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Washington State University
History | Research

Faculty and graduate students in the Department of History conduct path-breaking research in a wide variety of fields on a diverse range of topics. Faculty members have published books with prestigious university presses, and their articles have appeared in the principal scholarly journals in the fields of American, European, Asian, and World History.

Sue Peabody in library
Sue Peabody conducts research in the historical archives on the island of Réunion.

Faculty research specialties in U.S. history include: urban environmental history; 1960s urban policy; the social and cultural history of the American West; American borderlands; U.S. foreign relations; Native American sovereignty; 20th-century U.S. religious history; women, gender and colonialism; and immigration and labor. Our European historians are conducting research on slavery in the early modern Atlantic world; 19th-century French intellectual history; war memory in the 20th century; Russian and East European social and cultural history; the British Empire; and early modern European social, cultural, and religious history. Our world historians are working on such subjects as Afro-Caribbean encounters; Japan during the Second World War; Islamic civilization; ethnicity, religion, and nationalism in modern China; and British imperialism in Southwest Asia.

The department maintains a particularly strong research focus in the history of the American West and the Pacific Northwest, religious history, world history, public history, and the history of empire. Faculty have recently published books on opium policy in Southeast Asia, food culture in the Caribbean, American evangelism in the interwar period, religious tolerance in Netherlands during the Reformation, cross-dressing and sexuality in the American West, and urban sustainability in Seattle.


Research project showcases rare WWII footage

While searching military archives for photographs and documents about the 161st Infantry regiment, graduate students Laura Briere and Jared Chastain, along with their faculty adviser, historian Orlan Svingen, stumbled upon an old film reel containing never-before-publicly viewed footage of the unit’s fierce, island-by-island march across the Pacific.

Read more about their work and the project results on the CAS Story Hub >>