The UCLA Luskin Center for History and Policy was founded in 2017 through a generous gift from Meyer and Renee Luskin. It is the first academic center on the West Coast focused on bringing historical knowledge and perspective to bear on policy deliberations. In the words of Meyer Luskin, “The best way to choose the path to the future is to know the roads that brought us to the present.”
The mission of the Center is to generate and promote historically informed discussions of key public policy issues. We foster teaching, research and collaborations across campus and beyond the university that use historical insight to shape policy and provide solutions to current problems. To that end, the Center supports individual and collaborative research projects that address an urgent need or problem in our society, make tangible contributions to policy formation, and lead to a deeper understanding of significant contemporary issues. Through grants, the Center also contributes to the development of new courses that train students to analyze historical events and apply that knowledge to current issues.
Throughout the academic year, the Center will sponsor a number of events intended to heighten public awareness of the critical importance history plays in developing policy. For the academic year 2018-2019, the Center will host two new event series. First, “The Historian in Society” lecture series seeks to understand the place of history and the historian in this time of perplexity and disruption. What value does and can history add to our grasp of the present—and aspirations for the future? Noted scholars from UCLA and beyond will offer reflections on whether and how a broader public responsibility figures in their work. Second, “Putting History to Work: A Workshop on History and Policy” is a monthly LCHP series designed to be a forum for skills-building and presentation of research in the intersecting fields of history and policy. This workshop will answer a variety of practical questions for historians who want to make their research relevant to policy. How do historians address present-day problems in their work? What sorts of professional knowledge is needed? The workshop is principally intended for graduate students and faculty interested in applying historical knowledge to contemporary problems. It will feature a range of experts offering insight on a wide array of skills.
An additional goal of the Center is the anticipated development of an Innovation Lab that will draw on UCLA faculty and students to provide historically informed policy analysis to private and public sector clients in addition to public officials. Clients will approach the Lab with the expectation of receiving a clear-headed and historically informed analysis and set of recommendations on addressing their problems.
We invite you to join us in making the past both present and public.