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Roots of Contemporary Issues RCI

Clif Stratton


  •  Clinical Assistant Professor of History
  • Distinguished Teaching Fellow
  • Assistant Director, Roots of Contemporary Issues Program
  • Chair, University Common Requirements (UCORE) Committee
  • Chair, WSU President’s Teaching Academy (term 2018-2020)

Contact Information:

  • Office: Wilson-Short Hall 320
  • Phone: 509-335-2230
  • Email:


  • Ph.D., History, Georgia State University, 2010
  • M.A., History, Auburn University, 2005
  • B.A., History/Political Science, Presbyterian College, 2003

History 105:

Dr. Stratton’s History 105 course centrally focuses on the ways in the history of colonialism has shaped our modern world. The course engages that colonial history by focuses on five case studies, each of which are situated under a broader issue common to humanity. Current issues/case studies addressed:

  • Globalization: Colonialism & Capitalism
  • Humans & the Environment: Historical Politics of Carbon Energy
  • Roots of Inequality: Race & Racism
  • Diverse Ways of Thinking: War & Terror
  • Roots of Contemporary Conflicts: Palestinian-Israeli Conflict

Other History Courses Taught:

  • History 235 – African American History
  • History 314 – Immigration, Migration, and Ethnic Identity
  • History 395 – United States Empire
  • History 417 – The Rise of Modern America
  • History 418 – United States History, 1914-1945
  • Honors 270 – Sports and Politics in American Society and History
  • Honors 280 – Race and Resistance in African American History

About Dr. Stratton

Clif Stratton joined the faculty at Washington State University in 2010 as a member of the World Civilizations program teaching core. In 2012, he was part of the design team for the innovative Roots of Contemporary Issues program and piloted the first sections of the course. In 2014, Stratton was hired as the Assistant Director of the program, where he serves in a variety of capacities, including program assessment and university outreach. In 2014, Stratton received two teaching awards for his work in the RCI program, the Richard G. Law Excellence Award for Undergraduate Teaching from Washington State University and the Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award from the American Historical Association. In 2017, he was named a Distinguished Teaching Fellow by the Provost’s Office at WSU.

Stratton earned his Ph.D. (2010) from Georgia State University in Atlanta under the direction of Christine Skwiot. He holds a Master’s in History from Auburn University (2005) and a B.A. from Presbyterian College (2003). His first book was published with University of California Press in January 2016. In Education for Empire: American Schools, Race, and the Paths of Good Citizenship, Stratton argues that American public schools created and placed children on multiple and uneven paths to citizenship, offering varying kinds of subordination and degrees of exclusion closely tied to race, national origin, and US imperial ambitions.

The project reveals the intersections of subjects in American history usually treated separately – in particular the formation and expansion of public schools at home and empire building both at home and abroad. Temporally framed by the 1882 Chinese Exclusion and 1924 National Origins Acts, two pivotal immigration laws deeply entangled in and telling of U.S. quests for empire, Stratton’s case studies in San Francisco, Hawaiʻi, Atlanta, New York, the Southwest, and Puerto Rico reveal that marginalized people contested, resisted, and blazed alternative paths to citizenship, in effect destabilizing the boundaries that white nationalists, including many public school officials in the United States and other self-described “white men’s countries” worked so hard to create and maintain.

Stratton is also the author of “Dazzling Fields for Conquest: The Imperial Lessons and Trajectories of Albert Phelps’s Louisiana,” published in Louisiana History (2012) and the editor of and author in a collection of articles for World History Bulletin titled “Teaching and Learning the Personal and the Present in World History” (2012). Along with four other current and former members of the RCI faculty, Stratton is under contract to develop a Roots of Contemporary Issues book series with Oxford University Press. He is also in the opening stages of a new book project tentatively titled Race and the Atlanta Braves from Summerhill to Cobb County.