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HIST/WST 298 at WSUV visited by author Michael Helquist!

Undergraduate students in Dr. Mercier’s Women’s History course loved Michael Helquist’s book about the fiery and uncompromising radical physician Marie Equi. Students not only find Equi fascinating—a professional woman in a man’s world, an open lesbian, a committed activist for the causes affecting women and workers—but they especially connect to someone who lived in their own backyard of the Pacific Northwest. Helquist’s balanced, gracefully written, and accessible study pieces together scattered sources to tell a terrific story, one that introduces students to important themes of early 20th century, such as the Progressive era, suffrage movements, the IWW and workers’ struggles, the Red Scare, women’s social and political networks, and women’s health issues and illegal abortion. This is a book that will be useful to teachers and professors wishing to engage a wide variety and level of students.

Michael Helquist provided a detailed report of his visit to Washington State University Vancouver and his interaction with the students of HIST/WST 298. Take a look at his kind words here.

2017 Celebration of Assessment Excellence

The Department of History is honored to receive praise from the Office of Assessment of Teaching and Learning for not only the success of the general history courses being offered, but also for the success of the Roots of Contemporary Issues UCORE program. History as a whole department was recognized for its high quality learning and assessment practices while RCI was recognized for its exemplary student learning assessment system for a UCORE program in partnership with WSU Libraries.

Professor Whelchel as the Provost’s Featured Faculty

Congratulations professor Whelchel! Aaron Whelchel, a history professor currently located at WSU-Vancouver, was awarded the Provost’s Featured Faculty Member recognition this month by Chancellor Netzhammer and Renny Christopher.

Professor Whelchel will be present in Pullman for the homecoming game on October 21st where he will be recognized for his accomplishments!


Featured Faculty

Marina Tolmacheva attends summer conferences

As we settle into this new academic year we want to take a moment to look back and appreciate some achievements that were not previously recognized over the last few months as we transitioned through staff changes!

Marina Tolmacheva traveled to two international meetings this summer. In August, she attended the 25th International Congress of the History of Science and Technology in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Tolmacheva presented a paper in the symposium on the “History of Islamic Science: Global and Local,” and also gave the academic year’s Inaugural Lecture in the Geography Program at the Universidade Federal da Integração Latino-Americana (Foz do Iguaçu, Parana). In July, she attended the regional conference of the Central Eurasian Studies Society in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic. The conference was hosted by the American University of Central Asia. In addition to presenting a paper, Tolmacheva was invited to speak at two other local universities: the International Relations Faculty at Balasagyn National University and in the Department of Foreign Languages at the International University of Kyrgyzstan.

Review the conferences and their content at the links below!

Professor Sue Peabody has a new book out!

Professor Sue Peabody has published a new book: Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets, and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies.

Madeleine’s Children is rare narrative in world history of an enslaved person challenging his status in court and winning his freedom. It is the first full length biography tracing slavery in the Indian Ocean world and contains a detailed family saga of love, betrayal, hope, and struggle set against the broader context of plantation slavery, Parisian society, and colonization.

Madeleine’s Children

History Faculty

Raymond Sun with students

WSU history faculty have a number of responsibilities: teaching, research, and service to the department, the university and the profession.

Our faculty consists of Full, Associate, Assistant, and Clinical Professors, as well as Instructors and Senior Instructors. All ranks participate in the department’s research and teaching mission.

Our professors have published extensively in a wide range of fields and have earned a reputation for high-quality classroom teaching.  Our senior faculty routinely teach undergraduate courses and participate in faculty-mentored student research at the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Whether you are a freshman, a transfer student, or a senior, you will find many opportunities to interact with a wide variety of committed and talent teachers and scholars.

Guide to Graduate Fields of Study & Major Professors

Faculty MemberE-mail
Bauman, Robert (Tri-Cities)
American history and public history
Boag, Peter (Pullman)
American West, the Pacific Northwest, modern America, the environment, and sexuality
Brecher, W. Puck (Pullman)
Early and Modern Japan
Chastain, Andra (Vancouver)
Modern Latin America, transnational history, urban history, and the history of technology
Farley, Brigit (Tri-Cities)
Russian and East European history
Gordillo, Luz Maria (Vancouver)
Transnational and immigration studies, Chicana feminist theory, transnational sexualities, and global feminism
Hatter, Lawrence B. A. (Pullman)
Early America, Atlantic World, Borderlands history
Heidenreich, Linda (Pullman)
Chicana/Chicano Studies, Queer Studies, History and Culture of 19th-Century Greater Mexico
Hoch, Steven (Tri-Cities)
Modern Russian history, European agrarian history, and historical demography
Kale, Steven D. (Pullman)
19th-century Europe, modern France, and postwar Europe
Kawamura, Noriko (Pullman)
U.S. foreign relations, U.S.–East Asian relations, and modern Japanese history
McCoy, Robert (Pullman)
Public history
Mercier, Laurie (Vancouver)
United States, the American West, the Pacific Northwest, immigration and migration, and American labor
Peabody, Sue (Vancouver)
Early modern Europe, Atlantic and Indian Ocean, world slavery and race, History in Media and Popular Culture
Sanders, Jeffrey (Pullman)
Environmental, Pacific Northwest, and U.S. West history
Spohnholz, Jesse (Pullman)
Early modern European social, cultural, and religious history
Sun, Raymond (Pullman)
Social history of religion, modern German history, Holocaust and genocide studies, military history
Sutton, Matthew A. (Pullman)
20th-century United States, cultural, and religious history
Svingen, Orlan (Pullman)
Public and United States history
Thigpen, Jennifer (Pullman)
19th-century U.S. history, women and gender, colonialism, and the West
Wang, Xiuyu (Vancouver)
Modern Chinese history, ethnicity, religion and nationalism in China, modern East Asian history, and world history
Wright, Ashley (Pullman)
Modern Britain, colonial Burma, British Empire, World History

History Club

The WSU History Club is a recognized student organization open to students from any major.  History Club members participate in in a variety of social, educational, and service activities.

facebook logo   Join the Facebook HERE!

History Department Chair and French historian, Dr. Steve Kale, delivers a talk and answers questions from more than 230 students as part of a History Club-sponsored presentation following the ISIS attack on Paris in late 2015.

The History Club’s goal is to help students, of any year and major, explore their historical interests and interact with lovers of history on campus.

This year the History Club has elected an entirely new panel of student leaders and is planning a year full of on campus events, trivia, debate, and internship opportunities.

2018 – 2019 Officers and Meeting Info


President:  Hunter Orcutt


Vice President:  Colton Steele


Treasurer:  Elizabeth Biggs


Secretary: Timothy Shevchuk



Meetings are held bi-weekly on Thursdays

in Wilson Short 03 @ 4:10 – 5:00 PM

(ground floor next to the Ombudsman’s Office)





The Hanford History Project

Through the Hanford History Project, WSU leads a coalition of community partners in preserving—and enabling research on—the history of the greater Hanford community.

Hanford B Reactor under construction, 1944
Hanford B Reactor under construction, 1944

From its crucial role in the Manhattan Project through the present-day focus on environmental cleanup and lingering health effects, the history of the Tri Cities is fundamental to major historical questions regarding national security, urban planning, the American West, science and technology, the environment, and other topics.

Through contract with the US Department of Energy and donations from community partners, the Hanford History Project is developing an archive and museum from major collections of never-before-seen documents and unique artifacts. Current priorities include digitizing our collection of oral histories and connecting them to relevant researchers. Student interns are hard are work cataloging the archival collections we have received from the Department of Energy, after which we will turn towards developing finding aids and making the collections accessible to scholars.

Eventually, we hope to establish a museum and archival reading room near (or at) the planned visitor center for the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, of which Hanford represents one-third (along with Los Alamos and Oak Ridge). This will help in bringing local residents and tourists into these historical conversations.

Laurie Mercier

Laurie Mercier

Professor of History

Program Leader /

WSU Vancouver



Ph.D., University of Oregon, 1995

Academic & Professional Interests

Laurie Mercier teaches the history of the United States, the American West, the Pacific Northwest, immigration and migration, and American labor. She is former associate director of the Center for Columbia River History, a former president of the Oral History Association, and co-director of the Columbia River Basin Ethnic History Archive project.


Mercier’s recent publications include Speaking History: Oral Histories of the American Past, 1865–Present (Palgrave MacMillan, 2010), with Sue Armitage; Anaconda: Labor, Community, and Culture in Montana’s Smelter City (University of Illinois Press, 2001); “Reworking Race, Class, and Gender into Pacific Northwest History” (Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, 2001); “Instead of Fighting the Common Enemy: Mine Mill and the Steelworkers Unions in Cold War Montana” (Labor History, fall 1999); “We Are Women Irish: Gender, Class, Religious, and Ethnic Identity in Anaconda, Montana” (in Writing the Range: Race, Class, and Culture in the Women’s West, University of Oklahoma Press, 1997); “Creating a New Community in the North: Mexican Americans of the Yellowstone Valley” (in Stories from an Open Country: Essays on the Yellowstone River Valley, University of Washington Press, 1995).

Washington State University