As 2020 comes to a close, it’s impossible not to reflect on what a strange year it has been. Still, even with the uncertainty and physical distance imposed by the pandemic, our department has much to celebrate. First and foremost, I am so grateful to the wonderful faculty, students, and staff, who have helped each other through these uncertain times. Your generosity and commitment to our department has made remote learning possible.
Outside of the classroom, we have offered a number of public lectures and events to help keep our broader community close. For instance, you may wish to listen to a wonderful History Associates lecture from Sheila Lodge, former mayor of Santa Barbara, planning commission member, and city activist. Sheila’s talk is based on her new book, Santa Barbara: An Uncommonplace American Town, which traces the unique history of the public planning and activism that has preserved so much open space in Santa Barbara.
In that spirit of community, we are finding new ways to celebrate the holiday season and connect with one another. The History Graduate Student Association and I are collecting a History Department Historical Recipe Book for the holidays. If you have a family recipe or a recipe related to the time and place you study that you would like to share, please upload it to this Google Form by December 31st. We hope to have recipes from all over the world that will challenge our ability to translate ingredients, weights and measures, and directions from the past as we cook this holiday season.
If you miss holiday travel, you may enjoy visiting this fascinating public history project, Pride of Place: England’s LGBQT Heritage, created by Dr. Justin Bengry, who received his PhD in our department in 2010. Dr. Bengry discussed his work on queer public history projects in our new public history colloquium in early December. Get a view of Britain from your living room!
Finally, for those of you looking for the perfect gift to give – or receive yourself – consider Professor Patrick McCray’s new book, Making Art Work: How Cold War Engineers and Artists Forged a New Creative Culture (MIT Press 2020). It is already receiving tremendous praise, and is certain to entertain the right and left sides of your brain.
I wish you all a healthy, safe, and happy holiday season. See you all in 2021!
With warmest wishes,