Michaela Reaves, Ph.D.

Professor and Chair of History

Book this person as a speaker:

Email: reaves@callutheran.edu
Phone: (805) 493-3381


  • Go West, Young Woman!
    A multicultural story of strength and survival, this presentation discusses women during the Western movement of the 19th century in America.

  • Witchcraft in the Early Americas
    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!

  • From Padres to Pearls: Spanish Influence on the Colonial 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.

  • 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.

  • Healing: The True Ennoblement of Women
    Doctor Elizabeth Blackwell, asserted that (is) “Healing: …the true ennoblement of woman.” Beginning with early folk remedies and the female pioneers of medicine in the Renaissance up to 19th century in America, we will explore the contributions of women to the healing arts.

  • So Much More Than Thanksgiving!
    Historians and anthropologists continue to discover new twists and turns in the story of that place we call "Colonial America," yielding nuance and new details of stories from Columbus to Roanoke about personalities, resistance, and accommodation. The story of the founding of America is a tale of diversity, starvation, kidnap, and bravery.

  • Beer, Bread and Beguines!: 2000 Years of Women in Business
    From Beer and Bread to the Beguines, women have demonstrated an entrepreneurial bent that led to many of the discoveries that fueled the growth of civilization. Like the old television advertisement sang, "Women can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan!" Meet some of these women in whose footsteps the CEO's of today follow!

  • Migration in World History
    Birds do it, butterflies so it and human do it. Humans have moved from place to place throughout history. This presentation discusses some prime examples of migration, their push factors, and their impact over time.

Dr. Reaves earned her Ph.D. in History from the University of California at Santa Barbara.  She specializes in American history, with an emphasis in socio-cultural history. Her dissertation work was on 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. Her book, Filling in the Pieces: Women Tell Their Stories of the 20th Century was published in June 2021, based on collaboration with class oral histories.  She has been chosen Professor of the Year three times by the senior classes at Cal Lutheran and received the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence. From 2008 to 2011, she collaborated with the Moorpark Unified School District to bring a Department of Education grant for Teaching American History to three local school districts. In 2011, the Central Intelligence Agency collaborated with her Cold War class to “Declassify the Cold War.” Beginning in 2015, she has headed up the California Lutheran University Lecture series, with funding from 2018-2020 years coming from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.  With experiential learning a part of several classes, Dr. Reaves oversaw a grant in 2017 from the Library of America in Remembrance of World War I, which allowed for the creation of archives compiled from the stories of WWI veterans as told to their children and Cal Lutheran students. Last summer Dr. Reaves’  created lesson plans for “Global Washington” Situation Room Experience 2 (SRE2), titled "Washington's Cabinet," which are teacher-generated, written lesson plans to feature on new SRE2 website for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum.  Finally in 2020-21,"In Your Own Backyard: Civil Liberties Then and Now” a California State Library Civil Liberties grant will be used to create lesson modules covering five historical events that link the Japanese American incarceration to the civil liberties challenges of other communities and populations, including Hispanics, African-Americans, Chinese, and the mentally ill.