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COVID-19 Update:

Our physical office is closed, but we are still here to serve you.
You can contact faculty and staff directly: email us at, or leave a voicemail at 503-725-3917

For information and resources concerning COVID-19 protocols on campus,
consult the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences page: A New Way Forward for Students


The study of History cultivates appreciation for the diversity of human experience and fosters empathy for the stories, traditions, cultures, and world views of historical groups and individuals. It also provides the foundation for informed participation in the local and the global community, by teaching its students how to apply critical thinking skills to solving problems.

Studying the past helps us better understand not only where we’ve been, but where we may be going. Historical knowledge has the power to be both individually and collectively transformative, and there is no better place in the Pacific Northwest to gain a critical understanding of the past than the PSU History Department. Our award-winning and internationally recognized faculty offer courses that span the globe and cover chronological periods from Antiquity to the Present, with concentrations in U.S. history since 1800; modern Europe and East Asia; Latin America, Africa, Russia, and the Middle East; ancient Rome and medieval Europe, environmental history, public history, and more.


Upcoming events

Directing Plays by Mishima: Appeal, Challenges and Rewards

Join PSU's Center for Japanese Studies, with co-sponsors Department of…
Add to my Calendar 2021-03-09 18:00:00 2021-03-09 20:00:00 Directing Plays by Mishima: Appeal, Challenges and Rewards Join PSU's Center for Japanese Studies, with co-sponsors Department of World Languages and the Institute for Asian Studies, for our series, "Re-discovering the Work of Mishima Yukio, Fifty Years Out." REGISTER FOR WEBINAR Miyamoto Amon is one of Japan’s leading theater directors. He has directed numerous straight plays, musicals, and opera productions. In the last two decades he has taken many of his shows to the United States, Europe, and Canada. His debut in New York was as director of his Japanese version of the Broadway musical, Pacific Overtures, at the Lincoln Center Festival in 2004. Miyamoto is fascinated by the plays of Mishima Yukio. His award winning adaptation of Mishima’s masterpiece, Kinkakuji (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion) was performed to acclaim abroad as well in New York and in France. In 2016 Amon produced and directed Mishima’s big-cast blockbuster, The Terrace of the Leper King, set in the medieval Khmer Kingdom. Performance rights difficulties had prevented the play’s performance for almost fifty years. Miyamoto’s performance was the first staging since Mishima’s death. During the Corona lockdown in Japan last year, Miyamoto organized the huge “Sing for Hope” project which involved participants from all around the country. David Kaplan is the curator and co-founder of the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival, now in its sixteenth year. In 2007 he directed the world premiere of “The Day in Which a Man Dies,” a play written by Tennessee Williams about the death of Jackson Pollock as told by a Mishima-inspired narrator. This began Kaplan’s research into the relationship, personal and professional, between Mishima and Williams. In 2018 Kaplan curated a Tennessee Williams and Mishima season in Provincetown, pairing productions of four plays by Williams with four by Mishima. Jerry Mouawad is Artistic Co-Director and Founding Member of Imago Theatre in Portland, Oregon. In the spring and fall of 2012, he directed and choreographed the English-language premiere of the 1961 masterpiece The Black Lizard, which is Yukio Mishima’s most technically challenging modern play available in translation, incorporating many elements of kabuki acting and staging. Jerry studied the teachings of Jacques Lecoq at the Hayes-Marshall School of Theatre Arts. His awards include an Oregon Arts Commission Fellowship, Portland Theater Guild Fellowship, Best Director by the Independent Reviewers of New England, the New York Dance Film Award, and Portland Theatre awards for acting, light design, choreography, and best original play. This series has been made possible by a grant from the Toshiba International Foundation. Remote America/Los_Angeles public

History Majors in the Workplace | Recent Alumni Panel

Wondering how to take the skills you’ve learned studying History and apply…
Add to my Calendar 2021-03-10 17:00:00 2021-03-10 18:00:00 History Majors in the Workplace | Recent Alumni Panel Wondering how to take the skills you’ve learned studying History and apply them in the workplace? The rigorous research, information synthesis and management, public speaking, and writing requirements asked of history majors offer excellent preparation for careers in law, journalism, public relations, technical writing, fundraising, business and nonprofit administration, and government service—and that’s just the start! Join us for a conversation with three recent PSU History graduates to talk about their experiences on the job market, where they went to work after earning their degrees, and how to sell your skills to potential employers.  Professor John Ott, Chair of the History Department, will facilitate the conversation. Participants will also receive a list of talking points for job interviews. Come join us! Open to current and prospective History Majors, Minors and Graduate Students. Grace Clancy holds a Bachelor of Science in History, Liberal Studies, Social Science, and a Certificate in Global Studies. She graduated from PSU in 2019. While she studied at PSU, she had jobs on campus that exposed her to the field of Marketing/Communications. In her senior year, she worked with a Professor in the Department of International and Global Studies to develop an extensive annotated bibliography in sources related to infectious diseases (such as SARS, Spanish Influenza, and Yellow Fever) and how governments respond to them. Her experiences and interests led her to her current role as a Research Assistant and Policy Analyst for a grant-funded non-profit that specializes in assisting providers and operators in the field of Substance Use Disorder Treatment and recovery in rural areas. Her role allows her to explore the development of standardized outcome measurement, best practices research, and program evaluation. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, spending time with her family, exploring the Columbia River Gorge, and keeping up with all things medieval history!  Blake Brooks graduated from PSU in 2017 with a BS in History and interned at the Washington County Museum during his Senior year. He's held two jobs since graduating, the first as an Employment Specialist at United Cerebral Palsy of Oregon, and currently as a Technical Recruiter for a local IT recruiting agency, IT Motives. Blake went into recruiting because he likes getting to know people and making new connections, and enjoys using the experience and perspective of a recruiter to help those who have recently graduated find their start in the job market. Diversity and inclusion are important values to Blake, and he has worked to advocate for both within the community, and in the workplace. Outside of work, Blake is an avid reader, an aspiring author, a history enthusiast and a video game nerd! Aubrie Kent graduated from Portland State with a BA in History in 2018, with minors in Classical Studies and Medieval Studies. She wrote her senior honors thesis on the political activities of the medieval saint, Catherine of Siena. She went on to earn a Master of Philosophy in Medieval History from the University of Cambridge in 2019, where she wrote her dissertation on late-medieval Italian women’s religious practices. During her time at PSU, she worked in the Office of Academic Affairs and as a University Studies undergraduate peer mentor. Aubrie is currently the Events Coordinator for the College of Natural Sciences at Colorado State University, where she plans and organizes college-level events, such as commencement.   REGISTER FOR WEBINAR Zoom webinar (Register below) America/Los_Angeles public

Canon River Oregon creek in autumn

Fall 2020 Department of History Newsletter

Updates from Department Chair, John Ott, Pacific Historical Review Editor, Marc Rodriguez, Graduate Studies Coordinator, Brian Turner, and a report from the new Friends of History President, John Stephens. History student and alumni features, scholarship and award announcements, and news from our faculty.

Fall2019 cover

Newsletter Archives

Read past issues of the History Department Newsletter