Our Research Team
We are a team of Ph.D.s with over 30 years experience in historical research and the history profession. Our history credentials are unmatched in the entertainment industry.
Becky received her Ph.D. with honors from Columbia University, specializing in American history. After serving on the faculties of Arizona State University West and UC San Diego, she became an LA-based consultant in 2006. She has consulted extensively on cultural resources projects for the City of Los Angeles, State of California, and LA Conservancy, and on film projects. Her book My Blue Heaven (2002) received two prizes, her second book The Suburb Reader (2006 & 2016, co-edited with Andy Wiese) was named a Top 10 book of 2007 by Planetizen.com, and she’s currently writing her third book on the history of LA suburbia 1945-2000. She's written numerous articles and has delivered over 50 public lectures. She’s served on the boards of several national and regional historical organizations, and on the editorial boards of historical journals and a book series. She is currently a research affiliate at the UCLA Center for the Study of Women and the Huntington-USC Institute on California & the West. She tweets at @BeckyNic7.
Emily Bills is an educator, author, and curator based in Los Angeles. She received her PhD in architectural and urban history from New York University and is Participating Adjunct Professor and Coordinator of the Urban Studies Program at Woodbury University. Emily’s historical scholarship has received recognition and support from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Graham Foundation, the Smithsonian, the Haynes Foundation, and the Society of Architectural Historians. Recent curatorial projects include Pedro E. Guerrero: Photographs of Modern Life, Catherine Opie: In & Around L.A., and Héléne Binet: Fragments of Light. Her book California Captured on the photography of Marvin Rand (Phaidon, 2018) was co-authored with Sam Lubell and Pierluigi Serraino. Her book Linking Up Los Angeles: How the Telephone Built a City is forthcoming from the University of Pittsburgh Press.
Brian Kovalesky, Ph.D. Partner
Brian Kovalesky recently completed his doctorate at UCLA, and currently teaches history at UCLA and California State University, Northridge. His dissertation traces the history of school district organization and the grassroots politics of education in California. He has also written about the firing and blacklisting of communist teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) in the 1950s, action prompted by the concerns of parents and local community members as domestic anti-communist fervor reached its peak. Brian’s work has been published in California History and presented at conferences nationwide. He has been awarded numerous fellowships for his scholarship, teaching, and community service. These included the Gary B. Nash award in public history, which funded his work on a year-long project that connected LAUSD high school students with history graduate students to enhance their engagement with local history. Before becoming a historian, Brian had a career in marketing and communications for technology companies. He also started and ran an online media company called StartUp Beat.
Monica Jovanovich, Ph.D., Research Consultant
Monica received her PhD in Art History, Criticism, and Theory from UC San Diego and is currently an instructor of art history at Golden West College. Previously, she was a Teaching Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor at Millsaps College in Jackson, MS and, from 2007-2014, the Managing Director of the Haudenschild Garage, a contemporary art space and non-profit art foundation in San Diego. Monica has presented widely and is co-editor of the book Corporate Patronage of Art & Architecture in the United States, Late 19th Century to the Present (Bloomsbury, 2019), which was supported by publishing grants from the Society for the Preservation of American Modernists and the Textbook & Academic Authors Association. Her articles include “Traveling Through Time: The Art and Architecture of the New Orleans Union Passenger Terminal” (The Southern Quarterly, forthcoming 2019) and “The Apotheosis of Power: Corporate Mural Commissions in Los Angeles during the 1930s” (Public Art Dialogue, Spring 2014). Monica’s current research focuses on the advocacy of African American artists in Los Angeles by corporations and women’s clubs during the Harlem Renaissance, the sponsorship of attractions at Disneyland by Monsanto, and Joseph L. Young's techno-utopian public art.
Our Professional Networks
Together, we are plugged into an extensive network of professional historians and have served as leaders in many of the nation's premier historical organizations.
American Historical Association
Organization of American Historians
Urban History Association
American Studies Association / California American Studies Association
American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch
Society of Architectural Historians
Los Angeles Forum for Architecture and Urban Design
Los Angeles Conservancy
National Council on Public History
Los Angeles History & Metro Studies Group
College Art Association
Modernist Studies Association
Historians of the Twentieth Century United States
Western History Association
And service on the editorial boards of:
Journal of Urban History
Pacific Historical Review
Encyclopedia of Urban History (Sage)