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History | Instructors

Brett Bell

Instructor – History
Tri-Cities Campus – Richland, Washington
CIC 125S




Brett Bell (2015), received his PhD in History from Washington State University.  His historical interests include early American history, antebellum southern history, military history, and the history of slavery.  His research interests primarily center on the United States from 1835-1850, with a central focus on southern opposition during the Mexican War.  He teaches a variety of history courses, including classes on early American history and the Roots of Contemporary Issues.

Yvonne Berliner

Yvonne Berliner
Wilson-Short Hall 349

Yvonne received a PhD in History from the Universidad de Chile in Santiago, Chile in 2006 and an M.A. in History of the Americas there in 1999. She also holds an M.Ed. from Virginia Tech and a B.A. in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College. She has taught at the Universidad de los Andes in Chile and began teaching at WSU in the Spring of 2009. Her areas of expertise include Latin American History, World History and a special interest in Latin American Women’s History.

Roger Chan

Roger Chan
Wilson-Short Hall 318

Roger is a full-time instructor in the Roots of Contemporary Issues (RCI) program.

Roger’s teaching and research interests are centered on late Imperial China, modern China, modern Japan, and Western legal history. In addition to courses in Asian studies, Chan teaches world civilizations in the General Education Program.

Julian Dodson

Julian Dodson

Wilson-Short Hall 343

Julian earned his Ph.D in history from the University of New Mexico in 2015. He earned his MA in history from The University of North Carolina, Charlotte and he holds a BA in history from North Carolina A&T State University. He is a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the Roots of Contemporary Issues (RCI) program. Julian’s teaching and research interests include nineteenth and twentieth-century Mexican history, specifically the period of the Mexican revolution, 1910-1940.  Other interests include the history of the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S.-Mexico diplomatic relations, environmental history, transnational history, the history of the Mexican Catholic church, gender and cultural history.

Rebecca Ellis




Wilson-Short Hall 345



Dr. Ellis is a post-doctoral fellow in the Roots of Contemporary Issues program at Washington State University. She graduated in May 2016 from the University of New Mexico with a doctorate in Latin American History specializing in the histories of gender, labor, and disability in Argentina. Her dissertation, “‘Basically Intelligent:’ The Blind, Intelligence, and Gender in Argentina, 1880-1939,” is one of the first historical analyses of disability in Latin America. It examines the ways that blind leaders and sighted advocates for the blind attempted to differentiate the blind as “safe” in an era of eugenic claims about the dangers of inherited disability. She argues that the contested meanings of blindness created avenues for blind leaders to take control over institutions for the blind and redirect services for the blind around their own goals.

Dr. Ellis conducted research for her dissertation with the aid of a Fulbright International Research Fellowship, the Russell J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Dissertation Fellowship and the Latin American and Iberian Institute Dissertation Fellowship. Aspects of her dissertation research will be published in the forthcoming volume Disability and Masculinity from Oxford University Press.

Robert R. Franklin


WSU Tri-Cities
2710 Crimson Way
Richland, WA  99354






Robert earned his M.A. in History from Washington State University in 2014 and holds a B.A. in history from University of Hawaii, Hilo.  He is an adjunct instructor for Roots of Contemporary Issues and US History survey courses.  Robert’s teaching and research interests include twentieth-century U.S. history, History of Science, Historic Preservation, and U.S. government planned communities in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.  In addition, Robert is the Assistant Director of the Hanford History Project at WSU Tri-Cities.  In this role, he serves as Archivist and Loan Officer for the Department of Energy Hanford Collection, an archive and artifact collection totaling 500 linear feet of documents/photographs and 4,000 unique objects that documents the history of the Hanford Site in Central Washington.  Robert also directs the Hanford Oral History Project, which to date has collected over 130 oral histories of former Hanford workers and their families.  Oral histories and selected archival materials can be viewed at

Shawna Herzog

Shawna Herzog
Wilson-Short Hall 314

Dr. Herzog received her PhD in World History in July 2013 from Washington State University. She earned an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with an emphasis on History, Women’s Studies, and Political Science from California State University, Fresno, where she also completed a B.A. in German Language and Criminology. Dr. Herzog spent several years as a Victim’s Advocate in a county prosecutor’s office providing services to victims of domestic and sexual violence.

Dr. Herzog’s primary research and teaching fields are imperialism, gender, modern Britain/ British Empire, and slavery in the Indian Ocean World. Her work focuses on the Indian Ocean World and slave trading networks, Abolitionism, as well as modern ideas of gender and sexuality.

Michelle Mann
Wilson-Short Hall 338


Michelle Mann’s work explores the impact of French settler colonialism on European-Muslim relations in the Western Mediterranean in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her upcoming book manuscript examines the relationship between the French cultural policy of ‘assimilation’ in colonial Algeria and the escalation of Muslim contentious politics in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and demonstrates that Algerian reformists played a key role in early efforts to promote equality and multicultural understanding between Muslims and non-Muslims in France. Her next project will look at the history and culture of work among North African women, focusing both on the evolving structural conditions of their labor and the role of female work in the maintenance and production of postcolonial cultural identity. In addition to her historical research, Michelle is an experienced humanities educator with a focus on the development of innovative pedagogies that bring history together with core writing skills programs, in order to provide transformative humanities education to students of all majors and backgrounds.

Lipi Turner-Rahman

Lipi Turner-Rahman
120B Terrell Library

Dr. Turner-Rahman received her Ph.D. from Washington State University.  Her teaching and research are interdisciplinary in nature and include  the history of Islam, orthodoxy and Qur’anic interpretation, feminist Islamic exegesis, Transnational Islam and Bollywood.

Matthew Unangst


Post Doctoral Fellow
Wilson-Short 346


Matthew Unangst is a historian of modern Germany and East Africa. He completed his Ph.D. from Temple University in 2015 and is a postdoctoral teaching fellow in the Roots of Contemporary Issues Program at Washington State University. Dr. Unangst’s current manuscript project, The Geography of Empire: German Colonialism, Race, and Space in East Africa, 1884-1905, explores the ways in which German, African, and Arab ideas about East African spaces and their relationship to their inhabitants shaped ideas about race, governance, and world history. Elements of that project have been published in Colloquia Germanica. His research interests are in the intellectual history of empire and the history of geography, as well as in German and African intellectual history.

Sean Wempe
Wilson-Short Hall 342

Sean Andrew Wempe received his doctorate Emory University in Spring 2015. He is currently a Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of History at Washington State University. His current manuscript project, Revenants of a Fallen Empire: Colonial Germans, the League of Nations, and the Redefinition of Imperialism, 1919-1933, is derived from his dissertation. Framed by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, the formation of the League of Nations Mandates System, the 1925 Locarno Conference, and the Manchurian Crisis of the early 1930s, his work explores how German men and women from Germany’s former African colonies exploited transnational opportunities to recover, renovate and market their understandings of European colonial aims in order to reestablish themselves as “experts” and “fellow civilizers” in European and American discourses on citizenship, nationalism, and imperialism. Some of his work on this topic has been published in German History (Oxford University Press) and The International History Review (Taylor & Francis).

His research interests include imperialism, internationalism, Germany, European ecumenicist missions in Africa, and the history of Public Health. His future work will explore the history of German involvement in the construction and definition of the governance structures and policies of institutions related to Global Public Health in the twentieth century.

Aaron D. Whelchel

Aaron Whelchel
WSU Vancouver

Our goal as professional historians is not to collect fact and figures about past events and individuals but rather craft narratives explaining historical change based on reliable evidence. As a researcher I hope to contribute to the story of the development of modern educational systems by emphasizing methodological and organizational techniques that were diffused, adapted, and implemented across the globe. As a teacher of history my goal is to aid students to understand that the shape of the world they live in is highly contingent on numerous historical processes that were neither inevitable or permanent. By stressing the interpretive nature of history, I aim to build critical thinking skills in my students so that they may better evaluate the soundness of the messages they encounter in the wider world.

Washington State University