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Meet Professor Katy Barber
Meet Professor Katy Barber
Professor Katy Barber received her Ph.D. in American Studies from Washington State University in 1999. She joined the Center for Columbia River History as a fellow in January 1999, and the faculty of the History department at PSU in 2001. Her fields of expertise are the Pacific Northwest, the Columbia River and Public History. Her research focuses on Indian fishing rights, World War II conscientious objectors, and 20th Century Oregon.

Professor Barber's book, Death of Celilo Falls, will be released in October 2005. It examines the impact The Dalles Dam (erected on the Columbia River in 1957) had on the communities of Celilo Village and The Dalles, particularly the loss of sustainable Indian fishing and the gain of both modern hydroelectric power and increased river navigation.

The Oregon Historical Quarterly (Winter 2002) published her article, "'I Didn't Do Anything Anyone Else Couldn't Have Done': A View of Oregon History through the Ordinary Life of Barbara Mackenzie," co-written with Janice Dilg. Barber and Dilg examined Mackenzie's somewhat average life as a case study for how twentieth-century middleclass women began to move beyond family and home to broaden the ways in which they defined their lives.

A current area of interest for Professor Barber is an oral history project on World War II conscientious objectors (COs). Through a partnership with the Siuslaw National Forest Service, Professor Barber and two students collaborated to interview 65 people regarding their experiences as World War II COs. This project resulted in a report for the Forest Service entitled, "Camp 56: An Oral History Project," and embodied all that she finds important about research and teaching. It was a community-based, public history research project that allowed students to participate fully in a collaborative process that resulted in both an academic and community outcome. Professor Barber maintains, "It is powerful for students to reach a larger audience." You can read an article about the World War II COs published in the winter issue of PSU Magazine at

Professor Barber has several projects in the works including expanding the World War II COs project into a book. Summer term she directs Columbia River history workshops for community college teachers funded through the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Professor Barber finds it rewarding to teach at a university that understands and values public history. Moreover, it is a hallmark of PSU that many students are prepared and eager to engage in collaborative projects with other students, faculty and community groups.

Name: Katy Barber
Title: Assistant Professor of History
office: 441-D CH
phone: (503) 725-3979
other links: