College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History

Recent Headlines

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.

Concrete Dreams poster

The students of History 529, in cooperation with Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, and sponsored by the History Graduate Students Association and the George and Bernadine Converse Historical Endowment, present "Concrete Dreams: Living With the Grand Coulee Dam." This exhibit explores the experiences of those who lived near and worked on the Dam through the use of images, documents, and physical objects.

An opening reception with light refreshments will be held on April 21 at 4:30 PM in the atrium of Terrell Library. The exhibit will run from April 21st through September 1st, 2015 at Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections located in Terrell Library on WSU's Pullman campus, and can be viewed Monday to Friday between 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM.

For questions and further information, please contact Dr. Robert McCoy, Associate Professor of History, at

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 »

Tedx at WSU

 Mandy Link (PhD candidate) will speak April 4 at the WSU TEDx talk.  She writes: “I have been invited to speak at this year's WSU TEDx talk.  I am speaking on the legacies of WWI in Ireland.  The talks will be on a live feed on Saturday from 3:00-8:00 p.m.  and then uploaded to the main TED talks website."

Please note that the live feed begins approximately 26 minutes into the video.

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.

Charles Weller

Dr. Charles Weller gave a presentation at Georgetown University in Washington DC on March 19, entitled "The Impact of the Crimean and Ukrainian Crises on the Central Eurasian Islamic World." The lecture was co-sponsored by Georgetown's Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Relations (ACMCU) and the Center for Eurasian, Russian, and East European Studies (CERES). For further details, visit Georgetown University's website.

Cherri Wemlinger

Cherri Wemlinger's (PhD World History 2012) article “Collective Security and the Italo-Ethiopian Dispute before the League of Nations,” has been published in Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Studies. Vol 40, Issue 2, April 2015, p. 139-166. Additionally, she has accepted a tenure-track position at Fairmont State University in Fairmont, West Virginia.

Jackie Hedlund Tyler

Jacki Hedlund Tyler successfully defended her dissertation on Monday, March 23. Jacki writes:  "The title of my dissertation is 'The Power of Political Chatter: Settler Colonialism and the Construction of Race, Gender, and Citizenship in Oregon.' My dissertation committee consists of Dr. Peter Boag (Chair), Dr. Jenny Thigpen, Dr. Matt Sutton, and Dr. Rob McCoy.” Congratulations, Dr. Tyler!

Sutton poster

“American Indians and the Civil War”

By Robert K. Sutton (Ph.D. history ’84)
National Park Service Chief Historian

Wednesday, April 1 ● 7:00 p.m.
CUB 212 (Junior Ballroom)

Free – everyone welcome

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 SuttonTheresa 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.

Many members of the department, both faculty and graduate students, took part in the Northwest and California World History Association Conference in Seattle last weekend (Feb. 27-March 1).  Please enjoy leafing through the program to see how well they represented our World History program.  Special thanks to Prof. Ashley Wright in Pullman for helping to organize the graduate students, and to Dr. Aaron Whelchel at WSU-Vancouver for running the three-ring circus as President of the NWWHA. Download the program (pdf) »

Peter Boag

On 18 February, Professor Peter Boag delivered the John T. Connolly Lecture at the University of Portland. The title of his talk was “The Most Heinous and Unprovoked Murder Ever Committed in the State: Parricide as a Window on 1890s Oregon.”  He also separately met with undergraduates there (they have 100 majors) to discuss researching and writing history.

Organizers of the University of Oxford’s “International Workshop: ‘Honour Thy Father and Thy Mother’: Violence Against Parents in the North of Europe,” sponsored by the Joint Committee for Nordic Councils for the Humanities and Social Sciences, have invited Professor Boag to talk on his research on parricide in the United States at Oxford this summer.  His talk is “Gender and the Historicity of Parricide: A Case Study from the 19th-Century North American West.

Jesse Spohnholz

“It’s 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 »

JT Menard

Congratulations to J.T. Menard for winning the paper competition sponsored by the WSU Gamma Psi chapter of Phi Alpha Theta for the best undergraduate paper. He will present this paper at the 2015 Phi Alpha Theta conference at Lake Chelan on April 10-11. Menard’s paper addresses the conservation work performed by the Civilian Conservation Corps volunteers in Idaho’s St. Joe National Forest. His paper focuses on the impact of the CCC’s presence in Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington, particularly focuses on the educational opportunities afforded to CCC volunteers. Menard seeks to graduate from WSU in the spring and attend a graduate program in history by the fall.

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.

Black Spokane by Dwayne Mack

WSU PhD Dwayne Mack’s book Black Spokane was announced earlier this afternoon.

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.”

Largest gathering of American historians in U.S.
to be held April 16–19 in St. Louis

Organization of American HistoriansThe Organization of American Historians (OAH) will host the nation’s largest single gathering of American historians during its 2015 Annual Meeting.

The event is expected to draw about 2,000 top scholars and historians from around the world to the America’s Center and Renaissance Grand Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri.

The meeting, which is open to both members and non-members of OAH, will feature four days of educational programs showcasing the latest news and developments in historical research, emerging technologies and innovations in teaching, and related best practices. It takes place April 16-19.

According to Katherine M. Finley, OAH executive director, the theme of the 2015 gathering will focus on how complex, controversial topics in history—such as race, gender, and sexuality—remain taboo even today.

“The courage to challenge taboos, offer fresh interpretations, and ask questions signals an important development in the history community. New dialog deepens and transforms what we know about the study of American history,” Finley explained.

Highlights of the 2015 program include:

  • 150 educational and technology sessions on cutting-edge research and teaching tools, state-of-the-field discussions, student mentorship programs, and career counseling.
  • An exhibit hall with five museum-quality displays and 70 information booths where publishers, book sellers, technology companies, resource providers, and other vendors will discuss and demonstrate their products.
  • “American History from the Inside Out: Putting St. Louis’ History of Cities, Suburbs, and Race Relations to Work to Reconfigure the National Narrative,” a plenary session exploring recent events in Ferguson, MO and how they relate to similar events in communities throughout the U.S.
  • “The Humor in History and the History of Humor,” a plenary session delivered by Mr. Bob Mankoff, The New Yorker cartoon editor and author of the book How about Never: Is Never Good for You?
  • An evening reception featuring a 17-piece St. Louis jazz band is included. Optional city tours to explore St. Louis museums and historical sites are being offered, including a visit to historic Cahokia Mounds, one of the most sophisticated prehistoric cities north of Mexico.
  • The event culminates with an address from Patricia M. Limerick, OAH president, followed by the annual awards banquet.

Finley said attendees are a diverse blend of American history professionals, most of whom are university professors and graduate students, high school teachers, and public historians working for state/municipal government agencies, museums and cultural institutions, and nonprofit organizations.

Participants are also expected to include about 75 international visitors from 15 countries who study or work in the field of American history.

The event is the 108th annual meeting that OAH has hosted and organized since 1907.

Preregistration costs are $75 for student members, $115 for non-member students, $155 for members, and $205 for non-members. Register online at

Onsite registration for members is $115 for student members, $140 for non-member students, $190 for members, and $250 for non-members.

Guests including non-member students, retirees, civic and cultural groups, and others may be eligible for reduced pricing by calling 812.855.7311 or e-mailing

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.”


Laurie Mercier

Professor Laurie Mercier has received the 2014-15 Sproul Visiting Scholar Fellowship in the Canadian Studies Program at University of California at Berkeley. Although there are details to work out, she will probably spend Feb-Apr 2015 at the university. Laurie also has just had essays published in two new books: “Probing Memory and Experience: The Untapped Potential of Oral History (Re)Collections,” in Oral History, Community, and Work in the American West (Arizona); and “Confronting Race and Creating Community: Idaho’s Ethnic History,” in Idaho’s Place: A New History of the Gem State (Univ WA). Also, her KBOO interview this month highlights the reasons why history is so important for understanding current events.

Clif Stratton

Theresa Jordan

Xiuyu Wang

In a university-wide competition, three of our colleagues won Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Grants for the coming year:

Asst. Clinical Professor Clif Stratton will develop a digital history exhibit project with his RCI sections in Fall 2014.

Asst. Clinical Professor Theresa Jordan describes her project:  “Fall and spring instructors in HIST 120/121 will implement a tool designed to improve student writing, which I call  “the portfolio”.  Students have the opportunity to earn 250 of 1000 points if they can demonstrate improvement from their first to second and second to third papers, using the graded rubrics for comparison.  I’ve been doing this for three years, with reliable results.  I’d like to see how it works for other instructors.”

Associate Professor Xiuyu Wang (WSU-Vancouver) describes his project:   “The project aims at creating a primary source reader on East Asia, covering history, literature, philosophy, political economy, and other subjects. It will be used in combination with standard textbooks to increase student ability to comprehend and critically examine primary sources from East Asia.”

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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