College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History

Recent Headlines

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.

Steven Hoch

Professor Steven Hoch has published a new book:  Essays in Russian Social and Economic History (Boston:  Academic Studies Press, 2014). Read the table of contents »

“Founded in 2007, Academic Studies Press quickly established itself as a leading publisher in both Jewish and Slavic studies. Our monographs, multi-authored collections, anthologies, critical companions, and memoirs are frequently and highly recommended by CHOICE: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, and our books have been the recipients of many awards, including the National Jewish Book Award for Education and Jewish Identity, the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award in Holocaust Literature, and the Helecki Award for Outstanding Book on the Polish Experience in America. Our books are curated in collaboration with our series editors who are major scholars in their respective fields.”


Helen Andelin book cover

Dr. Julie Neuffer (WSU PhD 2007) has published her dissertation (Prof. Leroy Ashby, advisor):  Helen Andelin and the Fascinating Womanhood Movement (Salt Lake City: The University of Utah Press, 2014).  A copy is on display in the Pullman main office.  Julie currently is an instructor up the road at Eastern Washington University

WSU historian Jesse Spohnholz, left, and molecular anthropologist Brian Kemp. Skeleton in foreground is not that of King Richard III. (Photo by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services)

Photo by Shelly Hanks, WSU Photo Services

The recent announcement that a skeleton found under a parking lot in England two years ago is that of King Richard III has laid one mystery to rest – while giving rise to another. Continue reading in WSU News »

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).

Lawrence Hatter

Assistant Professor Lawrence Hatter reports:  My review essay on American Empire is in the latest edition of the Journal of the Early Republic.

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.”

mortar board and diploma

The Department of History is proud to present the 2014 Winter Graduating Class! These undergraduate students will receive a Bachelor of Arts in History or Social Studies on December 13. Download the list »

Phil Travis

"I hope that my work will help Americans to approach the current war on terrorism in a more aware and critical manner." Read History Ph.D. graduate Phil Travis' Foley Graduate Felllow Report on page 17 of The Foley Institute Report.

Greg Atkins

History Ph.D. student Greg Atkins is the recipient of an Alice O. Rice Graduate Fellowship, awarded by The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service. Read more about the award in The Foley Institute Report (page 16).

Greg Atkins

Please congratulate History Ph.D. student and HGSA representative Greg Atkins, winner of the GPSA Graduate Teaching Assistant Excellence Award for Summer/Fall 2014. The award was open all to graduate teaching assistants at WSU.

Greg's excellent work will be recognized at the GPSA annual awards luncheon on Friday, April 24th, 2015 at noon in Banyans on the Ridge – Event Pavilion.

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

Sue Peabody

Professor Sue Peabody’s book, Free Soil in the Atlantic World, co-edited with Keila Grinberg (Universidão de Rio de Janeiro), has been received and is on display in the Pullman Department of History main office.

Jeffrey Sanders

Associate Professor Jeffrey C. Sanders is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Redd Center this fall where he is researching and writing about the environmental history of children in the atomic west. The chapter will be part of his book, Children and the Environment in the Postwar West which will be published with Cambridge University Press in 2016. 

Matt Sutton

Associate Professor Matt Sutton co-organized a conference on Religion and Politics in modern America, which is being held tomorrow and is being taped by CSPAN for broadcast sometime this winter. He is also co-editing the collection of essays that will come out of the conference, which is being published by Oxford University Press. His paper compares the apocalypticism of David Koresh, Harold Camping, and Billy Graham.

Lydia Gerber

Dr. Lydia Gerber has accepted an appointment to be the new Director of the Asia Studies Program, effective November 1.

Matt Sutton

Associate Professor Matt Sutton’s book, American Apocalypse:  A History of Modern Evangelicalism(Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2014) has been received and is on display in the Department of History’s main office.  It is the first comprehensive history of modern American evangelicalism to appear in a generation. It shows how a group of radical Protestants, anticipating the end of the world, paradoxically transformed it. Perceiving the United States as besieged by Satanic forces—communism and secularism, family breakdown and government encroachment—Billy Sunday, Charles Fuller, Billy Graham, and others took to the pulpit and airwaves to explain how Biblical end-times prophecy made sense of a world ravaged by global wars, genocide, and the threat of nuclear extinction. Believing Armageddon was nigh, these preachers used what little time was left to warn of the coming Antichrist, save souls, and prepare the nation for God’s final judgment.

Clif Stratton

Katy Fry

One more item to share:  in case you missed it last week, Drs. Clif Stratton and Katy Fry co-presented a fine lecture giving the historical backstory, and follow-up, to Japanese internment as part of WSU’s commemoration events this fall.  Read more in The Daily Evergreen.

Peter Boag

Professor Peter Boag served this past Spring as a consultant for an episode of The Learning Channel’s family-history program “Who Do You Think You Are” in which actor Kelsey Grammer discovered his family history. Professor Boag was then featured as a guest expert in the episode that aired on August 20th. View the full episode online.

Professor Boag delivered the Vern & Bonnie Bullough Lecture in the History of Gender and Sexuality at the University of Utah on October 30. His talk was entitled “Gender, Sexuality, and the Decolonization of the Mythic American West.”

Sue Peabody

Professor Sue Peabody had her scholarship cited in a recent interview on French television.  She writes: “ French historian Gilles Gérard mentioned my work on Furcy, the enslaved man from Réunion, in a recent TV interview. In a new youth movement, young people are claiming Furcy’s memory as a sign of their present oppression.”

Professor Peabody also has a publication to report and includes an offer of professional assistance:   “My peer-reviewed annotated bibliography, ‘French Emancipation,’ was just published in Oxford Bibliographies, within the Atlantic World section. OUP is looking for authors to prepare such bibliographies for other topics in a select group of fields and sub-fields. If anyone in the department is interested in proposing a bibliography, let me know and I’ll be happy to recommend you to the acquisitions editors."

Candice Goucher

Professor Candice Goucher has published two articles: "Rituals of Iron in the Black Atlantic World," in Akinwumi Ogundiran and Paula Saunders, edits Materialities of Ritual in the Black Atlantic (Indiana UP, 2014). Her article “Iron sails the seas: a maritime history of African diaspora iron technology,” also appeared this month in the Canadian Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Studies/Revue canadienne des études latinoaméricaines et caraïbes in a special issue edited by Amitava Chowdhury (WSU PhD) on Knowledge transfer, product exchange, and human networks in the greater Caribbean: historical lessons and global theory.

Clif Stratton

Dr. Clif Stratton has won the AHA Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award. 

On behalf of the History Department, congratulations Clif on this achievement.  We’re glad that the rest of the country has found out what we already know regarding Dr Stratton's exceptional work in teaching and learning.

More info on the award »
AHA 2014 prize winners »


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.


Emily Anderson

Assistant Professor Emily Anderson’s book, Christianity and Imperialism in Modern Japan: Empire for God (Bloomsbury, SOAS Studies in Modern and Contemporary Japan, 2014) is being published.  It is now available for pre-order – hard copies will be available in December.  The Kindle edition will be available at the end of October. Bloomsbury Press | Amazon


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.”


Jesse Spohnholz

Associate Professor Jesse Spohnholz and Gary Waite, eds. Exile and Religious Identity, 1500-1800 (London: Pickering and Chatto, 2014) has been published.  A copy is on display in the Pullman main office.

Nicole Kindle

Nicole Kindle (WSU BA in History, 2014) reports that she is working with the Washington State Archives.  She wrote to Professor Jennifer Thigpen: “The job is with the Imaging Unit within the State Archives, which is part of the Office of the Secretary of State. My official title is a Digital Projects Technician. I work with others digitizing documents…the process includes prepping the documents, scanning them, doing a quality control check to ensure the scans were done properly and are viewable, then validating them (indexing/labeling) and then finalizing and processing the completed projects.“ Nicole credits working at Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections  (MASC) under the direction of Trevor Bond for helping her obtain this job: “Working at MASC made me familiar with digitization of historical documents, indexing and scanning equipment.”

“The job also has some basic secretarial-type duties, so a combination of my on-campus clerical assistant job from my last three years, employment at MASC, background in history and desire to pursue a career in Public History made me an ideal candidate and clearly they agree!!”


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.

Charles Weller

Dr. Charles Weller's review article on "The Great Game, 1856-1907: Russo-British Relations in Central and East Asia" was published on Reviews in History. Just for clarification, this is not a concise review, but a full-length article with extensive endnotes treating ‘19th-Century Great Game’ history and historiography.

Ashley Wright

Assistant Professor Ashley Wright has won a New Faculty Seed Grant (one of 12 funded out of 62 entries) of +$15,000 to support research for her project, “Honest Employments? Marginal Women in the British Empire, 1880-1939.”

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.

More news and headlines »
Graduate student news »

Claire Thornton’s undergraduate research paper “The GI’s of Washington State College” to be shared with 100,000 WSU Alumni!

Learn more »

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