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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
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.

   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.

2020 – 2021 Officers and Meeting Info


Presidents:  Elizabeth Biggs & Hunter Orcutt


Vice President:  Derek Gingrich


Treasurer:  Jenna Reynolds


Secretary: Madison Levesque


RSO Advisor: Theresa Jordan




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).

Sue Peabody

Meyer Distinguished Professor of History and Liberal Arts

Affiliate Faculty, Program in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

WSU Vancouver




Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1993

Research and Teaching Interests

Sue Peabody specializes in the history of slavery, freedom and the law in the French empire, 1600-1850. She teaches early modern European society and culture, especially France and England; European colonialism 1450–1850; the Atlantic history of slavery, abolition and emancipation; and European women’s history.


Professor Peabody’s research examines the law of race and slavery in France and its Atlantic and Indian Ocean colonies and the people affected by those laws. Her most recent book, Madeleine’s Children: Family, Freedom, Secrets and Lies in France’s Indian Ocean Colonies (Oxford, 2017), is a microhistory of a mixed-race family in slavery and freedom in Réunion and Mauritius during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is the winner of three book prizes, including the Pinckney Prize of the Society for French Historical Studies for the best book in French history by an American or Canadian author. It is available in French as Les enfants de Madeleine: Famille, liberté, secrets et mensonges dans les colonies françaises de l’océan indien, translated and adapted by Pierre H. Boulle (Paris: Karthala, 2019).

Her first book, There Are No Slaves in France: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime (Oxford University Press, 1996), recovered the lost history of slaves’ freedom suits in France based on France’s Free Soil principle and legislation known as the Police des Noirs. Her subsequent works address France’s non-white residents in greater chronological and geographical scope, including: The Color of Liberty: Histories of Race in France, ed. with Tyler Stovall (Duke University Press, 2002); Slavery, Freedom and the Law in the Atlantic World, with Keila Grinberg (Bedford Books, 2007); The Free Soil Principle in the Atlantic World, with Keila Grinberg (Routledge, 2014); Le Droit des Noirs en France au temps de l’esclavage (L’Harmattan, 2014) and articles in French Historical Studies, Journal of Social History, and Annales: Histoire/Sciences Sociales, among others.

Honors and Awards

  • Meyer Professor of Liberal Arts, Washington State University (2010-2013, 2017- in perpetuity)
  • David H. Pinkney Prize (2018) awarded to Madeleine’s Children by the Society for French Historical Studies for “the most distinguished book in French history, published for the first time the preceding year by a citizen of the United States or Canada.”
  • Frances Richardson Keller-Sierra Prize (2018), awarded to Madeleine’s Children by the Western Association of Women Historians for “the best monograph in the field of history published by a WAWH member.”
  • Mary Alice and Philip Boucher Prize (2018), awarded to Madeleine’s Children by the French Colonial Historical Society for “the best book dealing with the French colonial experience from the 16th century to 1815.”
  • American Council of Learned Societies Sabbatical Fellowship (2013-2014)
  • Humanities Washington Project Grant (2010)
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship, The Library Company of Philadelphia and the Historical Society of Pennsylvania (2008)
  • American Philosophical Society Sabbatical Fellowship (2007-2008)
  • Associate Fellow, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, Yale University (1999)
  • Research Associate, African American Religion: A Documentary History Project, Amherst, MA (2001)
  • American Historical Association’s Bernadotte E. Schmitt Grant Award (1990)

Xiuyu Wang

Xiuyu Wang

Associate Professor of History

WSU Vancouver




Ph. D., Carnegie Mellon University, 2006

Research and Teaching Interests

Wang teaches modern Chinese history, ethnicity, religion and nationalism in China, modern East Asian history, and world history.


Wang’s book, China’s Last Imperial Frontier: Statecraft and Locality in Late Qing Kham Tibet (Lexington Books, 2011), draws on archival and ethnographic research to analyze the interactions between local authorities in Eastern Tibet and Qing imperial officials during the region’s incorporation in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Recent articles and reviews:

Wan Qing Kangqu Ganzi difang shili yu gaitu guiliu [Local Power and State Administrative Regularization at Gartze in Late Qing Kham], Sinologie française 12 (December 2007)

Lu Chuanlin’s “Great Game” in Nyarong: Moving Frontiers and Power Projection in Qing Eastern Tibet, 1965-1897, The International History Review XXXI.3 (September 2009)

Qingmo Chuan Kang zhanshi: Chuanxi Zangqu gaitu guiliu de qianzou [The Late Qing Kham War as a Prelude to Administrative Regularization in Western Sichuan’s Tibetan Borderlands], Journal of Ethnology 2.2 (March 2011)

“Tibet and Modern China.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Asian History. Oxford University Press, 2020.

Book review.   Grant Hayter-Menzies, Imperial Masquerade: the Legend of Princess Der Ling. Hong Kong University Press, 2008.  Journal of Historical Biography 4 (Autumn 2008): 123-128.

Book review.   Sigrid Schmalzer, The People’s Peking Man: Popular Science and Human Identity in Twentieth-century China.  The University of Chicago Press, 2008.  Journal of World History 21.2. (June 2010)

Book review.   Jodi L. Weinstein. Empire and Identity in Guizhou: Local Resistance to Qing Expansion. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2014.  American Historical Review 119.3 (June 2014):869

Book review.   Matthew Mosca. From Frontier Policy to Foreign Policy: The Question of India and the Transformation of Geopolitics in Qing China. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2013.  Journal of Asian Studies 73.2 (May 2014): 532-534