  His academic awards, elections, and appointments were numerous, including eight years as Visiting Scholar at Harvard’s Dumbarton Oaks Center for Byzantine Studies (1984-92).  In 1993, his students and colleagues paid tribute to Professor Vryonis with a two-volume Festschrift replete with important contributions to the wide array of fields in which he had published so extensively, and was such a renowned master.


PROFESSOR EMERITus Stanley Wolpert

The following remembrance is from Professor Emeritus Ron Mellor:

“ Our cherished colleague Stanley Wolpert died suddenly and unexpectantly at the age of 91 on February 19, 2019, while on a family visit to his son Adam in northern California. He leaves his beloved wife of 66 years, Dorothy, and his sons Daniel and Adam, as well as three grandchildren, Sam, Max, and Sabine. 

A native of Brooklyn, Stanley received his B.A. at City College of New York, and later his M.A. and Ph.D. in Indian history from the University of Pennsylvania.  He arrived at UCLA in 1959 and was promoted to Full Professor in 1967.  He was Department Chair and won the Distinguished Teaching Award in 1975.   He took emeritus status in 2002. 

As a distinguished and prolific historian of South Asia, he published more than a dozen scholarly books including biographies of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru of India as well as biographies of Mohammad Ali Jinna and Zulfikar Bhutto of Pakistan.  His New History of India (Oxford) has appeared in eight editions, and his more general cultural introduction, India (California), is in its fourth edition.   Among his four novels, the best known is Nine Hours to Rama (1962), which was made into a motion picture.

During his sixty years at UCLA, Stanley has been an epitome of grace, kindness and intelligence.  He was loving toward his family and loyal to his many friends who loved Stanley and Dorothy for their charm, intelligence, hospitality and sense of humor.  Several generations of students admired not only Stanley’s knowledge but his unfailing generosity; they saw him as a “gentleman.”

---  Please plan on joining in on a celebration of Stanley Wolpert's life at a memorial for him to be held on May 26th from 1 pm to 4 pm in the UCLA Faculty Center Dining Room.  ---

Los Angeles Times obituary

Newsweek Pakistan obituary

Pakistan Observer obituary

Essay/Opinion Piece by son, Dan Wolpert, about the debate on removing statues and what the lessons he learned from his father teach us about this current debate in the United States.


William (Bill) Clark

William (Bill) Clark (1953-2017) received his PhD in the history of science in 1986.  In the 1990s and 2000s, he worked occasionally as a lecturer in the Department of History.  Bill was an extremely versatile scholar, with interests in the history of early modern and modern Germany, in the history of science, and in the history of universities and academic life.  On the latter topic, he published his magnum opus, Academic Charisma and the Origins of the Research University, with the University of Chicago Press in 2006.  Books he co-edited include Little Tools of Knowledge: Historical Essays in Academic and Bureaucratic Practices (University of Michigan Press, 2001) and The Sciences in Enlightened Europe (University of Chicago Press, 1999).  He also published numerous articles, and, during his all-too-brief life, taught in Goettingen and Cambridge, as well as at UCSD and UCLA. 

A full obituary and appreciation of his academic work may be found at https://hssonline.org/resources/publications/newsletter/july-2018/july-2018-in-memoriam/ where there is also a link to a bibliography of his works at https://hssonline.org/resources/publications/newsletter/april-2020-newsletter/bill-clark-or-the-ironic-analyst-of-homo-academicus/.



Joyce Appleby, a distinguished historian and prolific author who argued that ideas about capitalism and liberty were fundamental in shaping the identity of early Americans, died on December 23, 2016 at her home in Taos, N.M. from complications of pneumonia. She was 87.

A former journalist who began her Ph.D. training at 32, while caring for three children, Dr. Appleby rose to the top ranks of the discipline, serving as president of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association and the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.  She wrote several books, contributed to others and edited several more; she was 84 when her final book, “Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination,” was published.

She was also a scholar of Thomas Jefferson and wrote a brief biography of him, published in 2003.

Dr. Appleby was part of a generation of historians who examined the ideologies and beliefs that animated the American Revolution. These scholars took seriously the ideas of the founding generation, unlike Progressive Era historians like Charles A. Beard, who had dismissed revolutionary ideas as rhetorical cover for the founders’ economic interests. But the scholars were not united in their interpretation.

Following a path laid by Caroline Robbins, historians like Bernard Bailyn and Gordon S. Wood emphasized civic republicanism — a set of beliefs that focused on the threat of power to liberty and the need to put the common good above personal self-interest. They traced the Americans’ revolutionary beliefs to the so-called radical Whigs of 17th-century England, thinkers like Algernon Sidney and James Harrington, who feared a slide toward despotism.

“The classical republican convictions that Bailyn ascribed to America’s founders drew on a vocabulary of political pathology to predict tyranny, chaos, usurpations and conspiracies,” Dr. Appleby said in a 2012 lecture. “Locke was turned into an eccentric figure, the center now being held by an inherited way of interpreting events harking back to Renaissance fears about power lusts.  Classical republicanism involved several propositions: that change generally brought degeneration, or worse, and that history pointed to the instability of all political orders. Civic virtue, where leaders put the common good above their own interests, formed the only bulwark against decay.”

In books like “Capitalism and a New Social Order: The Republican Vision of the 1790s” (1984) and “Liberalism and Republicanism in the Historical Imagination” (1992), Dr. Appleby challenged this view.  She argued that the revolutionaries were more individualistic and optimistic than they had been given credit for. John Locke and Adam Smith had as much influence — or even more — than the radical Whigs on founders like Thomas Jefferson. In her view, the revolutionaries believed that the public good would arise out of the harmonious pursuit of private interests in a market economy.  “For me, liberalism had entered American consciousness as a potent brew blended from 17th-century entrepreneurial attitudes and the Enlightenment’s endorsement of liberty and reason,” she said in the lecture. “Because nature had endowed human beings with the capacity to think for themselves and act on their own behalf, representative government seemed the perfect fit for them.  Rather than classical republicanism’s fixation on social traumas, liberalism was optimistic, moving forward with the rational, self-improving individual who was endowed with natural rights to be exercised in a widened ambit of freedom.”  Or, as she put it in a 2007 essay on the intellectual underpinnings of American democracy: “Fear moved aside to make room for hope.”

The debate between liberalism and republicanism, especially active in the 1970s, eventually subsided. A new generation of social historians analyzed the concerns of marginalized groups — workers, women, free and enslaved African-Americans, and Native Americans, among others. Later still, a new cohort of scholars, influenced by postmodernism and cultural studies, looked at how human consciousness is shaped by language.

Dr. Appleby did not reject postmodernism and multiculturalism out of hand but feared that they had taken history too far toward relativism. In “Telling the Truth About History” (1994), she and the historians Lynn Hunt and Margaret C. Jacob waded into the “culture wars” over what should be emphasized in museums and textbooks.  They agreed that claims of the “absolute character” of scientific truth, and the supposed triumph of Enlightenment reason, needed to be challenged. But they argued that some thinkers had gone too far in arguing that there can be no historical truth at all — only opinion, ideology or myth.  The notion of truth, they argued, makes science itself — and the self-criticism necessary for democratic society — possible. They turned to American 19th-century thinkers like John Dewey and Charles Sanders Peirce to argue for “pragmatic realism,” for history that is both aware of philosophy but also grounded in empirical data.

Joyce Oldham was born on April 9, 1929, in Omaha, the youngest of three. Her father, Junius G. Oldham, a World War I veteran and a salesman for the United States Gypsum Corporation, came from a Democratic family; his father had been a friend of William Jennings Bryan. Her mother, the former Edith G. Cash, a homemaker, was the daughter of a Republican land speculator.

After graduating from Stanford, in 1950, Joyce won a contest to work in the advertising department at Mademoiselle magazine, in New York. The publishing executive Harold W. McGraw Jr. offered her a job, but she felt compelled to return to California to get married, as her friends were doing.

She worked for a time at Restaurant Reporter, a trade magazine based in Beverly Hills, laying out pages, delivering copy and sending out subscription notices. After her first child was born and the family moved, she was the South Pasadena stringer for The Star-News, a local newspaper, but concluded that she “didn’t have the brassy spirit to be a reporter.”

She eventually enrolled in a Ph.D. program at what is now the Claremont Graduate University — because it was close by — and set about studying the impact of American nation-building on French and English politics early in the French Revolution. “It was a topic I could handle from Escondido, Calif., after two weeks of document-gathering in the East,” she recalled.

She began teaching in 1967 at San Diego State University and later moved to the University of California, Los Angeles, where she taught until her retirement in 2001. Her book “Inheriting the Revolution: The First Generation of Americans,” published that year, looked at memoirs and autobiographies to reveal how Americans born between 1776 and 1830 reinvented themselves and their society.

Her first marriage, to the art historian Mark Lansburgh Jr., ended in divorce. Her second husband, Andrew Bell Appleby, a scholar of British social history, died in 1980. In addition to her daughter, she is survived by two sons, Mark Lansburgh and Frank Bell Appleby, and four grandchildren.

Later in her career, Dr. Appleby returned to the study of capitalism, the topic of her first book, “Economic Thought and Ideology in 17th Century England” (1978) and of her penultimate book, “The Relentless Revolution: A History of Capitalism” (2010).

In a 2001 essay in The Journal of the Early Republic, she argued that capitalism, “viewed as a cultural, rather than an economic, phenomenon,” was like “an invisible social engineer,” adding: “Because it affected access to both wealth and power, its success provoked the outrage of successive groups of moralists, aesthetes and traditionalists. We do not need to take sides in these battles to do justice to their histories.”
--Excerpt from New York Times Obituary for Joyce Appleby, January 2, 2017

Joyce Appleby Honored at 2019 Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting



Damodar R. SarDesai passed away on January 16, 2016.

Professor Damodar R. SarDesai was indeed a much-loved and widely respected Professor at UCLA for nearly half a century until he fully retired in 2011. He was an Emeritus Professor of History “on recall” for over a decade. As the dozens of student evaluations attest in the “Bruin Boardwalk”, he was highly appreciated by the student community; accolades such as “the best professor I had”, or ”the best professor at UCLA” were not uncommon. For years on end, this Professor of South and Southeast Asian history and of the British Empire had to close the course registration at 300 -350 students.

 Professor SarDesai  joined  UCLA as a graduate student in 1961. He received a Ph.D. in History at UCLA and joined its faculty as Assistant Professor in 1966. He  advanced to the Associate Professorship and Full Professorship by 1977. Thereafter, he served the Department of History for periods of time as its Vice-Chair and Chair. He introduced Southeast Asian Studies as a field at UCLA, and then went on to strengthen UCLA’s program in South and Southeast Asian Studies as its coordinator for fourteen years. In the early nineties, he built UC’s India Studies Program as part of the Education Abroad Program. In 1998, he was recalled to hold the newly endowed Chair in Pre-modern Indian History. As Emeritus Professor of History, SarDesai served on UCLA’s Research Council and taught in the Summer Session until 2011.

 In the days of the Vietnam War, Professor SarDesai’s classes would be flooded by students who would want to know about that country. He taught Vietnam during those times of controversy and conflict while there were so many student protests on campus. Many of them appreciated Professor SarDesai’s consistent presentation of that deadly conflict as an expression of the nationalist rather than communist goals of the largely peasant communities of Vietnam. SarDesai wrote prolifically on the subject including a book that went into four editions (Vietnam: Past and Present  ). A reviewer in the Pacific Historical Review once said that if the book were available to the policy-makers in the Foggy Bottom area in the sixties, “there would perhaps be no Vietnam War!”

 Professor SarDesai's scholarly output includes 17 books on South and Southeast Asia, ranging from diplomatic history and economic history to nationalism and imperialism. One of them is currently in the seventh edition (Southeast Asia: Past and Present) and another in the fourth (Vietnam: Past and Present), and some books have been translated into Spanish, Chinese and Khmer. He has numerous articles published in various international journals, and has also served on the advisory boards of many of these journals. His research and writing were generously supported by major funding agencies such as the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Institute of Indian Studies and UCLA. He was honored with numerous fellowships and in 1979 , he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHS), London, which followed the publication of his book "British Trade and Expansion in Southeast Asia, 1830-1914".

 From 1993-1995, Professor SarDesai was the first Director of the University of California’s Education Abroad Program in New Delhi. He was President of the prestigious (formerly Royal) Asiatic Society of Bombay for a decade (1989-1999).It was no surprise that when the Doshi Chair in Pre-Modern Indian History was endowed at UCLA in 1998, Professor SarDesai was requested to be its first holder.In 1999, Dr. SarDesai was instrumental in raising a quarter of a million dollars from the Indian-American community in Southern California to endow the Sardar Patel Award at UCLA. The award is given annually by UCLA's  Center for India and South Asia to the best doctoral dissertation on any aspect of modern India, completed that year at a University in the United States.In 2005, the Yadunandan Center for India Studies at California State University, Long Beach conferred on him a Lifetime Achievement Award and instituted an annual Damodar R. SarDesai Prize for the best lesson plan on India (bringing India into the World History curriculum) by a middle or high school teacher in California’s schools.

 In 1982, the Indian state of Maharashtra honored him as a freedom-fighter for his vital contribution to the Goa freedom movement and in 2007, the government of Goa bestowed on him the Global Goan Award for his achievements over a lifetime. During his long academic career, he addressed a long list of conferences and academic audiences in a score of universities in India and Southeast Asia. The prestigious Association for Asian Studies (Pacific Coast) held a special panel on Nationalism and Imperialism in his honor at which his former students contributed their papers.

 Dr. SarDesai believed in taking the advanced scholarship in his favorite fields to the general public. He used his chairmanship of the South and Southeast Asian Studies at UCLA (14 years) and the Doshi Chair (five years)to organize more than a dozen national and international conferences on a variety of topics ranging from “India and the Nuclear Question,” “The Kashmir Problem,” to “Indian-Americans : Heritage and Destiny,” and “Ayurveda as a System of Medicine”. In addition to well-known scholars, the events attracted three to four hundred enlightened individuals mostly but not exclusively from the Indian-American community in southern California.

 Prof. SarDesai’s expertise and “out of the ordinary” approach made him a fairly frequent guest on radio and television, thanks to UCLA’s Public Relations Department who were approached by major media outlets for an expert on India or Southeast Asia. He was often interviewed by all three national TV channels when a major event impacting South and Southeast Asia occurred- when Goa was freed from Portuguese colonial rule, when Winston Churchill passed away, when Indira Gandhi was assassinated, for a documentary on Ho Chi Minh, and many more.

 In 2015, Professor SarDesai's former graduate students, now well-recognized scholars in their own right, produced a festschrift in his honor titled "Nationalism and Imperialism in South and Southeast Asia- Essays presented to Damodar R. SarDesai" edited by Dr. Arnold Kaminsky and Dr. Roger Long. It is a token of their love and appreciation for a man who devoted his life to the field of South and Southeast Asian Studies, cared deeply about his students, and engaged the community in dialogue and discussion. He will be remembered and missed by those whose lives were changed for the better by his kindness, good humor, generosity and intelligence. 

---   Video of Memorial Service for Professor Damodar SarDesai   ---



The UCLA History Department is sad to announce the passing of Professor Emeritus Robert N. Burr (1916-2014), one of this country’s leading Latin American historians, who passed away on December 8, 2014 at the age of 98.  Burr wrote extensively about the history of Latin American politics and was best known for his work on Chile.  He traveled widely in Latin America and often served as a government consultant. In 1966 his path-breaking study, By Reason or Force: Chile and the Balancing of Power in South America, 1830-1905, was awarded the Bolton Prize for the best book in Latin American History by the American Historical Association. Burr went on to write a number of additional books, including Our Troubled Hemisphere: Perspectives on United States-Latin American Relations which was published by the Brookings Institution in 1967; earlier, he published The Stillborn Panama Congress: Power Politics and Chilean-Colombian Relations during the War of the Pacific (University of California Press, 1962).  From 1948 until his retirement in 1987, he served as Professor of Latin American History at the UCLA, where he helped to establish a major program in Latin American Studies. From 1973 to 1978, Burr served with great distinction as Chair of the Department of History at UCLA, and from 1985-1987, he was the Director of UCLA’s International Studies and Overseas Programs.  He also served for a time on the associated staff of the Brookings Institution.   Burr’s well balanced and thoroughly researched academic studies were matched by a leadership style that combined a fine sense of humor with the manners of a well bred gentleman.  His charm, even-handedness, and good sense made him many friends and even in his late years highly popular and socially active.

Robert N. Burr was born in Rochester, New York, on October 15, 1916.  His father, John Edwin Burr, and his mother, Ethel Bills, were both from Rochester.  He graduated from the University of Rochester in 1939 and received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1948.  In 1940 he married Virginia Ward -- a marriage that ended in divorce in 1949-- a daughter, Tracy Elizabeth, was born in 1942, and a son, Robert Franklin in 1944. During WWII Burr applied for a commission in the Navy and was accepted for the post-war occupation of Japan, but failed his eye examination.  Instead he got a job at the General Railway Signal Corp. and helped to build fire control systems for B-29 Bombers. In 1945-46 he was engaged in various business enterprises, before taking a teaching position at Rutgers University in 1946 and moving to UCLA in 1948.  While in Chile in 1951-52, he met Elizabeth Evarts and they were married in 1952.  She passed away in 1998.  In his late years he divided his time between Los Angeles and Long Island. He is survived by his son, Robert F. Burr of New York and his spousal niece, Lucy E. Kenny of Port Jefferson, Long Island.

---- obituary by Professor Fred Notehelfer



We regret to announce that Professor Norman Apter passed away on February 8, 2014 from melanoma. He received his Ph.D. from UCLA in Summer 2013 under the mentorship of Philip Huang and Kathryn Bernhardt. His dissertation was titled “Saving the Young: A History of the Child Relief Movement in Modern China.” He had been teaching at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts since 2011, where he specialized in twentieth-century Chinese social and cultural history, with an emphasis on the histories of children, childhood, and the issue of state and society.



Professor Emeritus James Lockhart passed away peacefully on January 17, 2014, surrounded by his family, including his daughter and son, Elizabeth and John, and his wife, Mary Ann. Lockhart was one of the most original, accomplished scholars in the field of early Latin American history. He was born in West Virginia in 1933, where he attended the state university in Morgantown. He enrolled in the Army Language Institute and worked as a translator in post-war Europe, especially in Germany. His gift for learning languages led him to consider graduate study in Comparative Literature, but he decided to pursue a degree in History at the University of Wisconsin, where he wrote his dissertation on Spanish Peru. This was the basis of his first book, a classic study of Peruvian society in the 16th century. He taught at Colgate and the University of Texas before he settled down at UCLA in 1972. After writing two groundbreaking books on Peru, he began to shift his attention to Mexico, while publishing a collection of letters from sixteenth-century Spanish America with Enrique Otte, and a state-of-the-field textbook titled Early Latin Americawith Stuart Schwartz. Lockhart went on to pioneer the translation and analysis of archival Nahuatl-language texts from central Mexico, collaborating with several scholars from diverse disciplines, and became one of the world's leading experts on the Nahuatl language, as it was written in the Roman alphabet from the mid-16th to the early 19th centuries. He edited a Nahuatl book series published by the UCLA Latin American Center and published several more books on the topic with Stanford University Press. His magnum opus, The Nahuas After the Conquest (1992), won multiple book prizes from the American Historical Association. He mentored dozens of graduate students before he retired from UCLA early in his career, in 1995. After retirement he moved from Santa Monica to Pine Mountain, California, where he continued to publish several books, to co-chair dissertation committees, to help others publish books, and to work with scholars and students around the world via the mail and internet--until the last few weeks of his life. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2012 he received the XIV Banamex Prize for Mexican History in Mexico City.

Jim, as he is known to us, was very fond of Renaissance music and enjoyed playing the lute, vihuela, mandolin, recorder, and classical guitar with family and friends. He also found joy in woodworking and was good enough at it to craft his own furniture and musical instruments. He was an avid sports fan. He liked hiking in the mountains, and with Mary Ann became an active member of the Sierra Club. Most of all, he loved to teach students who were eager to learn, and his genuine enthusiasm for knowledge and generosity was contagious. He will be missed, to say the least, but he and his brilliant work will never be forgotten. A memorial gathering and conference in his honor are now in the planning.



Norris Cecil Hundley, jr. passed away peacefully on April 28, 2013. He was born to Norris and Helen Hundley, and was the oldest of seven children on October 26, 1935 in Houston, Texas. His surviving siblings are Juanita Walters, Helen Daugherty, Betty Howell, John Hundley, Patty Talbott, and Dr. Charles Hundley. In 1954, Norris met Carol Marie Beckquist at San Gabriel Mission High, they fell in love and were married on June 8, 1957.

Norris graduated from Whittier College in 1958. After receiving his Ph.D. in History in 1963 from UCLA, he taught at the University of Houston for a year before returning to UCLA in 1964. He was a Professor of American History at UCLA from 1964 – 1994. Professor Hundley was a renowned scholar of water rights in the west.



Alexander SaxtonThe UCLA History Department announces with sadness the passing of distinguished emeritus Professor Alex Saxton at the age of 94 on August 20, 2012. 

Alex Saxton, who first came to the Department in 1968 and mentored a great many students, both graduate and undergraduate, died in Lone Pine, California on August 20. Alex was a dedicated labor organizer and gifted proletarian novelist before he became an historian. Two of his novels have been republished in recent years. He was one of the founding fathers of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center and the creator of new courses in American history, including the first course on Filipino-American history and another on Film and History, that Saxton, Religion and the Human Prospectattracted students in large numbers. The last of his three major history books, Religion and the Human Prospect, was published in 2006 in his 88th year. Earlier works include The Indispensable Enemy: Labor and the Anti-Chinese Movement in California (1975) andThe Rise and Fall of the White Republic: Class Politics and Mass Culture in Nineteenth Century America (2003). Unwavering in his commitment to a more truly democratic society, he continued to write witty and sage essays for the Inyo Register, the main paper of the Owens Valley, until the very end.

To read more about the fascinating life and career of Alex Saxton, see the essay by Bob Rydell, one of his former students and close friends: "Grand Crossing: The Life and Work of Alexander Saxton," Pacific Historical Review 73 (2004), 263-285. http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/3641602.pdf.



Melissa L. Meyer, historian of American Indians, died on April 9, 2008, of complications from a cerebral hemorrhage suffered the previous summer.  She was 53 years old. 

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, of mixed Irish, German and Eastern Cherokee heritage, Meyer graduated from the University of Cincinnati and went on to receive her PhD in American history from the University of Minnesota in 1985. Already as a student, Meyer began her search for answers to questions about Native American identity that would ultimately define her intellectual journey and scholarly career.

With the publication of The White Earth Tragedy (1994), Meyer established her reputation as a leading scholar in her field.  In it, she detailed the expropriation of land from Anishinaabegs of the Great Lakes region from 1889 to 1920.  Her research demonstrated the adaptivity of the Anishinaabegs in the face of migration, intermarriage, federal policy and corporate schemes. She also revealed how internal divisions tragically furthered the process of their dispossession.  Her analysis of ethnicity among the Anishinaabegs at White Earth showed how distinctions between “mixed bloods” and “full-bloods” came to be framed and why they produced long-term consequences for the welfare of the White Earth bands.  The White Earth Tragedy also thrust “blood” into the centerpiece of debates about tribal enrollment and the issues of intermarriage and historical experiences of individuals of mixed descent.

Across the next decade, Meyer expanded her analytical frame to explore belief and rituals concerning blood in regional and religious contexts throughout human history.  She included the preliminary findings in “American Indian Blood Quantum Requirements:  Blood is Thicker Than Family,” one of twenty articles in an essay collection, OVER THE EDGE; REMAPPING THE AMERICAN WEST (1999), edited by Blake Allmendiger and Valerie Matsumoto.   In 2005 she published the magisterialThicker Than Water: The Origins of Blood as Symbol and Ritual, which one critic praised as a text that links discourses about blood with the myths, legends, and science that are repeatedly used to explain “that most impossible of things: life.”  Even scholars who criticized Meyer’s book praised its “unusual virtues.”

Meyer was an active and engaged faculty member both at UCLA and in the profession at large. In addition to being a member of the Department of History, she was associated with the UCLA American Indian Studies Center and American Indian Studies Interdepartmental Degree Program. She was also a longtime Member of the Advisory Board, Center for American Indian Research and Education (CAIRE).  During her years at UCLA, Meyer represented the History Department in the Academic Senate, and she served on Undergraduate Council as well as numerous History Department committees.  Meyer also participated in the American Historical Association, the Pacific Branch of the American Historical Association, Western Historical Association, Organization of American Historians, and American Society for Ethnohistory. She was a frequent member of prize and conference program committees.

A generous and attentive mentor, Meyer worked closely with undergraduate and graduate students alike.   Her course materials blended American Indian autobiographies with contemporary issues that caught the attention of students. An undergraduate in the class she was teaching at the time of her stroke described her as “a great professor who was very enthusiastic about the material she taught, and it showed in her class.” She inspired by example. One graduate student remembers her as never afraid to “roll up her sleeves” and get into the trenches to demonstrate what good teaching was about, and doctoral students with whom she worked now teach at institutions like UC Berkeley, New Mexico State, Knox College, Loyola Marymount and UCLA.  In her teaching as well as her scholarship, Meyer insisted that Native Americans not be marginalized or romanticized, arguing for their central place in American History.

Meyer disdained the role of poseur.  She was not an ivory tower intellectual.  Although earning coveted teaching positions at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Dartmouth College, and the UCLA, she worked tirelessly to reform the institutions and the bureaucratic practices that sometimes stood in the way of scholarly work, collegiality, and good teaching. A self-described “child of the sixties,” she challenged authority.  She viewed asymmetries and abuse of power as intolerable.  She was outspoken in her advocacy, courageous in adversity, and fiercely loyal to her friends.

She was as civic-minded as she was tough-minded. She applied her expertise in museology to assist in the design of a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of American History. She acted as a consultant on Native American issues for CBS News, the Smithsonian, the Minnesota Chippewa tribe, the US Department of Justice, Indian Claims Division, and the History Channel.

Melissa Meyer’s untimely death has saddened her students and friends as well as her colleagues both in the UCLA History Department and the larger, national Native American Studies community. She is survived by her mother Helen Meyer, her sister Diana Meyer-Margeson of Loveland, Ohio, her husband, Russell Thornton, a professor in the UCLA Department of Anthropology, her daughter Tanis, and her son Zane. Meyer dedicated Thicker Than Water to Tanis and Zane, and she clearly felt them to be her greatest source of inspiration. In countless scholarly conversations and emails to colleagues, she returned time and again to “those precious children.”



Miriam Silverberg passed away in the morning on March 16, 2008.

Miriam was a Professor of History and former Director of the Center for the Study of Women (CSW) at UCLA.  Her field of research covered Japan, Modern Japanese Thought, Culture, Social Transformation; Social and Cultural Theory; and Comparative Historiography.  Miriam directed CSW from 2000 to 2003.  She created the CSW Workshop Project that is still in existence today.  One of these workshops, "Migrating Epistemologies," met up until 2007.  Under Miriam's directorship, CSW sponsored a groundbreaking conference titled Feminism Confronts Disability.  She also launched the first Biennial Women's Community Action Award Dinner (with the UCLA Women's Studies Program); a conference entitled Educating Girls: New Issues in Science and Technology Education; and a talk by Matsui Yayori on the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal.  Miriam was a vibrant, productive, and important scholar.  Despite debilitating illness over the last several years, she continued her research and writing and published Erotic Grotesque Nonsense: The Mass Culture of Japanese Modern Times in 2007.  To many faculty she was a wonderful colleague and she will be greatly missed.

More on Miriam Silverberg in this Los Angeles Times obituary.



Eugen Weber died peacefully the evening of May 17, 2007 of pancreatic cancer.

Eugen was Chair of History, Dean of Social Sciences, and Dean of the College in his long career at UCLA.  It is a blessing that last year UCLA hosted a conference, organized by Professor Caroline Ford, which honored Eugen and his book, "Peasants into Frenchmen."  His friend and admirer, Joan Palevsky, gave UCLA a Chair in his honor.  Professor Lynn Hunt is the current Eugen Weber Professor of European History.




Stanford J. Shaw was born in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 5, 1930. He attended Stanford University, where he majored in British History under the direction of Professor Carl Brand, with a minor in Near Eastern History, under the direction of Professor Wayne Vucinich. He received his B.A.at Stanford in 1951 and M.A. in 1952, with a thesis on “The Foreign Policy of the British Labour Party from 1920 until 1938” based on research in the Hoover Institution at Stanford. He then studied Middle Eastern history along with Arabic, Turkish and Persian as a Graduate Student at Princeton University starting in 1952, receiving his M.A. in 1955. Shaw subsequently went to England to study with Bernard Lewis and Paul Wittek at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and with Professor Hamilton A.R. Gibb at Oxford University. Following this, he traveled to Egypt to study with Shafiq Ghorbal and Adolph Grohmann at the University of Cairo and Shaikh Sayyid at the Azhar University, also doing research in the Ottoman archives of Egypt at the Citadel in Cairo for his Princeton Ph.D. dissertation concerning Ottoman rule in Egypt. In 1956-7 he studied at the University of Istanbul with Professors Omer Lutfi Barkan, Mukrimin Halil Inanc, Halil Sahillioglu, and Zeki Velidi Togan, also completing research on his dissertation in the Ottoman archives of Istanbul and in the Topkapi Sarayi archives. He received his Ph.D. degree in 1958 from Princeton University with a dissertation entitled “The Financial and Administrative Organization and Development of Ottoman Egypt, 1517-1798,” prepared under the direction of Professor Lewis Thomas and Professor Hamilton A.R. Gibb, which was published by the Princeton University Press in 1962. Stanford Shaw served as Assistant and Associate Professor of Turkish Language and History, with tenure, in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and in the Department of History at Harvard University from 1958 until 1968, and as Professor of Turkish history at UCLA from 1968 until his retirement in 1992. Afterwards he was recalled to teach Turkish history at UCLA between 1992 and 1997 before going to Bilkent University as Professor of Ottoman and Turkish History starting in 1999.

Stanford Shaw was founder and first editor of the International Journal of Middle East Studies, published by the Cambridge University Press for the Middle East Studies Association, from 1970 until 1980. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including (with his wife Ezel Kural Shaw) History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey (2 volumes, Cambridge University Press 1976-1977), Between Old and New: The Ottoman Empire under Sultan Selim III (Harvard University Press), The Budget of Ottoman Egypt (Mouton and Co. The Hague), Ottoman Egypt in the Age of the French Revolution (Harvard University Press),Ottoman Egypt in the Eighteenth Century (Harvard University Press), The Jews of the Ottoman Empire and the Turkish Republic(Macmillan, London, and New York University Press, 1991), Turkey and the Holocaust (Macmillan, London and New York University Press, 1992), The Turkish War of National Liberation, 1918-1923 (Turkish Historical Society, 3 volumes, 1999), andStudies in Ottoman and Turkish history (Analecta Isisiana, 2000).

He was an honorary member of the Turkish Historical Society (Ankara), recipient of honorary degrees from Harvard University and the Bogazici University (Istanbul), and a member of the Middle East Studies Association, the American Historical Society, and the Tarih Vakfi (Istanbul). He also received a Medal of Honor (Liyakat Madalyasi) from the President of Turkey and medals for lifetime achievement from the Turkish-American Association and from the Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA) at the Yildiz Palace, Istanbul.

Professor Shaw received two major research awards from the United States National Endowment from the Humanities as well as fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Fulbright-Hayes Committee.

Professor Shaw passed away on December 16, 2006.



Srdjan Rajkovic came to UCLA from Belgrade in 2001, and was near the completion of his dissertation in Byzantine history when he fell gravely ill.  He died on December 26, 2006.  He was a brilliant young scholar, excellent teacher and much beloved friend.



Eric MonkkonenProfessor Eric Monkkonen, Distinguished Professor of History and Public Policy, died May 30, 2005 after a long battle with cancer. Eric grew up in Duluth, Minnesota, earned his undergraduate (English), master’s (American Studies) and Ph.D. (History) degrees all from the University of Minnesota. During his career he conducted influential research on urban finance, local governments, police, crime and violence. He authored and edited several books and published more than 50 research articles. His book titles include, America Becomes Urban: The Development of U.S. Cities and Towns, 1780-1980, which colleagues describe as the definitive history of urbanization in the United States. His later work focused on the history of local public finance and on urban crime, culminating in another major book,Murder in New York City, is based on a statistical time series back through the early nineteenth century. The book examines some of the major social shifts considered to affect homicide. These include the effects of immigration, urban growth, the Civil War, changes in weapons, demographic changes, and Prohibition. His work with nineteenth century coroner’s inquests allows ethnographic reconstruction of fatal violence, showing how gender roles and weapons shaped fatal individual conflicts. Further, by comparing New York City to London and Liverpool, he sets the current receding wave of violence in an international context. His recent work focused on violence in Los Angeles, while a major posthumous essay, “Homicide: Explaining America’s Exceptionalism,” was featured in a forum in the February 2006 volume of The American Historical Review

Eric, who began his academic career at UCLA in 1976, was recognized not only for his historical research but also for his methodological contributions. He received grants and fellowships from organizations including the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science Research Council. 

Colleagues described Monkkonen not only as an outstanding scholar, but as a dedicated teacher. “Eric loved UCLA and actively contributed to its life. Not only was he an active citizen of the university, he was a dedicated and personable colleague and teacher,” said Sanford Jacoby, professor of management, history, and public policy. 

In addition to his scholarly pursuits, Professor Monkkonen was involved in several organizations. He formerly served as president of the Urban History Association, Social Science History Association, and was a member of the National Consortium for Violence Research. He is survived by his wife, Judy, and sons Pentti and Paavo. 
The Eric Monkkonen Fund for the Support of U.S. History has been established. Contributions may be sent to Edward A. Alpers, UCLA Department of History, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1437, (Please make checks payable to UCLA Foundation - Monkkonen Fund.) 

The Eric Monkkonen Fund for the Support of U.S. History has been established. Contributions may be sent to Edward A. Alpers, UCLA Department of History, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1437, (Please make checks payable to UCLA Foundation - Monkkonen Fund.)