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Speakers & Experts


Michaela Crawford Reaves, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair of History

Phone: (805) 493-3381


Dr. Reaves specializes in American history, with an emphasis in sociocultural history. Her dissertation work was in the social organization of agrarian societies in California in the 1870s. She has published multiple articles and several reviews, including an essay for the Alexander Street Database on fractious farmers. Dr. Reaves is currently working on a paper entitled "The Colonial Crone: Women and Menopause in Colonial America" and another on "Agrarian Social Protest" in the late 19th century. Her classes include courses in gender studies, U.S. social history, Cold War America, Civil War and Colonial-era history. She has been chosen Professor of the Year three times by the senior classes of CLU and received the President's Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004. From 2008-2011 she collaborated with the Moorpark Unified School District to bring a U.S. Department of Education grant for Teaching American History (TAH) to three local school districts. In 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) collaborated with her Cold War America class to "Declassify the Cold War" and two years later a grant on Cold War artifacts, e.g. fall-out shelters in Nike missile sites, involved Capstone and Honors students in hands-on research of cultural memory. 


  • "Padres, Pearls, and Pumpions: Spanish Influence on the Atlantic Seaboard."

    An exploration of the conflict between the three empires in the New World prior to Jamestown’s settlement as the dominant empire of Spain redrew the Atlantic map, the latecomer England struggled for a foothold, and the in situ Powhatan Confederacy vied for recognition.

  • "Women in the West"

    A multicultural story of strength and survival, this presentation discusses women during the Western movement of the 19th century in America.

  • "The Way We Were: Betsy McCall and the Cold War"

    In 1952, McCall's Magazine introduced a paper doll that became a part of the magazine for the next forty years. She was "“five, going on six, and she lives in a little white house with a porch and a yard to play in. Her mother and daddy and Nosy, her puppy, live in the white house too. Nosy is six months old. Betsy and Nosy and Betsy’s friends play together all the time. And every month from now on they’ll come to play with you too.” Despite the upbeat description, Betsy was a symbol of what the Cold War was fought over, but more than that she was a symbol of social and cultural mores, which will be explored in this presentation.

  • "Images of Beauty in History"

    Remember that once fat women were rich and beautiful and thin women were poor and starving! A look at changing standards of female and male beauty from ancient times to the present day.

  • "Salem: Was it Witchcraft?"

    Salem conjures up tales of witches and specters, but the real story is one of politics, economics and illness. Hear the theories and pick the best answer!

  • "Who was King Arthur?"

    An investigation into the story of Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. Is this tale of chivalry fact or fiction?

  • "Rumors, Innuendo and the Presidency"

    A sometimes amusing, sometimes shocking look at the gossip and, often truths, about the presidents from George Washington to Lyndon B. Johnson.

  • "The Cold War: A Retrospective"

    With declassification and distance, historians of the Cold War are now able to analyze the events with greater impartiality. This presentation presents an overview of the events and personalities that created the Cold War.