College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History

Recent Headlines

Ai Wang

Professor Lydia Gerber, Director of the Asia Program, reports that Dr. Ai (Iris) Wang has just accepted an offer to join the Sam Houston State University as a visiting professor. I know she will be as successful and popular in Texas as she has been here in the Department of History and in particular, as our Asia Program assistant.

Ai’s dissertation, which she defended in July 2014, is titled City of the River: The Hai River and the Construction of Tianjin, 1897-1948.    Her doctoral advisor was Professor David Pietz, now at the University of Arizona.  Congratulations to Ai and thanks is due for David and Lydia for all the mentoring and assistance they have provided along the way.  We wish Ai all success in Texas!

Former History MA student Lee O’ Connor will be signing his book about civil defense in Spokane during the Cold War at Auntie's Bookstore in Spokane on Saturday May 30 at noon. The book stems from his 2010 MA thesis under the direction of Prof. Orlan Svingen.

Read the article in the Spokesman-Review

Brian Stack

Brian Stack, who just completed his MA and is entering our PhD program, has received a Western History Association Graduate Student Prize. This includes membership in the organization and a free ride to the upcoming conference (October in Portland). Read more about the award »

History Class 2015

Congratulations to all of our graduates
and our best wishes for the future!

Dowload list of Pullman graduates »

Brigit Farley

Associate Professor Brigit Farley will, by popular demand, be giving the College of Arts and Sciences Convocation address at WSU-Tri Cities for the second year in a row.

Sue Peabody

Professor Sue Peabody writes:   I am pleased to announce that History major junior Samantha Rintoulis the winner of the campus-wide WSU Vancouver Library Research Excellence Award for her paper, “Railroaded: Race Relations in Twentieth-Century Oregon.” Her paper examines two legal cases in which black railroad employees were accused and convicted of murder during the Great Depression and World War II and their divergent fates due to stereotyping and labor activism.  Samantha wrote her paper in Prof. Peabody’s History 469 seminar.


Dr. Shawna Herzog shared the news that Meg Wurm, a graduating History major at WSU-Pullman, received a rare “Pass with Distinction” for her Honors thesis.  Dr. Herzog supervised Meg’s thesis and describes it as follows:

"Ms. Wurm's thesis project, “Loyalty and Love: Homosexuality in Sherlock Holmes” is both innovative and compelling.  Not only does she deftly weave together historical analysis of British imperial history within an examination of Arthur Conan Doyle’s canon of mysteries, she offers a unique perspective that challenges the robust discourse that revolves around Doyle and his characters.  This project explores complex theoretical constructions of gender and masculinity in late nineteenth-century Victorian society and their influence on both Doyle and one of history’s most well known fictional detectives.  Her successful integration of historical and literary analysis is impressive and illustrates her ability to think critically and construct a strong, well-supported narrative.”

Meg did a terrific job and I am very proud to of her. Not only did this thesis pass “with distinction,” Meg has also been offered a place in the University of Nevada’s (Reno) Master’s Program in History.  Congratulations to her for all of her hard work and dedication!


Jeff Sanders

Associate Professor Jeff Sanders has received a $12,500 Berry Family Excellence Fellows Grant from the College of Arts and Sciences.  The coversheet for  his proposal – “Tributaries:  A Regional Digital Environmental Research and Teaching Collaboration” follows.

Jeff also reports that on April 22 he gave an invited lecture to the Center for Environmental Research, Education and Outreach (CEREO). He discussed his ongoing work as an environmental historian at WSU and his current project titled Childhood and Environment in the Postwar American West that examines the entwined history of children and environment in the United States after World War II. His work explores how Americans, concerned with the well-being of their children, framed environmental concerns and produced new environmental knowledge through the lens of childhood between 1940 and 1990.   


There have been numerous MA theses and PhD dissertations defended in the past few weeks. A spotlight on two new PhDs as of April 15 and 22, respectively:

  • Brett Bell defended his dissertation "Curse of the Forbidden Fruit: Southern Opposition During the Mexican War Era, 1835-1850" on April 15. Brett's advisor was Associate Professor Jennifer Thigpen. Professors Lawrence Hatter and Sue Peabody served on his committee.
  • Chris Schlect defended his dissertation "Onward Christian Administrators" on April 22. His committee was chaired by Associate Professor Matt Sutton. Professors Jesse Spohnholz, Robert Bauman and Jennifer Thigpen served on his committee.

Download the complete list »


Matt Sutton

Professor Matt Sutton reports that he has been appointed an OAH "Distinguished Lecturer" for 2015-2018.

Lawrence Hatter

Assistant Professor Lawrence Hatter has just been offered a book contract by the University of Virginia Press. His manuscript, titled Citizens of Convenience:  Nationhood, Empire, and the Northern Border of the American Republic, 1783-1820, will be included in the press’s prestigious “Early American history” series.

Carey McCormack

Carey McCormack, PhD candidate in World History, Vancouver campus, has been awarded a CAS Graduate Student Professional Development Award ($750) to present her research at a conference at the University of Kassel, Germany this June on “Ecological Networks and Transfers in Colonial Contexts, c. 1850-1920.” Carey’s presentation is titled “Collection and Discovery:  Joseph Hooker and the Exclusionary Act of ‘Discovery’ in Northern India.”  Carey’s dissertation advisor is Prof. Candice Goucher.

JT Menard

J.T. Menard, a history major, has received a History Scholar Award from the Gilder Lehrman Institute. He is one of sixteen such scholars, selected in a national competition. The scholars will spend a long weekend (June 3-7, 2015) in New York City participating in a program of special presentations, including meetings with eminent scholars, and experiencing exclusive behind-the-scenes tours of historic archives.

J.T. especially thanks Dr. David Stratton, Dr. Lydia Gerber and Dr. Lee Ann Powell for assisting him with the application process.

Learn more about the program »

Peter Boag

During Peter Boag's recent visit to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City for a speaking engagement, he was interviewed by Professors Brent Olson and Jeff Nichols, Westminster College, for their Emigration Creek Environmental Consortium (EC2 – or EC squared) project. Visit the EC2 website to read the story about his research and listen to a segment of the interview.

Julie Neuffer

Dr. Julie Neuffer and her recently published book, “Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement” (University of Utah Press) were featured in the Spokesman Review.  Julie did her PhD under the direction of Prof. Leroy Ashby.

Take Cover Spokane book cover

Lee O' Connor (WSU History MA 2010, advisor Prof. Orlan Svingen) was recently interviewed by Spokane public radio about his book, based on his MA thesis, called "Take Cover Spokane."  It treats civil defense measures in Spokane during the Cold War, especially the creation of bomb shelters. Listen to the interview on Spokane Public Radio.


An expert in American Constitutional history, the Civil War, and the American West, Sutton provides little-known facts about American Indian participation in the U.S. Civil War. Some 20,000 Native Americans fought on both sides of the nation-dividing conflict, many in vain effort to protect their lands, autonomy, and survival. Despite further, post-war tragedies, American Indians proved their resilience and teach us invaluable lessons today. Learn from their stories.

Sponsors: WSU Department of History and Student History Club

Download the poster pdf »


Matt Sutton
Theresa Jordan

Effective August 16, 2015, Associate Professor Matt Sutton will be promoted to the rank of full professor.

Assistant Clinical Professor Theresa Jordan will be promoted to the rank of Associate Clinical Professor.

Congratulations to both!

Steven Kale

Dr. Steven Kale has been appointed chair beginning August 16, 2015.

Jesse Spohnholz

Associate Professor Jesse Spohnholz, Director of the Roots of Contemporary Issues program, will travel to Europe funded by a grant from the Dutch National Organization for Scientific Research.  Professor Spohnholz’ news article is on the front page of The Daily Evergreen March 10, 2015. Read the entire article here: Easing tensions with tolerance

Congratulations, Professor Spohnholz!

Jennifer Brown

Jen Brown has accepted a Tenure Track position at Texas A&M--Corpus Christi. She'll be their new environmental historian.

Visit her current web page, soon to change to Assistant Professor.

Jesse Spohnholz

“Its not often that a humanities researcher is awarded a grant for nearly a million dollars especially when the money is distributed from the government of another nation.

But such is the case for Washington State University historian Jesse Spohnholz, who will receive a $917,000 grant from the Dutch National Organization for Scientific Research.”

Read more in CAS Connect »
Read more in WSU News »

Jennifer Binczewski

Jennifer Binczewski has been awarded an Honorable Mention for the 2015 Founders’ Dissertation Fellowship from the Western Association of Women Historians.


The Department of History is delighted that J.T. Menard’s paper entitled “The Civilian Conservation Corps: A Case Study of the Fort George Wright District and Camp F-188”, written in Dr. David Stratton’s 469 course, won the 2014 Payne Award, and has been accepted at the NCUR Conference (National Conferences on Undergraduate Research) April 16-18, 2015 at Eastern Washington University, Cheney, Washington. See CUR conferences and events and CUR student events for details on the venue. 

Following are two other students who successfully submitted papers:

  • Rachel Lauren Young - a History 469 paper from Spring semester 2014 entitled “The New Wave of Propaganda: The Effects of Video Games on a State’s Historical Memory and the Psyche of its Citizenry.” Rachel also received an Auvil Fellowship last summer and will present it as an Honors thesis this summer.
  • Claire Thornton - a paper on the GI Bill from History 300 in Fall semester 2014, is posted on the History Website and was made available to WSU Alumni. Claire will present at a regional Honors Conference in Nevada (one of two students sponsored by the WSU Honors College).

This is a reason to celebrate History undergraduates and the 300/469 classes!


Greg Atkins

Greg Atkins, PhD candidate, is presenting a paper at the 2015 Western Historical Association meeting in Portland, Oregon entitled "Creating the Western Resort City: Boosters and Their Use of Religion in Colorado Springs, 1871-1909."  The conference runs from October 21 to October 24, 2015.  His paper will be one of three on a panel chaired by Dr. Darren Dochuk called "An Evangelical Vatican in the West: Colorado Springs and the Boundaries of the Sacred."

Jesse Spohnholz

Associate Professor Jesse Spohnholz reports that he and his colleague, Mirjam van Veen, have been awarded a grant from the Dutch National Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) for their project Rhineland Exiles and the Religious Landscape of the Dutch Republic (c.1550-1618), which explores German influences on the culture of toleration in the Netherlands. The grant is for $917,000.  They will supervise a 6-year project, based at the Free University Amsterdam, including two PhDs, a postdoc, a smart phone app, public outreach, and a co-written book.

Ashley Wright
Jesse Spohnholz

Assistant Professor Ashley Wright and Associate Professor Jesse Spohnholz received CAS International Travel Grants in the amount of $1000 for professional work in Denmark and the Netherlands/Germany, respectively.

Jesse Spohnholz's grant will support research in Summer 2015 for his project, Rhineland Exiles and the Culture of Toleration in the Dutch Republic (c.1550–1618).

Sue Peabody

Professor Sue Peabody writes:  “It’s the latest entry in Sue Peabody’s Book of the Month Club (the last until 2016!): Pierre H. Boulle and Sue Peabody, Le Droit des noirs en France au temps de l’esclavage: Textes choisis et commentés, Autrement Mêmes, (Paris : L’Harmattan, 2014). This book, which occupied most of her sabbatical last year, surveys the laws and judicial proceedings regulating blacks and slavery in the metropole, from the 16th century until 1848, with excerpted documents illustrating these changes. The material for the eighteenth century expands slightly on her “There Are No Slaves in France”: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime (Oxford, 1996), but the most significant contribution (and the chapters authored primarily by Peabody) is the material on the Restoration period (1814-1848), which covers new ground in the history of blacks in the metropole.”

Aaron Whelchel

Dr. Aaron Whelchel (WSU History PhD, 2011), CASAC advisor and history instructor, WSU-Vancouver, won the New Advisor Award (advising for 3 or fewer years) from the WSU ACADA chapter . The award comes with a stipend. WSU award recipients will be entered to compete for regional (October 2014 deadline) and national (March 2015 deadline) level advising awards as well.

Jesse Spohnholz

Associate Professor Jesse Spohnholz and Mirjam van Veen, “Calvinists vs. Libertines: A New Look at Religious Exile and the Origins of ‘Dutch’ Toleration,” in Calvinism and the Making of the European Mind, edited by Gijsbert van den Brink and Harro M. Höpfl (Leiden: Brill, 2014), 76-99 is now in print. It is the first publication that is part of a larger collaboration between Spohnholz and Van Veen (Free University Amsterdam) on the relationship between Germany and the Netherlands relative to the history of religious toleration.

The third week of October, Spohnholz presents on another component of this research at the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference in New Orleans. His talk is titled, “The Origins of Dutch Intolerance: Exiles and the Long-Term Historiography of the Dutch Reformation.”

 

Matt Sutton

Prof. Matt Sutton is pleased to announce that he will be spending the 2014-2015 year at Heidelberg University as a Visiting Professor of American Studies and then Scholar in Residence.

Charles Weller

Charles Weller  has been accepted as a (non-residential) visiting researcher at Georgetown University, working with the Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (ACMCU).  Charles will work with Dr. John Voll (Prof. of Islamic history, former Assoc. Dir. of ACMCU) as his supervisor.   The appointment is for one year, June 2014 - July 2015.

 
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