Skip to main content Skip to navigation
College of Arts and Sciences History

History student journeys from poverty to WSU student regent

Jordan FrostJordan Frost was a sophomore at Kent-Meridian High School when a teacher, Andrea McCormick, handed him a packet of materials to run for student body president. She already had filled them out. “You just need to sign your name,” she said.

Later, she gave him a Washington State University hoodie, “which was really the first time I thought about WSU.”

» More …

Historic find is subject of new documentary

Orlan Svingen during filmingRecent discoveries by a WSU history professor and his students may hold the key to an ongoing American West conflict.

After nearly 10 years of research, Professor Orlan Svingen, along with students and colleagues in the WSU public history field schools, unearthed an official U.S. government document from 1870 and several supporting records that shed new light on conflicting claims about historical use and ownership of large swaths of southwestern Montana and northwestern Wyoming. » More …

Arts & humanities faculty awarded 2018 fellowships

green background with WSU shieldSeven College of Arts and Sciences faculty received WSU Arts and Humanities Fellowship awards through a program funded by the Office of Research.

“These grants showcase the range and innovation of creative and humanistic work at WSU,” said Todd Butler, chair of the fellowship review committee. “These faculty are taking on challenging questions and demonstrating the vital contributions the arts and humanities » More …

Historical detective story traces Indian Ocean slave saga

Illustration from book coverA detailed family saga set against the broader context of South Asian slavery, plantation life, Parisian society and French colonization, “Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies” by history professor Sue Peabody traces the multigenerational biography of a slave family and their legal battles for freedom.

Peabody is one of the world’s leading authorities on slavery in the French Empire. The research took her to » More …

History professors launch community conversations

WSU Vancouver history professor Sue Peabody and adjunct professor Donna Sinclair were looking at the demographic records of Clark County, Washington, and noticed some surprising facts. The local population has more than doubled in the past three decades, from 221,654 to nearly 500,000 in 2017. And while more than half (54 percent) of the current residents were born in another state, another 10 percent of the county’s residents were born in another country altogether.

The data started them thinking: “How did all these people come to Clark County?” and “How is Clark County changing in response to this growth?” » More …

Bridging world history: African metalworking, Caribbean foods, and more

faculty portrait photograph, outsideAlthough she spent much of her career in administrative positions, history professor Candice Goucher has always thought of herself as a scholar first and foremost.

Her research combines the theories and methods of history, archaeology, ethnography, art history, ecology and chemistry. She is well known for her books and articles on African foodways, metallurgy, and popular and political culture, as well as global themes in world history. Candace is currently collaborating on “Striking Iron: The Arts of the African Blacksmith,” an exhibition set to open in June 2018 at the Fowler Museum in Los Angeles, and working on a related book and yet another volume about African ironworking. She’s also an award-winning food history author: her book on how European, African and Asian foods, » More …

Wine industry history project earns Boeing graduate fellowship

vineyardFour years ago, on his way home to Walla Walla from school in Arizona, Taylor Hermsen was thumbing through an in-flight magazine when he was struck by an idea for his doctoral research.

“The magazine was all about wine,” Hermsen said. “Being a native of the Inland Northwest, I thought I knew a lot about my home, but the fact that many people visiting eastern Washington are doing so because of the wine industry had never really occurred to me before. I started wondering how it all got going, and the project kind of snowballed from there.” » More …

History project showcases rare footage of Washington’s 161st Infantry Regiment

WWII archive photo of 161st Infantry soldiers relaxingSometimes you just get lucky. Graduate students Laura Briere and Jared Chastain, along with their faculty adviser, historian Orlan Svingen, were in College Park, Maryland, last spring looking for information about the storied 161st Infantry Regiment when they stepped off the elevator on the wrong floor.

It turned out to be a fortunate mistake. » More …

China Town Hall to focus on state, local impact

China Town Hall“The annual CHINA Town Hall aims to help people nationwide understand the challenges and opportunities of what has been characterized as the most important bilateral relationship of the twenty-first century,” said Lydia Gerber, clinical associate professor of history and director of the WSU Asia Program, the local event sponsor.

As the top U.S. state exporter to China, Washington has an enormous stake in U.S.-China relations. From wheat to apples and Microsoft to Boeing, businesses and industries statewide are directly affected by America’s political and economic strategy regarding China. » More …