Historian to discuss the first Red Scare: Cal Lutheran faculty featured in library lecture series

The chair of California Lutheran University’s History Department will discuss America’s first Red Scare at the Grant R. Brimhall Library on Feb. 18.

Michaela Reaves will present “Radical ‘Reds’: Looking Backward” at 7 p.m. in the Community Room as part of the library’s 2015-2016 free lecture series, “A Century Ago: 1910-1920,” featuring Cal Lutheran faculty members.

The Cold War is often perceived as a phenomenon of the post-World War II era, but its origin dates to World War I. Reaves will discuss the lives of Americans John Reed and Benjamin Gitlow, founders of the Communist Party in America. They visited the former Soviet Union in the early days of the Revolution after Vladimir Lenin’s takeover in 1917. Scenes from the 1981 move “Reds” will be interspersed with factual commentary on America’s first Red Scare in 1919.

Reaves is a Cal Lutheran alumna who has been teaching at her alma mater since 1987. The Thousand Oaks resident specializes in American history with an emphasis in sociocultural history. Her classes cover a range of topics including the Cold War, U.S. social history and gender studies. In 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency collaborated with her Cold War America class to analyze just-declassified documents outlining Cold War intelligence gathering. Two years later, she received a grant that enabled her to work with students to research local fall-out shelters built to help families outlast radiation in case of a Soviet nuclear strike.

A dynamic speaker, Reaves received the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2004 and has been named Professor of the Year three times by senior classes. She collaborated with the Moorpark Unified School District to bring a U.S. Department of Education grant for Teaching American History to three local school districts.

Reaves earned a master’s degree in history from California State University, Northridge, and a doctorate from University of California, Santa Barbara.

The lecture series will continue on April 7 when a panel of three English Department faculty members will read and discuss the poetry of the decade at the library. Jack Ledbetter will focus on Robert Frost, Jacqueline Lyons on avant-garde poets, and Joan Wines on World War I poets.

Admission is free. For more information, call 805-449-2660, ext. 7358.

Michaela Reaves

Michaela Reaves


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William "Bill" Hicks
William "Bill" Hicks
5 years ago

This should be quite interesting. Back during “The Cold War” we had achieved mutually achieved destruction with the Soviets. I wonder how that compares to a Nuclear Iran that has an apocalyptic, religious driven, national hatred of “The Great Satin?”

Certainly a question to ask Ms. Reaves.