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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

Witch-hunting, Dog-men, and a World Chronicle: Researching a 500…

In September of 2018, our library acquired a codex printed in 1490 which…
Add to my Calendar 2021-01-13 17:00:00 2021-01-13 19:00:00 Witch-hunting, Dog-men, and a World Chronicle: Researching a 500-Year Old Codex at PSU In September of 2018, our library acquired a codex printed in 1490 which became the subject of a long-term research project here at Portland State University. The book contains two different texts: a world chronicle, known as the Fasciculus temporum, and a second edition copy of the Malleus Maleficarum, the most comprehensive treatise on witch hunting produced in the late Middle Ages. This panel consists of five students, graduates and undergraduates, who conducted research on different topics relating to the codex during spring term, 2020. The host of the panel, Professor John Ott, is Chair of the History Department, a specialist in medieval history who is leading this ongoing project. He will guide the conversation as these five students talk about their research topics, which ranged from translating the marginal notation found in the codex to analyzing the watermarks in an effort to localize the paper trade. We'll allow time for QnA at end of the panel so you can learn more about PSU's unique codex. REGISTER FOR WEBINAR Remote America/Los_Angeles public

Discussion of "The 13th", a Film by Ava Duvernay

Join the Department of International and Global Studies and the…
Add to my Calendar 2021-01-21 17:00:00 2021-01-21 19:00:00 Discussion of "The 13th", a Film by Ava Duvernay Join the Department of International and Global Studies and the International and Global Studies Student Association for a discussion of the award-winning film “The 13th” by Ava Duvernay. “The 13th” is a powerful and timely exploration of the 13th Amendment and its effects on American society over the last 145 years. Combining archival footage with testimony from activists and scholars, director Ava DuVernay's examination of the U.S. prison system looks at how the country's history of racial inequality drives the high rate of incarceration in America. This event is a discussion of the film led by Dr. Evguenia Davidova, professor of International and Global Studies and University Studies, and we welcome you to join us in exploring the issues it highlights. Please watch the movie in advance of the event! Watch "The 13th" for free on YouTube.  (Content warning: details can be found here) Please think about the following questions as you are watching the film: The film “The 13th” was made in 2016. What makes it even more relevant today?  What are the economic aspects of mass incarceration? How is the international/global framework interwoven into the movie? How does the “prison-industrial complex” affect the image of the U.S. as a major international player? This is a virtual event held on Zoom: Contact with any questions. Contact with any questions. America/Los_Angeles public

The Hello Girls: World War One and America's First Women…

In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps shipped 233 women to embattled France…
Add to my Calendar 2021-02-04 17:00:00 2021-02-04 19:00:00 The Hello Girls: World War One and America's First Women Soldiers In 1918, the U.S. Army Signal Corps shipped 233 women to embattled France. They were masters of the latest technology: the telephone switchboard. General John Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, demanded female "wire experts" when he discovered that inexperienced doughboys were unable to keep him connected with frontline troops. Without communications for even an hour, the army would collapse. While suffragists picketed the White House and Woodrow Wilson fought a segregationist congress to give women of all races the vote, these courageous young soldiers swore the army oath and served their nation under fire. They sailed home as heroes—until Congress decided they never existed.Elizabeth Cobbs is a prize-winning historian, novelist, and documentary filmmaker. She is the author of eight books, including The Hello Girls: America’ First Women Soldiers from Harvard University Press and the New York Times’ bestseller, The Hamilton Affair. Her most recent book is The Tubman Command, a novel on the Civil War military service of Harriet Tubman. Cobbs has won eight literary and film prizes, written for the New York Times, Washington Post, Jerusalem Times, Los Angeles Times, and Reuters, and produced two historical documentaries for public television. She previously served on the State Department’s Historical Advisory Committee and jury for the Pulitzer Prize. A Stanford Ph.D., Cobbs holds the Melbern Glasscock Chair in American History at Texas A&M. REGISTER FOR ZOOM WEBINAR Zoom webinar (Register below) America/Los_Angeles public

Mishima Yukio: Performance Artist?

Join PSU's Center for Japanese Studies, with co-sponsors Department of…
Add to my Calendar 2021-01-26 18:00:00 2021-01-26 20:00:00 Mishima Yukio: Performance Artist? 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 The brilliant Japanese writer, Mishima Yukio, has been described in many ways. He has been called a “fascist,” an “aesthetic terrorist,” and even a “zombie” (because his reputation refused to die, even after his  spectacular and controversial suicide). Even now, 50 years after his death, Mishima remains an enigmatic and fascinating figure. This talk engages with the many masks that Mishima wore throughout his life, as a novelist, playwright, thinker, actor, body builder and would-be samurai. It attempts to answer the question: Was there a “real” Mishima or was his life a series of performances? Susan Napier is the Goldthwaite Professor of Rhetoric at Tufts University. She formerly held the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Chair of Japanese Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Napier received all her degrees from Harvard University and has been a visiting professor at Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Keio University in Tokyo, and Sydney University in Australia. She is the author of five books, Escape from the Wasteland: Yukio Mishima and Kenzaburo Oe, The Fantastic in Modern Japanese Literature, Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle and From Impressionism to Anime: Japan in the Mind of the West. Her most recent book, Miyazakiworld, was published in 2018 and has been translated into eight languages. She is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards, including a Rockefeller Foundation Residency at the Bellagio Institute in Italy, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and a Guggenheim Grant. This series has been made possible by a grant from the Toshiba International Foundation. Remote America/Los_Angeles public
History Internship Event with Marisa Miller

History Department Internships with Marisa Miller

This one-hour Zoom presentation and QnA with Marisa Miller, Internship Coordinator, covers PSU History majors, minors, graduate students, and other interested undergraduates with a presentation to learn about the opportunities available through PSU's Career Center.

word cloud and student photos

History Majors in the Workplace Recent Alumni Panel

In this conversation, three recent PSU History graduates 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, facilitates the conversation.

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


Physical Address:
Cramer Hall, Suite 441
1721 SW Broadway
Portland, OR 97201

Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Mailing Address:
Department of History
Portland State University
PO Box 751
Portland, OR 97207-0751


Phone: 503-725-3917
Fax: 503-725-3953

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