College of Arts and Sciences

Department of History

Recent Headlines

Brett Bell
Jon Middaugh
Raymond Sun

On April 6, several present and former History Cougs joined to constitute the better part of a panel at the annual conference of the Society for Military History in Kansas City, Missouri.  The panel’s theme was “Old Wine in a New Bottle?  How the Understanding of Past Wars Shapes the United States Army’s Entry into New Ones.”  WSU participants included:

  • Brett Bell, PhD candidate, gave a paper entitled “In the South, in the Union:  Mexican War Generation Southerners Remember the American Revolution”
  • Dr. Jon Middaugh (WSU History PhD 2010, now with the U.S. Army Center of Military History) organized the panel and gave a paper titled “Past Plans and Contemporary Realities:  The Army National Guard in Operation Iraqi Freedom”
  • Prof. Raymond Sun,  Commentator
Clif Stratton

Dr. Clif Stratton was chosen by the UCORE Award Selection Committee to receive the 2014 Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching. This marks the second year of the award’s existence and both years it has been won by History faculty – last year’s winner was Theresa Jordan.

Ken Faunce

Dr. Ken Faunce was chosen to receive the 2014 Common Reading Excellence Award. According to the citation, “This award recognizes your leadership in developing curricular connections between the themes of Roots of Contemporary Issues and this year’s Common Reading book, Being Wrong, as well as for your extensive use of the book throughout your own sections of the course this year. This recognition comes with a $300 honorarium.”

Daniel Vickoren

Daniel Vickoren successfully defended his thesis entitled “Seeing Red From the Pulpit:  Shifting Perceptions of Mormons and Pentecostals in American Society During the First Red Scare, 1919-1921” (Prof. Matt Sutton, Chair).

April Grube

April Grube successfully defended her thesis entitled “’From Honeymoon to Massacre’:  Memory and Remembrance of Marcus Whitman, 1847-1962” (Prof. Peter Boag, Chair).

Laura Arata

Laura Arata, WSU Tri-Cities, has been offered and accepted a tenure-track position in US and Public History in the History Department at Oklahoma State University. She will begin her position there this fall.

Sue Peabody

Prof. Sue Peabody shared that she is leaving for her two-week sabbatical research trip to the Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer in Aix-en-Provence. She has been hard at work, with the following projects recently or soon coming to fruition:

  • Her co-authored book with Brazilian historian Keila Grinberg, Escravidão e Liberdade nas Américas, (Rio de Janeiro, Editora da Fundação Getúlio Vargas, 2013), has just been published. If you are up on your Portuguese, (or have colleagues in Brazil to share the title), here is the website of the publisher:
  • She presented her invited paper, “Furcy and France’s Free Soil Policy in the Nineteenth Century,” at the conference “Blacks of France: New Directions in the History and Historiography of an African Diaspora, University of California, Berkeley, 20 March 2014.
  • She will present her paper, “Slavery, Citizenship, and Patriarchy: French Approaches to Citizenship for Slaves and Free People of Color after Napoleon,” at the European Social Science History Conference on 26 April in Vienna, Austria.
  • She will present her paper, ““Charles Auguste Bissette and The Police des Noirs in the Nineteenth Century” at the Association of Caribbean Historians’ annual meeting in Fort-de-France, Martinique on May 11.
  • Taylor & Francis invited her to submit a proposal to re-issue her Special Issue of Slavery & Abolition on “Free Soil in the Atlantic World” for their select hard-cover reprint series.
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.

Jackie Hedlund Tyler

Congratulations to Jacki Hedlund Tyler, selected to receive the 2014 College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Achievement Award in the Humanities at the Doctoral Level. Thesis title: "The Power of Political Chatter: Constructing Race, Gender, and Citizenship in the Development of Oregon, 1830-1860." Doctoral advisor: Professor Peter Boag.

Daniel Vickoren

Congratulations to Daniel Vickoren, selected to receive the 2014 College of Arts and Sciences Graduate Achievement Award in the Humanities at the Masters Level. Thesis title: "Seeing Red From the Pulpit: Shifting Perceptions of Mormons and Pentecostals in American Society During the First Red Scare, 1919-1921." Thesis advisor: Professor Matt Sutton.

Terisa Tess Rond

Dr. Terisa (Tess) Rond has successfully defended her dissertation, “’Altogether Useless’:  Women, Crime, and the Creation of Unfree Labor for the British Atlantic Colonies 1660-1783.”  Her doctoral advisor was Prof. Sue Peabody; Prof. Susan Armitage and Jennifer Thigpen also served on her committee.

Charles Weller, right, and Eli Perez in front of poster Western and Islamic Relations

Eli Perez, WSU freshman, left, and mentor Charles Weller with Perez' presentation poster from SURCA: "Western-Islamic Relations: Conflict, Conversion, or Co-existence?" (HIST 105, Roots of Contemporary Issues)

Dongjo Shin

Dongjo Shin has been awarded a Graduate Student Professional Development Award ($750), and will be using the grant for fieldwork in China this summer.


Dr. Mike Russell (WSU History PhD 2004) reports that he is a tenured associate professor at Kansas Wesleyan University, where he serves as Chair of the History Department and Chair of the Humanities Division. Mike’s dissertation, written under the direction of Prof. Raymond Sun, was titled “A Tale of Two Emigrations:  The Flight to Argentina by Spanish Basques and German Jews to Escape European Fascism, 1933-1955.”

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, July 2015 – June 2014.

Matt Sutton

Associate Prof. Matt Sutton is presenting a paper March 28 at the Danforth Center on Religion and Politics (Washington Univ. St. Louis) titled “God’s Spooks: Religion, the CIA, and the Myth of Church-State Separation,” which will be included in an essay collection tentatively entitled Beyond the Culture Wars: Recasting Religion and Politics in the Twentieth Century.  

Steve Fountain

Steve Fountain (Assistant Clinical Prof. WSU-Vancouver) had a variety of publications this past week:

  • a short guest commentary in the Humanities Washington Spark Magazine based on last year's Native American Symposium (p. 20-21)
  • a brief mention in the WSUV NW Crimson and Gray on the current Diversity Fellows project (p. 13)
  • and an article published: “Ranchers' Friend and Farmers' Foe: Beaver Reintroduction and Better Nature in California.” Environmental History 19, no. 2 (April 2014): 239-269.

Drs. Ken Faunce, Charles Weller, and Aaron Whelchel promoted the Roots of Contemporary Issues program at the 2nd Annual Joint Conference of the California and Northwest Affiliates of the World History Association at the University of California, Berkeley on February 28th-March 2nd. The conference, attended by K-12 and college educators from around the nation, proved to be an effective venue for highlighting the innovative aspects of the RCI program. Attendees appreciated the emphasis on critical thinking and writing skills in the course, as well as the fact that WSU requires all students to take a class in world history.

Jesse Spohnholz

On April 9, 2014, Jesse Spohnholz will be presenting a paper, “Following the Paper Trail: The Divergent Tales of Two Documents from the Reformation” for a conference on Record Keeping in the Early Modern World hosted by the British Academy in London. He will also be part of a panel discussion for the public with leading European archivists and historians titled Archives and Society: Record Keeping in Historical and Contemporary Perspective that evening.

Also, Jesse just received word of a new peer-reviewed publication: “Toleration,”in Oxford Bibliographies in Renaissance and Reformation, edited by Margaret King. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Xiuyu Wang

Professor Xiuyu Wang gave an invited presentation at Yale University on March 14 on China’s tea commerce with Tibet from the late 19th to the mid-20th centuries at the Third Himalayan Studies Conference. His paper drew upon archival and ethnographic sources collected during his sabbatical leave in Taiwan last year, and discusses political and social changes on the Sino-Tibetan frontier from ecological and economic perspectives.

Mandy Townsley

Mandy Townsley’s article “’Neither for King Nor Empire’:  Irish Remembrance of the Great War in the 1920s” has just been published in Remembrance and Solidarity Studies. Mandy is a doctoral candidate with research specializations in modern Irish history, memory studies, and the First World War.

Congratulations to the following faculty who received Professional Leave for next academic year:

Tri-Cities:  Brigit Farley
Vancouver:  Candice Goucher, Laurie Mercier
Pullman:  Peter Boag, Matt Sutton, Jennifer Thigpen

Xiuyu Wang

Xiuyu Wang has received a WSU Vancouver Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award to support his research

Candice Goucher

Candice Goucher is the recipient of a 2014-15 Trent R. Dames Fellowship in the History of Civil Engineering at the Huntington Library, in support of her sabbatical project: The Memory of Iron: African Metallurgy in the Atlantic World

Jennifer Thigpen

Professor Jennifer Thigpen’s book, Island Queens and Mission Wives: How Gender and Empire Remade Hawaìís Pacific World has just been released by the University of North Carolina Press in their “Gender and American Culture” series. A copy is on display in the Pullman main office.

Amanda Townsley

Mandy Townsley (PhD candidate in Irish history/memory studies) has had her paper, "Surreptitious Remembrance: the Great War and the Anglo-Irish War, 1919-1921 " accepted for presentation at the Violence and Conflict Workshop Graduate Conference, themed “Remembering Violence and Violent Memory,” to be held at the University of Cambridge on 30 May 2014.  A brief description of the conference follows. 

This one day graduate symposium seeks to bring together interdisciplinary scholars in the humanities and social sciences in order to reflect upon the changing relationship between memory and violence, the creation of memory in violence and vice versa, and how a variety of historical methods contribute to these ideas.  The conference seeks new perspectives, ideas, and questions on the constantly evolving arena between memory and history.  Papers are welcome from all regional locations and periods, from the medieval to the present.

Joel Tishken

Professor Joel Tishken’s latest publication, Isaiah Shembe’s Prophetic Uhlanga is in the New and Noteworthy section of the Spring issue of Washington State Magazine, pp. 55.  Professor Joel Tishken’s latest publication, Isaiah Shembe’s Prophetic Uhlanga is in the New and Noteworthy section of the Spring issue of Washington State Magazine.

Organization of American History

The Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians is scheduled for April 10-13 at the Hilton Atlanta.  The meeting program is in the History Department’s main office for your review, or download the flyer.

Rob McCoy

Professor Rob McCoy is cited in the Spring issue of  Washington State Magazine, pp. 22.  You can find it in the on-line issue here: Mountains and Rivers and Prairies Without End.

The Mexican Revolution 1910-40

Professor Yvonne Berliner’s recently published text book The Mexican Revolution 1910-40 is on display in the main office.

Marina Tolmacheva

The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women, to which Professor Marina Tolmacheva contributed two articles, has won the 2013 PROSE Award Honorable Mention for a multivolume reference work in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The PROSE Awards are given annually in recognition of the very best in professional and scholarly publishing amongst distinguished books, journals, and electronic content. Dr. Tolmacheva's articles are:

"Hajj, Women's Patronage of: Historical Practice.” in The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Women, ed. by Natana J. DeLong-Bas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, vol. 1: 409-414; and “Women's Travel, Historical” in vol. 2: 514-521.

Candice Goucher

We are delighted to report that Professor Candice Goucher’s book Congotay! Congotay! A Global History of Caribbean Food  has just been published by M.E. Sharpe. The book traces the pathways of migrants and travelers and the mixing of their cultures in the Caribbean from the Atlantic slave trade to the modern tourism economy. A copy is on display in the Pullman main office.

Jesse Spohnholz

On January 24th, Jesse Spohnholz presented a paper at the Institute of Historical Research at the University of London. His paper included materials from his current book project, tentatively titled ‘The Convent of Wesel’: Solving a 450-Year-Old-Mystery and Rethinking the History of the Reformation.

Torsten Homberger

Torsten Homberger successfully defended his dissertation on January 9, 2014. The dissertation title is "Fashioning German Fascism: Constructing the Image of Hitler’s Storm Troopers, 1924-1933". His committee members included Dr. Sun, Dr. Spohnholz, Dr. Farley, and Dr. Arthur-Bradley from the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design and Textiles. Congratulations!

Ken Faunce

Dr. Ken Faunce received the WSU 2014 Martin Luther King Distinguished Service Award in the Faculty category in an award ceremony held Wednesday, January 22nd, at the 2014 MLK Community Celebration.

This award "recognizes an individual or group from the entire Washington State University community, across the state, that has made an extraordinary contribution toward continuing the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."

Jesse Spohnholz

On Wednesday, Jan. 22, Dr. Jesse Spohnholz will speak at Cambridge University in an invited lecture as part of the Early Modern Interdisciplinary Seminar. His talk is titled “Forgetting Plurality and Re-inventing the Reformation: Archival Power and Religious Culture in Early Modern Europe”.

Dulce Kersting

Dulce Kersting (MA 2013) has accepted a position as Director of the Latah County Historical Society in Moscow, Idaho, effective at the end of January. Her WSU mentor was Professor Peter Boag.

Clif Stratton

Dr. Clif Stratton has accepted the position of Assistant Director for the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program, effective this Spring 2014 semester. Congratulations, Clif!

Ashley Wright

Assistant Professor Ashley Wright’s book has just been published by Palgrave Macmillan. Opium and Empire in Southeast Asia:  Regulating Consumption in British Burma is part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series. The book is on display now in the History Office.

Joel Tishken

Assistant Professor Joel Tishken received a Edward R. Meyer Project Award from CAS in the amount of $5000. Joel will be using the funds to travel to Durban, South Africa and conduct research for his next book project: “Discovering Unkulunkulu: The Western Quest for a Zulu High God.” The project explores the intellectual history of Western writings about Zulu religion, and in particular the determined quest to locate a Zulu high god, from the early nineteenth century through the early twentieth. While in South Africa, he'll also present a paper at the biannual Historical Association of South Africa conference.

Laurie Mercier

Professor Laurie Mercier won the 2014 Donald J. Sterling Senior Fellowship in Pacific Northwest History at the Oregon Historical Society. The fellowship includes a $2500 stipend to cover four weeks of research at OHS.

Jackie Tyler

Jacki Tyler (doctoral candidate) won the 2014 Donald J. Sterling Graduate Fellowship in Pacific Northwest History at the Oregon Historical Society. The fellowship includes a $2000 stipend to cover four weeks of research at OHS.

Sue Peabody

Sue Peabody sends this news from Vancouver: "Meghan Wolf Dunlap (WSU Vancouver BA History 2012) was just admitted to Willamette University Law School with an $8,000 scholarship. Way to go, Meghan!"

Jeff Sanders

Associate Professor Jeff Sanders received a Wallis Annenberg Research Grant at the University of Southern California in the amount of $1000 to support his research on the urban environmental history of children and youths in Los Angeles.

Steve Kale

Professor Steve Kale has an essay, “Women’s Intellectual Agency in the History of 18th and 19th-century French Salons,” published in Political Ideas of Enlightenment Women, edited by Lisa Curtis-Wendlandt, Paul Gibbard, and Karen Green (Ashgate, 2013).

Laura Woodworth-Ney

The Department of History congratulates Laura Woodworth-Ney, new provost and vice president for academic affairs at Idaho State University.  Woodworth-Ney earned a PhD in American history and public history from Washington State University in 1996.  Her faculty advisor was Orlan Svingen.

"In addition to being a scholar of history and the humanities, Dr. Woodworth-Ney has excellent credentials as an administrator," said ISU President Arthur C. Vailas. Woodworth-Ney, who has served as ISU associate vice president for academic affairs the past three years, was selected after a national search was carried out.

At Idaho State, another WSU PhD, Kevin Marsh, is Chair of the ISU History Department, and a third WSU PhD in American Studies with a History emphasis, Erika Kuhlman, is Director of the Women's Studies Program.

McCoy and Sanders

Congratulations to Professors Rob McCoy and Jeff Sanders for receiving a NEH “Landmarks of American History and Culture” grant for Summer 2014.  Rob and Jeff’s grant is titled “Atomic West, Atomic World” and will center around summer 2014 workshops for K-12 educators about the historic, cultural, environmental, and human impact of the Hanford nuclear site. The grant is a collaborative effort between Northeast Washington Educational Service District 101, Washington State University, and our department.

Photo of Lawrence Hatter Assistant History Professor Lawrence Hatter has received a New Faculty Seed Grant for $19,000 for AY 2013-2014 to complete research and make manuscript revisions on his book project "Border Wars: The Laurentine Trade and the Making of American Nationhood, 1783-1846."
More news and headlines »
Graduate student news »

In Memory of a Friend and Colleague

The Department of History is deeply saddened by the death of Dr. Scott Stratton, a much-respected and appreciated member of our faculty.

Scott Stratton

We will miss Scott’s passion for history, his love of teaching, and his down-to-earth, collegial spirit. He continued a proud tradition of teaching history at WSU, following the example of his father, Professor Emeritus David Stratton. Scott died in an accident near his home in Pullman on Tuesday, Feb. 18.

A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 8, at 1:30 p.m. in Lewis Alumni Centre, WSU Pullman. Details about a scholarship fund in Scott's name will be posted soon.

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