Department News

Faculty/Student Digital Projects

In the 2015-2016 academic year, three History Department faculty (Drs. Charles, Kang, and Hijar) and three former CSUSM M.A. students who now teach at local community colleges will participate in a new Digital Humanities curriculum development initiative sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). The initiative brings together Humanities scholars from SDSU, USD, UCSD, Palomar College, Mesa College, San Diego City College, and CSUSM. The initiative funds a series of workshops in which faculty will collaborate to develop new approaches to teaching Digital Humanities, along with a set of protocols and best practices that can be adapted and scaled for a variety of types of higher-ed institutions. This grant initiative will also help build out a recently formed, local Digital Humanities working group, SD|DH, which aims to foster Digital Humanities collaboration across San Diego. Dr. Katherine Hijar, History is a core faculty member of SD|DH. For more information about this initiative and SD|DH, visit

The Ecke Papers Project: Led by Professor Jeff Charles, the project has been to organize and digitize the Ecke papers. In 2014-2015, four graduate students received Ecke fellowships to organize the documents and artifacts, and begin to create an online archive.

CSUSM History Harvest--WWII: Led by Professor Jill Watts, this project commenced in spring of 2015 and was modeled after a concept pioneered at the University of Nebraska. The project, primarily carried out by students in History 502, collected items and artifacts from the era of World War II that are in the private collections of members of the local community. The students collected and archived nearly 100 items and created an online museum with exhibits relating to WWII. This project and Professor Watts joined the University of Nebraska and Michigan State University to submit an NEH grant focused on refining and extending the History Harvest concept.

Faculty Highlights

Professors Debbie Kang, Katherine Hijar, Michael Henderson, Jonathan Bechtol, and Andy Strathman attended the CSU course redesign summer institute where they discussed new approaches to teaching the Lower Division U.S. History survey.

Professor Zhiwei Xiao was selected to lead the CSU study abroad in China program for 2015-16. He will oversee students from all 23 CSU campuses who will be studying at Peking University in the next academic year.

Professor Carmen Nava was awarded the President's Outstanding Faculty Award for Service Leadership 2015-2016.

Dr. Katherine Hijard, Dr. Carmen Nava, Dr. Jeff Charles, and Dr. Alyssa Sepinwall
Dr. Katherine Hijar, Dr. Carmen Nava, Dr. Jeff Charles, and Dr. Alyssa Sepinwall

William Skiles recently finished his Ph.D (UCSD) on the Confessing Church in Nazi Germany.  His research focuses on German pastors and their views of the Nazi regime and its antisemitic policies, especially as expressed in sermons.  In particular, his research explores the lives and careers of German pastors of Jewish descent and their experiences in Nazi Germany and in exile.  His research explores themes such as opposition and resistance, as well as antisemitism and religious prejudice.  He has earned his Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary (2006) and his Bachelor of Arts from UCLA (1998).

William Skiles

Student and Alumni Highlights

Doris Morgan (M.A. In History, 2016) had a book review published in The Acentos Review, a quarterly literary and arts journal that promotes and publishes LatinX work. She reviewed Rosario Tijeras by Jorge Franco.  She recently completed her M.A. Project, “Crime, Kids, and a Panic on the Border."

Fawad Alizada is set graduate with a BA in History. He was accepted to the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies for an M.A in Middle Eastern history. He was also accepted into London School of Economics M.A. Program in the history of international relations. He will attending LSE and will focus his thesis on a transitional history of terrorism of Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda and ISIS.    

Fawad Alizada

Zane Cooper (M.A. 2016) has been accepted to the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania with full funding. His thesis, Raw Data: The Geopolitical History of Hard Drive Technology, 1978-2016, concerns the material and infrastructural history of digital storage, focusing specifically on the mining, processing, and acquisition of rare earth magnets. He plans to continue this work at UPenn and expand it into a dissertation. He presented his research at the History of Science Society Annual Conference in November.

Zane Cooper

Laura Padilla (B.A. History; Minor in Ethnic Studies, 2014) is completing her first year of the Chicana and Chicano Studies Graduate Program at SDSU. Her thesis will consider immigration reform discourse from the 2006 marches with regards to the family as a mode of reproducing heteronormativity which isolates and excludes non-normative individuals/families that identify as LGBT or Queer.

Laura Padilla

Sarah Wolk FitzGerald, a Ph.D. candidate and CSUSM history department alumna ('12), will be joining the team at the Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site as their new Curator. The Rancho, located in Long Beach, is a public museum housed in a Monterey-style adobe built in 1844. The museum's collections and programs reflect the Native, Spanish, Mexican, and American history of the site and region. The site also includes historic gardens, archives, and a research library. The Rancho Los Cerritos Historic Site offers tours, public programs, and other events on a regular basis 

Sarah Wolk FitzGerald

CSUSM History M.A. Student Chelsea Snover had a book review published: Snover, Chelsea. Review of Religious Liberty and the American Supreme Court: The Essential Cases and Documents, by Vincent Phillip Muñoz. Western Legal History: The Journal of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society 27, no. 2 (Summer/Fall 2014): 232-234. The working title of Chelsea’s thesis project is "All Are Welcome: The New Thought Movement in San Diego, 1900-1930."

Jason Halub (History, 2004, magna cum laude), Major, U.S. Army, has completed two years at West Point as Instructor of International History and International Division Executive Officer. He will be attending Peking University as a senior visiting student in their History Department. The Department of History recognized Jason as a Distinguished Alumni in 2009.

Tony Acevedo (BA, CSUSM, 2004; MA, SDSU, 2007) has been hired by Hudson County Community College in a tenure-track Instructor of History, Division of Social Sciences. Tony has been teaching at HCCC (in Jersey City) since Fall 2013. He just completed the NEH's "The Legacy of Ancient Italy" summer institute on Etruscan and Early Roman history in Switzerland and Italy.  It was a great opportunity for intensive study with colleagues from all over the country, from UCLA to University of Rochester and many places in between, and the participants represented a variety of related disciplines. 

Tony is currently a 2015-2016 MetroCITI fellow at Columbia University's Teachers College. The Metropolitan Colleges Institute for Teaching Improvement is a year-long series of seminars to develop pedagogical projects that advance student learning at high-diversity colleges.

Tony Acevedo