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Washington State University

Recent & Forthcoming Faculty Publications

In addition to teaching, WSU History faculty share new knowledge by publishing widely on a variety of fascinating and important research topics. Recent books are highlighted below!


Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance

Robert Bauman.

Cover art for Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region.
Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance cover art, WSU Press.

Professor Robert Bauman and Archivist and Instructor Robert Franklin co-edited Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region. In their third Hanford Histories volume, they and other scholars draw draw from oral histories to focus on the experiences of non-white groups such as the Wanapum, Chinese immigrants, World War II Japanese incarcerees, and African American migrant workers from the South, whose lives were deeply impacted by activities at the Hanford Site. Linked in ways they likely could not know, each group resisted the segregation and discrimination they encountered, and in the process, challenged the region’s dominant racial norms.
Robert Franklin.

Learn more about Echoes of Exclusion and Resistance: Voices from the Hanford Region.


Japan’s Private Spheres

Dr. William [Puck] Brecher

Cover art for Japan's Private Spheres: Autonomy in Japanese History, 1600-1930.
Japan’s Private Spheres cover art, Brill Press.

Professor Puck Brecher published his new book, Japan’s Private Spheres: Autonomy in Japanese History, 1600-1930, with Brill Publications in spring 2021.

Japan’s Private Spheres traces the shifting nature of autonomy in early-modern and modern Japan. In this far-reaching, interdisciplinary study, Brecher explores the historical development of the private and its evolving relationship with public authority, a dynamic that evokes stereotypes about an alleged dearth of individual agency in Japanese society. It does so through a montage of case studies. For the early modern era, he examines peripheral living spaces, boyhood, and self-interrogation in the arts. For the modern period, he explores strategic deviance, individuality in Meiji education, modern leisure, and body-maintenance. Analysis of these disparate private realms illuminates evolving conceptualizations of the private and its reciprocal yet often-contested relationship to the state.

Learn more about Japan’s Private Spheres: Autonomy in Japanese History, 1600-1930.


Heavy Traffic

Cover art for Heavy Traffic
Heavy Traffic cover art, Oxford University Press

Career-Track Associate Professor Ken Faunce’s new book Heavy Traffic: The Global Drug Trade in Historical Perspective was published with Oxford University Press in 2020. The book focuses on the development of the drug trade through the lens of globalization and imperialism and is part of an ongoing series with Oxford University Press for the Roots of Contemporary Issues program.

Heavy Traffic helps students understand globalization not as an inevitable or natural process but, instead, as one that is created by and responds to a variety of human motivations. Examining the international trade in coffee, alcohol, opium, heroin, and cocaine—which have had a significant impact on economies and societies in countries around the world—it offers insight into globalization as a historical process, thereby helping to make sense of today’s interconnected world, where products grown or produced in only a handful of places circulate widely, with varying impacts on local populations.

Learn more about Heavy Traffic: The Global Drug Trade in Historical Perspective.


Nepantla Squared

Nepantla Squared Cover art
Nepantla Squared cover art, University of Nebraska Press

Associate Professor Linda Heidenreich published Nepantla Squared: Transgender Mestiz@ Histories in Times of Global Shift with the University of Nebraska Press in 2020.

Nepantla Squared maps the lives of two transgender mestiz@s, one during the turn of the 20th century and one during the turn of the 21st century, to chart the ways race, gender, sex, ethnicity, and capital function differently in different times. To address the erasure of transgender mestiz@ realities from history, Heidenreich employs an intersectional analysis that critiques monopoly and global capitalism. Heidenreich builds on the work of Gloria Anzaldúa’s concept of nepantleras, those who could live between and embody more than one culture, to coin the term nepantla², marking times of capitalist transition where gender was also in motion. Transgender mestiz@s, too, embodied that movement.

Learn more about Nepantla Squared: Transgender Mestiz@ Histories in Times of Global Shift.


Negotiating Abolition

Shawna Herzog

Cover art for Negotiating Abolition
Negotiating Abolition cover, Bloomsbury Academic Press

Instructor Shawna Herzog published her monograph Negotiating Abolition: The Antislavery Project in the British Straits Settlements, 1786–1843 with Bloomsbury Academic Press in 2021.

Negotiating Abolition explores how sex and gender complicated the enforcement of colonial anti-slavery policies, the challenges local officials faced in identifying slave populations, and how European reclassification of slave labor to systems of indenture or “free” labor created a new illicit trade for women and girls to the Straits Settlements of Southeast Asia. Through a history of early-19th-century slavery and abolition in this often overlooked region in British imperial history, Herzog bridges a historiographical gap between colonial and modern slave systems. She discusses the dynamic intersectionality between perceptions of race, class, gender, and civilization within the Straits and how this informed behavior and policy regarding slavery, abolition, and prostitution within the settlement.

Learn more about Negotiating Abolition: The Antislavery Project in the British Straits Settlements, 1786–1843.


Gender Rules

Cover art for Gender Rules
Gender Rules cover art, Oxford University Press

Assistant Professor Karen Phoenix published Gender Rules: Identity and Empire in Historical Perspective with Oxford University Press’s Roots of Contemporary Issues series.

Much of the world’s politics revolve around questions about gender and imperialism, including the relationship between gender and empire over the last 500 years. There are no easy answers to these questions, but the decisions that all of us make about them will have tremendous consequences for individuals and for the planet in the future. Gender Rules introduces students to history from the point of view of controversial and pressing issues they already know about and may already feel invested in. Each chapter includes both Western and non-Western content, allowing readers to understand the deep past as connected to the present, and to see that the West has interacted with non-Western regions for centuries.

Learn more about Gender Rules: Identity and Empire in Historical Perspective.


Razing Kids

Covert art for Razing Kids
Razing Kids cover art, Cambridge University Press

Jeffrey SandersAssociate Professor Jeffrey Sanders published his most recent monograph, Razing Kids: Youth, the Environment and the Postwar American West, with Cambridge University Press in 2020.

Children are the future. Or so we like to tell ourselves. In the wake of the Second World War, Americans took this notion to heart. Confronted by both unprecedented risks and unprecedented opportunities, they elevated and perhaps exaggerated the significance of children for the survival of the human race. Razing Kids analyzes the relationship between the postwar demographic explosion and the birth of postwar ecology. In the American West, especially, workers, policymakers, and reformers interwove hopes for youth, environment, and the future. They linked their anxieties over children to their fears of environmental risk as they debated the architecture of wartime playgrounds, planned housing developments, and the impact of radioactive particles released from distant hinterlands. They obsessed over how riot-riddled cities, War on Poverty-era rural work camps, and pesticide-laden agricultural valleys would affect children. Nervous about the world they were making, their hopes and fears reshaped postwar debates about what constituted the social and environmental good.

Learn more about Razing Kids: Youth, the Environment and the Postwar American West.


Heresy and Citizenship

Eugene Smelyansky

Cover art for Heresy and Citizenship
Heresy and Citizenship cover art, Routledge Press

Instructor Eugene Smelyansky published Heresy and Citizenship: Persecution of Heresy in Late Medieval German Cities with Routledge Press in fall of 2020.

Heresy and Citizenship examines the anti-heretical campaigns in late-medieval Augsburg, Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Strasbourg, and other cities. By focusing on the unprecedented period of persecution between 1390 and 1404, this study demonstrates how heretical presence in cities was exploited in ecclesiastical, political, and social conflicts between the cities and their external rivals, and between urban elites. He examines the role the exclusion of groups perceived as religiously and socially deviant played in the development of urban governments, and the rise of ideologies of good citizenship and the common good. These anti-heretical campaigns targeted Waldensians who believed in lay preaching and simplified forms of Christian worship. Groups of individuals identified as Waldensians underwent public penance, execution, or expulsion. In each case, the course and outcome of inquisitions reveal tensions between institutions within each city, most often between city councils and local bishops or archbishops. In such cases, competing sides used the persecution of heresy to assert their authority over others. As a result, persecution of urban Waldensians acquired meaning beyond mere correction of religious error.

You can click here to visit Routledge Press and find Heresy and Citizenship: Persecution of Heresy in Late Medieval German Cities and the official book description.

Intolerant Middle Ages

Cover of Intolerant Middle Ages
The Intolerant Middle Ages cover art, University Toronto Press

Smelyansky also edited The Intolerant Middle Ages: A Reader, University of Toronto Pres, in fall 2020.
In this collection of primary sources, Smelyansky highlights instances of persecution and violence, as well as those relatively rare but significant episodes of toleration that impacted a broad spectrum of people who existed at the margins of medieval society: heretics, Jews and Muslims, the poor, the displaced and disabled, women, and those deemed sexually deviant. The volume also presents a more geographically diverse Middle Ages by including sources from central and eastern Europe as well as the Mediterranean. Each document is preceded by a brief introduction and followed by questions for discussion, making The Intolerant Middle Ages an excellent entrance into the lives and struggles of medieval minorities.
Learn more about The Intolerant Middle Ages: A Reader.


Ruptured Lives

Jesse Spohnholz

Covert art for Ruptured Lives
Ruptured Lives cover art, Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press published Professor Jesse Spohnolz’s Ruptured Lives: Refugee Crises in Historical Perspective in summer 2020. The publication is part of the Roots of Contemporary Issues series.

Much of the world’s politics revolves around questions about refugees and other migrating peoples, including debating the scope and limits of humanitarianism; the relevance of national borders in a globalized world; racist rhetoric and policies; global economic inequalities; and worldwide environmental disasters. There are no easy answers to these questions, but the decisions that all of us make about them will have tremendous consequences for individuals and for the planet in the future. Ruptured Lives works from the premise that studying the history of refugee crises can help us make those decisions more responsibly. Examining conflicts—in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and Africa—that have produced migrations of people fleeing dangers or persecution, it aims to provide an intellectual framework for understanding how to think about the conflicts that produce refugees and the effects that refugee crises have on individuals and societies.

Learn more about Ruptured Lives: Refugee Crises in Historical Perspective.


Power Politics

Cover art for Power Politics
Power Politics cover art, Oxford University Press

Oxford University Press published Career-Track Associate Professor Clif Stratton’s Power Politics: Carbon Energy in Historical Perspective in summer 2020. The publication is part of the Roots of Contemporary Issues series.

Power Politics centers on the premise that in order to generate real solutions to the problem of climate change, we must first understand how our relationship to the carbon-based fuels that drive global warming has unfolded over time. Addressing the monumental problem of climate change requires an investigation into the historical exercise of power by carbon energy companies, government officials, and ordinary citizens and workers. It also requires understanding how and why fossil fuels became inextricably linked to the larger processes and systems of colonization, capitalism, industrialization, war-making, diplomacy, and others. By tracing the historical relationship between carbon energy and political ideas, institutions, motivations, and actions, Power Politics places readers in a better position to understand the entrenched nature of climate change denialism, capitalists’ self-proclaimed ability to correct the problem, and the appeal of politically radical solutions to global warming. The book is organized into five chapters that move forward in time and offer selected case studies that illustrate how the pursuit of carbon energy and politics intersect and shape each other over time. The chapters track five key periods in the political history of carbon energy: the pre-industrial, the industrial revolution, the ages of empire and mass democracy, the Cold War and decolonization, and the late- and post- Cold War.

Learn more about Power Politics: Carbon Energy in Historical Perspective.


Reason, Revelation and Law in Islamic and Western Theory and History

Charles Weller

Reason, Revelation and Law in Islamic and Western Theory and History
Reason, Revelation and Law in Islamic and Western Theory and History cover art, Springer Nature

Career-Track Associate Professor Charles Weller co-edited Reason, Revelation and Law in Islamic and Western Theory and History as part of the Palgrave Macmillan’s Islam and Global Studies Series in 2021. Weller contributed two separate chapters to the edited volume: Chapter 1, “Introduction: Reason, Revelation, and Law in Global Historical Perspective” and Chapter 2, “The Historical Relation of Islamic and Western Law.”

This book engages the diverse meanings and interpretations of Islamic and Western law which have affected people and societies across the globe, past and present, in correlation to the epistemological groundings of those meanings and interpretations. The volume takes a distinctively comparative approach, advancing dialogue on crucial transnational and global debates over the history of Western and Islamic approaches to law, politics and society and their relevance for today. It discusses how fundamental concepts are understood and even translated from one historical or political context or one semantic domain to another. The book provides focused studies of key figures and theories in a manageable, accessible format useful for specialized academic courses and research as well as general audiences.

Learn more about Reason, Revelation and Law in Islamic and Western Theory and History.