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Carla Pestana

Distinguished Professor and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of America in the World
Department: Department of History
5391 Bunche Hall
315 Portola Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1473
Campus mailcode: 951473
Tel: 310-825-1883
Keywords: History, Caribbean

Carla Gardina Pestana, Professor and Joyce Appleby Endowed Chair of America in the World, studies the 17th and 18th century Atlantic worlds, especially the English Atlantic; the Caribbean; and U.S. religious history.

Carla Gardina Pestana received her Ph.D. at UCLA in 1987 in early American history. Before joining UCLA’s faculty in 2012, she taught at The Ohio State University, Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand, and Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Professor Pestana has thus far published books on religion and empire in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Her first book, Quakers and Baptists in Colonial Massachusetts, considered illegal religious communities in New England’s less tolerant colony. Protestant Empire: Religion and the Making of the British Atlantic World (2009), explored the religious transformation brought by English expansion into the Atlantic world. On the subject of empire, she authored The English Atlantic in an Age of Revolution, 1640-1661 (2004), a study of the effects of revolutionary upheaval in England, Ireland and Scotland on England’s nascent empire. She is also the co-editor with Sharon V. Salinger of Inequality in Early America (1991), a volume of essays honoring their dissertation advisor, Gary B. Nash. Also with Salinger, she compiled and edited a multi-volume collection of primary texts on the early English engagement in the Caribbean, for British publishing house Pickering-Chatto, entitled The Early English Caribbean, 1570-1700. The Belknap imprint at Harvard University Press published Pestana’s The English Conquest of Jamaica: Oliver Cromwell’s Bid for Empire.

Her teaching interests range over similar fields to those explored in her publications. She contributes her expertise in early American history, the history of American religion, piracy, and the history of the early modern world. She has taught undergraduate courses on Atlantic history and early American history, on the history of American religion, as well as on such topics as Salem witchcraft and pirates in the Caribbean. Professor Pestana teaches the introductory course for first year U.S. graduate students, History 246A (U.S. History and Historiography to 1800). Her 14A course, History of the Atlantic World, will be offered for the first time in 2019. She regularly offers Fiat Lux courses, on topics including THE GLOBAL CLIMATE CRISIS OF THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY, the novel Wolf Hall considered as an exercise in historical revision, and THE ADVENTURES OF HENRY PITMAN (a seventeenth-century prisoner of war, indentured servant, runaway and physician).

She is the President of FEEGI (Forum on European Expansion and Global Interaction), 2018-2020; an OAH Distinguished Lecturer, 2016-2019; a member of the editorial board of the American Historical Review and Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal; and a member of the Nominating Committee for the AHA, 2020-22.