It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the newest issue of the University of California Santa Barbara’s Undergraduate Journal of History. During these uncertain and difficult times of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The Journal continues to provide an engaging platform for undergraduate researchers to record and create history. We are extremely delighted to continue being a space for undergraduates to share their historic scholarship and foster intellectual debate, dialogue, and curiosity. Alongside the rest of the world, our editorial team has slowly been transitioning to more normal life and for the first time has been able to work on this issue in person. We look forward to working together in person away from the video chat boxes and continuing to publish the exemplary historical research of undergraduate students.
In this issue of the Undergraduate Journal of History, our historians have considered a wide variety of topics that cross temporal and spatial boundaries. Among the eight papers published in this issue, are several that consider the role of politics and policy across class boundaries. We begin with Ariana Cuevas’ writing on the various historical events that led to the Spanish Armada during the Sixteenth Century. This paper gives insight into the economic and political parallels between Spain and England and draws upon the Anglo-Spanish relations during the reign of Queen Elizabeth.
We stay in Europe for the next paper by Jaqueline Isero. Isero examines the contagionist and anti-contagionist debates that shaped the evolution of the British Empire’s epidemic policy at the height of their hegemony during the 18th and 19th century resulting in quarantine policy that diverged dramatically from the European standard. In her paper, Jaqueline Isero traces the British Empire politicization of quarantine policy and their growing disregard of public health interests in favor of economic gain
The following paper moves our attention away from Europe, taking a look into more contemporary events in the United States during the 1990s and early 2000s. In “Breaking News: Fox News and MSNBC in a Divided America”, Winnie Lam traces the rise of cable television as a fundamental component of the increasing polarization that typified the political sphere of the early 2000s. Her riveting analysis sheds light on discussions of these two news stations as both the product of political polarization and tools by which this phenomenon is perpetuated.
Taking us back in time and back to Europe, Megan Tien discusses the work of Scottish reformer John Knox, following Knox’s journey of learning how to successfully work with political figures to accomplish his lofty reforms. In contrast to the political work of Knox, Kayla Ouerbacker addresses how cultural influences shaped the legal scholarship of various demonological authors on witchcraft in the early modern period. These writings influenced the ways in which society perceived and acted upon the perceived problem of witchcraft.
In the next article, Building the Empire: How the Adoption of Neo-Gothic Architecture Led to the Creation of an Imperial Network of Architects author Sara Marcus discussesQueen Victoria’s ambitions to build an Imperial Institute of the United Kingdom, the Colonies, and India which led to the domination of Neo-Gothic architectural form throughout the 19th century.
Taylor McLeod’s The Pandemic in the Immigrant Home: Oral Histories of First-Generation Los Angeles touches on a more contemporary issue in her oral history project on the lives of immigrant families in Los Angeles. This project brings readers to a history of the present as McLeod meditates on the ways access to food and the interaction between culture and food shaped experiences of the pandemic.
The penultimate paper in this issue explores the women’s movement in China as a forgotten facet of the Culture Revolution. A history often lost within the large-scale mass class struggle, Zhen Tian traces unachieved women’s liberation and equality as catalysts to the PRC’s shift away from Maoist socialism to contemporary socialism with Chinese characteristics.
This issue closes with a look at the changes within the English aristocracy which author John Young links to shifts in the English country house’s role. Previously seen as distinct developments, Young directly connects the rise of the “new” aristocracy and the weakening of the old one to the major shift of English country houses from political power bases to private consolidations of wealth. Sparked by reform acts from “common” people’s grievances, landed elites were increasingly forced to share their power, and some even fell into financial ruin.
If you are interested in submitting your work in the fields and subtopics of history to the Undergraduate Journal of History, we are currently accepting submissions on an ongoing or rolling basis. To see the full list of submission topics and guidelines, please visit our website.
Finally, the editorial team extends our thanks to the many authors, peer-reviewers, and instructors that helped bring this volume to fruition and look forward to many more volumes to come. We are pleased to present to you and hope you enjoy Vol. 1, Issue 2 of the Undergraduate Journal of History.