LAURELS: Kelman Elected to Society of American Historians

Ari Kelman, agianst backdrop of campus greenery
Ari Kelman, professor and interim dean, and newly elected fellow of the Society of American Historians. (Karin Higgins/UC Davis)


  • Ari Kelman, interim dean, College of Letters and Science
  • Brian Soucek, professor, School of Law
  • David Lubarsky, vice chancellor, Human Health Sciences, and CEO, UC Davis Health

Historian Ari Kelman, author of award-winning books on the 1864 Sand Creek massacre and New Orleans’ environmental history, has received a new honor for his writing: election as a fellow of the Society of American Historians.

Kelman, a Chancellor’s Leadership Professor of History and interim dean of the College of Letters and Science, joins about 400 historians and writers in the invitation-only society, which was established in 1939 at Columbia University to promote literary excellence in the writing or presentation of history.

He wrote A Misplaced Massacre: Struggling Over the Memory of Sand Creek, which won five national awards including the Bancroft Prize, and A River and Its City: The Nature of Landscape in New Orleans, which received the Vernacular Architecture Forum’s Abbott Lowell Cummings Prize. His most recent book is Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War.

In 2019, he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to support his work on multiple book projects, including For Liberty and Empire: How the Civil War Bled into the Indian Wars.

Three of Kelman’s colleagues in the Department of History are also fellows of the society: Professor Emeritus David Brody, Professor Gregory Downs and Professor Louis Warren, who is the W. Turrentine Jackson Professor of U.S. Western History.

— Kathleen Holder, College of Letters and Science

Brian Soucek mugshot

Law professor Brian Soucek has been named by UC’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement as one of its 11 fellows for 2020-21. They will study issues pertaining to expression, academic freedom and campus climate.

According to the center’s website, Soucek plans a research project on “Institutional Values, Academic Freedom and the First Amendment,” in which he will ask what happens when a university’s institutional values collide with the academic freedom and First Amendment rights of its faculty, students or staff.

He will be looking in particular at UC’s use of diversity statements in faculty hiring and the university’s ban on travel to states hostile to LGBT rights.

The National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, established in 2017 and housed at the UC Washington Center (UCDC), chooses a new class of fellows annually from a wide range of disciplines and backgrounds, and from within and outside UC.

Besides Soucek, the class of 2020-21 includes four other professors, a dean and two Ph.D. students, a Santa Cruz County supervisor and a Chicago police officer who is assigned as an instructor-trainer.

Soucek, who joined UC Davis in 2013, has expertise in antidiscrimination law, constitutional law, civil procedure, immigration law and policy, sexual orientation, gender identity, and the law and cultural studies. He has taught a First-Year Seminar (for undergraduates) on free expression.

Eight of the other fellows, like Soucek, will work individually and two will work as a team, taking on projects to further the national conversation related to expression and civic engagement on college campuses, including how to advance campus dialogue and further diversity and inclusivity.

Projects include developing educational materials and programs that can serve as roadmaps for safeguarding and encouraging the free exchange of ideas.

See all of the fellows for 2020-21.

David Lubarsky mugshot

David Lubarsky, vice chancellor of Human Health Sciences and CEO of UC Davis Health, has been elected to the California Medical Association’s board of trustees, the organization’s primary policymaking body.

The CMA, with some 50,000 members, is the state’s leading medical association. The membership includes all 1,000 UC Davis Health physicians; Lubarsky signed them up as members of the CMA and its Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society.

“Dr. Lubarsky will be a voice for UC Health and a terrific addition to the CMA board of trustees,” said Carrie L. Byington, executive vice president of UC Health. “He is an accomplished physician leader and an innovator who understands the role of academic medicine today and has a vision for how medicine needs to evolve in the future.”

Lubarsky, an anesthesiologist, has long been a strong proponent of physicians and academic medical centers playing a leading role in shaping health care policy and contributing their science-based, patient-centric approach to health care and public health.

CMA President Peter N. Bretan, describing Lubarsky as “one of the most trusted voices in California public health,” said his election to the CMA board “signifies the new partnership between UC and the California Medical Association to advocate for physicians and patients of UC Health and to improve the quality and access to health care for all Californians.”

— Charles Casey, UC Davis Health

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