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Dr. Overtoom publishes new article

Assistant Professor Nikolaus Overtoom celebrates for the release of “The Parthians’ Failed Vassalage of Syria: The Shortsighted Western Policy of Phraates II and the Second Reign of Demetrius II (129-125 BCE)” in Acta Antiqua Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae, 60.1-2 (2020).

“Acta Antiqua publishes original research papers, review articles and book reviews in the field of ancient studies. It covers the field of history, literature, philology and material culture of the Ancient East, the Classical Antiquity and, to a lesser part, of Byzantium and the Latin culture of Mediaeval, Renaissance and Early Modern Europe, as well as the ’Nachleben’ of Classical Antiquity,” (AKJournals).

Dr. Noriko Kawamura presents in the Malcolm Renfrew Interdisciplinary Colloquium

To Transnationalize War Memory
for Peace and Kyosei: Reconciliation
of Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima


How we remember World War II in the Pacific is clearly divided by national boundaries. The contrast between how Americans and Japanese remember Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. use of the atomic bombs over Hiroshima and Nagasaki clearly demonstrates this point. This divide is hard to erase in a world that consists of nation-states, but this talk will explore how we may be able to make conscious efforts to build bridges across national boundaries that exist in war memories by learning the other side’s experiences and understanding the common humanity beyond nation-states.

This talk was originally planned as part of the Hiroshima exhibit organized by the University of Idaho Library for the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II. The exhibit depicts the exchange of gifts between Hiroshima University and the University of Idaho to share their hopes and commitments to humanity and world peace.

Noriko Kawamura is the Arnold M. and Atsuko Craft Professor in the Department of History in Washington State University in Pullman. She earned a B.A. from Keio University in Tokyo, Japan, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in History from the University of Washington in Seattle. She first taught at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Virginia, and joined WSU’s History Department in 1992.

Kawamura’s research focuses on the history of war, peace, and diplomacy in the Pacific World. She teaches the history of U.S. foreign relations, U.S. military history, World War II in the Pacific, and the Cold War. Her publications include Emperor Hirohito and the Pacific War (University of Washington Press, 2015), Turbulence in the Pacific: Japanese–U.S. Relations during World War I (Praeger, 2000), and Building New Pathways to Peace (University of Washington Press, 2011). She is currently writing a book about Emperor Hirohito’s Cold War, under contract with the University of Washington Press.

A special collection donated to the University of Idaho by Hiroshima University in Japan is on display on the second floor of the U of I Library.  In the early 1950s, as Hiroshima University began to rebuild from the effects of the atomic bomb, the university reached out around the world to ask for book donations. U of I responded with a book and gift of $5 to purchase a tree.

In 2011, U of I received a gift from students at Hiroshima University to recognize the donation. The box included a set of manga about the bomb, copies of the correspondence from 1951-1952, and roof tiles that had been blown off of a local building during the bomb blast and had been dredged off the floor of the Hiroshima River.  See a video tour of the exhibit, “Growing from Ground Zero

The library exhibit and Prof. Kawamura’s talk are co-sponsored by the Borah Foundation and the Martin Institute at the University of Idaho. Sign up for this event at the link here.

Dr. Linda Heidenreich, new book!

Dr Linda Heidenreich’s new book, Nepantla Squared: Transgender Mestiz@ Histories in Times of Global Shift. Published by University of Nebraska Press, you can read about the book and Dr. Heidenreich by clicking here!

Also, click here to check out the Daily Evergreen interview by DE reporter, Anna Young. Dr. Heidenreich talks about the history of the book and explains their writing process and influences for Nepantla Squared. Congratulations Dr. Heidenreich!

Dr. Boag interviewed on iHeartRadio and Jefferson Public Radio!

Professor Peter Boag, historian of the American West, the Pacific Northwest, modern America, the environment, and sexuality, recently guest starred in and iHeartRadio podcast this summer. “Dressed: The History of Fashion – Re-Dressing America’s Frontier Past,” can be found in the iHeart Radio podcast database – click here to listen!

Peter also provided an interview with Jefferson Public Radio (out of Southern Oregon) about the painter William S. Parrott. It was originally live, but the digital version is now available on their website, click here to lsiten!


Dr. Nikolaus Overtoom’s new book, Reign of Arrows: The Rise of the Parthian Empire in the Hellenistic Middle East

Dr. Nikolaus Overtoom’s new book, Reign of Arrows: The Rise of the Parthian Empire in the Hellenistic Middle East is officially published in the US with Oxford University Press!

Reign of Arrows: The Rise of the Parthian Empire in the Hellenistic Middle East provides the first comprehensive study, in almost a century, dedicated entirely to early Parthian history.

Check out the book here!

Jennifer Binczewski, 2017 Ph.D., publishes article in British Catholic History

Jennifer Binczewski, 2017 Ph.D. and current history instructor for the WSU Global campus, just published the article, “Power in Vulnerability: Widows and priest holes in the early modern English Catholic community” in the journal British Catholic History, by Cambridge University Press.

Take a look at the article here! Congratulations Jennifer!

4 Center for Arts and Humanities Fellowships in HIST!

The department of history is proud to announce that we are celebrating the selection of four of our faculty members to receive Center for Arts and Humanities Fellowships! See some brief descriptions of their work below!


Andra Chastain

Chile Underground: The Santiago Metro and the Struggle for a Rational City”

  • “Chile Underground asks how and why the Santiago metro system survived political and economic upheaval from the earliest proposals for a subway in the 1920s up to the present day. This infrastructure project, which required massive state investment and foreign aid from France, remained state-owned and operated despite the implementation of radical neoliberal policies in Chile in the late 1970s. Although the Pinochet regime privatized many sectors, the metro was spared. By tracing the shifting meanings of this project from local, national, and international perspectives, Chile Underground argues that the Santiago metro became a crucial site of social and political struggle. Far from apolitical, as planners often described it, the metro became a powerful symbol that was mobilized for diverse political ends. Pinochet’s officials used it as propaganda for the military regime, while dissidents used it to push for political freedom and justice. It was a vehicle both for intensifying inequality in the city and for struggles for greater social justice. The metro became a space for building and contesting the shape that modernity would take in Chile. By studying the case of the Santiago metro, Chile Underground sheds light on how people use infrastructure for political purposes and the ways these projects have the potential to reproduce or undo inequality.”


Linda Heidenreich

“The Virgin Would Not Eat Grapes: Faith, Feminism, and the United Farm Worker’s Movement, 1965-1970”

  • “While volumes have been written on the history of the United Farm Workers, little attention has been paid to the role of women in the movement and the core ideologies that grounded their activism.  Yet from its founding in 1962, women, both secular and religious, played a critical role in its development.  This was, in part, because of the historical context of the movement.  In the 1960s through the 1970s four powerful movements came together to transform the relationship of Chicanxs to religion, the state, and each other:   the Second Vatican Council, Liberation theology, Chicana feminism, and the United Farm Worker’s movement.   Looking to the lives of the women in the movement, Heidenreich argues, allows us to see the dynamics of these multiple forces in the early years of the organization. Drawing on archived issues of El Malcriado, as well as published interviews, this project begins to map the intricate weave that was the relationship of Catholicism and feminism to the United Farm Workers during the Grape Strike of 1965-70.   “The Virgin Would Not Eat Grapes” builds directly on the work of Lara Medina, who began the critical excavation of Chicana/Latina Catholic activism in twentieth-century justice movements, as well that of Emma Pérez and Maylei Blackwell who mapped the emergence of feminism within Mexican and Chicano nationalism throughout the twentieth century.  Receiving a 2021-22 CAS Arts and Humanities fellowship will now allow Heidenreich to complete research of primary United Farm Workers’ documents for the years 1965-1970, located in a digital archive housed through the University of California Libraries.  Preliminary research indicates that the archive contains over 1,330 documents with references to Catholic sisters, 350 to nuns, and 812 referencing Catholicism.  These documents are diverse including statements by U.S bishops, interviews of Catholic sisters, amicus briefs, articles in El Malcriado (the newsletter of the UFW) and more.   The coming academic year promises to be fruitful indeed.”


Ray Sun 

“‘Fallen Cougars’:  Building a Digital Exhibit Honoring the War Dead of Washington State College from the Second World War”

  • “The mission of the Fallen Cougars project is to ensure that the approximately 200 World War II war dead from what was then Washington State College (WSC), who are currently almost entirely forgotten, will never again be strangers to the 21st-century WSU community and the larger public in the Pacific Northwest and across the nation.  With the assistance of undergraduate volunteers from my World War II history classes and graduate students conducting summer research, and in collaboration with Dr. Trevor Bond, Director of the WSU Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC), Fallen Cougars will create a permanent digital exhibit presenting the biographies of each of the WSC war dead.  The target date for opening the exhibit is Fall 2021.  Its immediate purpose is threefold: (1) To honor the legacy of these former students who served and died in the Second World War; (2) to integrate this important part of Washington State University (WSU) history into contemporary Cougar identity by connecting past, present, and future members of the WSU community to their peers from the 1940s; and (3) by providing the individual stories and photographs of each fallen serviceman, to make this history accessible and engaging for the larger public across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.  In the long term, the completed project will serve as the anchor for building a regional network of similar exhibits at neighboring institutions, and become a model for educators, historians, and communities around the country.  Given the intense ongoing popular interest in the history and culture of the Second World War – last year approximately 5 millionvisitors toured the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. — it is probable that the exhibit will generate strong and ongoing attention, showcasing the important role of WSU undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty in enriching our local and regional culture.  Fallen Cougars will thus be a highly visible example of organically generated historical research being used to serve both the university community and the public, fulfilling WSU’s land-grant mission while underscoring the role of the humanities in preserving and representing our cultural heritage.”


Jenny Thigpen

  • “My new book-length project, tentatively titled “Marriage and the Making of the American West”, will consider the role of women in the story of American expansion. The book will explore the ways in which nineteenth-century ideas about love, marriage, and gender combined with emergent concerns about race to shape the American West in ways that are still felt today. In the nineteenth century, Americans were already convinced of the importance of the family unit to national and political life. Yet marriage took on heightened meaning as Americans pushed westward. A cursory glance of marriage patterns as they emerged and evolved in the American West suggest the ways in which this was so. Though early, male settlers frequently made matches with indigenous women, such partnerships became an increasing cause of concern and scrutiny over the course of the nineteenth century. My research suggests that interracial marriages came to be widely viewed as “unnatural” and, ultimately, illegal during the era of rapid American expansion into the West. By mid-century, just ideas about romantic love were gaining cultural currency, western male settlers came increasingly to seek Euro-American wives from outside the region. Though some historians have argued that “mail order brides” addressed a gender imbalance in the region, my research will explore how it instead addressed a perceived racial problem.”