COVID-19

Following the campus guidelines for Coronavirus all UC Davis classes, lectures, seminars, labs and discussion sections will move to virtual instruction and remain virtual through the end of fall quarter 2020, including final exams. Given this, the department’s administrative functions have moved to remote work conditions. To contact staff members of the department via e-mail or phone, please go to our administrative staff contact page. 

Roland Marchand

Roland Marchand was not only a leading historian of American culture, he was also one of the most beloved teachers in the history department. A scholar of American advertising and public relations, he brought his incisive analysis of business culture—particularly advertisements—into the classroom and made learning history a joyous occasion for generations of UCD students.

Marchand received his B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. from Stanford University. He also served from 1955 to 1958 as a naval officer. In 1964 he joined the history faculty at Davis, where he specialized in 20th century U.S. history.

Roland Marchand and Ads

 His first book, The American Peace Movement and Social Reform, 1898-1918 (Princeton, 1973), examined the groups in the U.S. pacifist movement. His second book, Advertising the American Dream: Making Way for Modernity, 1920-1940 (California, 1985) focused on the ways in which advertisers deployed traditional cultural tropes to help their customers feel more comfortable with consumption and modernity. 

For his third book, Marchand examined the public relations industry, particularly the efforts of U.S. corporations to improve Americans’ views of large companies and of capitalism. He spent years researching the topic in corporate archives. His final book, Creating the Corporate Soul: The Rise of Public Relations and Corporate Imagery in American Big Business (California, 1998), was finished just before his death. 

Marchand loved to impart the insights of his research to students and the broader public. He co-founded, with Kathy Medina what was originally known as the Area 3 History and Cultures Project on the Davis campus in 1991.  Now known as the History Project at UC Davis, it is one of five regional sites of the California History-Social Science Project, and has, since its inception, brought together university faculty, graduate students, and K12 teachers to collaborate, share resources, and work collaboratively to improve instruction, and with it, student learning. A winner of the Academic Senate’s undergraduate teaching prize, he was renowned for his analysis of visual images, particularly advertisements, in his engaging lectures. Marchand was one of the first to create multi-media slide shows, with coordinated slides, music, and audio, at a time when the technology was rudimentary and difficult to coordinate, making him a pioneer of what we now know as 'PowerPoint' presentations! He died in 1997, at age 64. After his passing, Roland’s widow, Betsy, donated his collection of teaching slides to the History Project, where they were digitized and put online as the Marchand Archive, a collection that now includes thousands of images ready for classroom use, thanks to the ongoing support of scores of current and former UC Davis faculty. The Marchand Fellowship for graduate student researchers was endowed in his memory.