Web feature

History's Carla Hesse is named L&S dean of social sciences

| 16 July 2009

Professor of History Carla Hesse, a prize-winning scholar whose interests center on modern Europe, especially France, takes over Aug. 1 as dean of the social sciences division of the College of Letters and Science.

Her appointment was approved today by the UC Board of Regents.

Carla HesseCarla Hesse
A Berkeley native, Hesse brings with her 20 years of experience teaching at Berkeley, the last 13 as a full professor. Her focus has been modern European history, including its social and cultural aspects, with a specialty in modern European women’s history. She holds the Peder Sather Chair in the Department of History.

In 2007, she won the prestigious Aby Warburg Prize, given to scholars who have distinguished themselves in the arts, culture, and humanities. She has written two books, including The Other Enlightenment: How French Women Became Modern (Princeton University Press, 2001), and has a third, on the revolutionary law underlying the modern French republic, in the works.

"I very much look forward to working with Carla Hesse," said Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost George Breslauer. "She is an intellectual leader with deep knowledge of UC Berkeley and appreciation for the excellence of our academic mission. We are privileged to have recruited her as dean."

In addition to her scholarly work, Hesse has distinguished herself as a teacher, winning the Graduate Assembly's Distinguished Faculty Mentoring Award last May.

She also has been an active member of the campus community, serving regularly in the work of the Academic Senate, including as chair of the senate's Budget Committee and member of the Committee on Planning and Resource Allocation, both in 2007-08. That same year she sat on the Divisional Council of the university's Academic Senate.

Hesse also served as one of eight members of the Administration-Senate Joint Taskforce on UC-Industry Partnerships. During a panel discussion of the taskforce’s conclusions before the Academic Senate last November, Hesse noted the "special challenges in the humanities and the social sciences," where she said infrastructure costs are more critical than research funding, according to a Berkeleyan account of the session.

Before arriving at Berkeley in 1989, Hesse taught at Rutgers University for two years. During her tenure here, she has been tapped as a visiting professor of history at Princeton, where she earned her M.A. and Ph.D. (1982, ’84) after receiving bachelor’s degree with honors in history and French literature from UC Santa Cruz. She has also been a visiting professor at the University of Paris (Sorbonne).

With her appointment, Hesse fills the post left open by the sudden death of Dean Jon Gjerde last October. History colleague and former vice provost Jan de Vries has been filling in as dean in the interim.

Details about compensation for new administrators are available at the UC regents' salaries and compensation website.