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Department of History


The Department of History offers a variety of unique courses taught by exceptional faculty. Our bachelor’s and master’s programs will teach you to interpret the past while preparing you for your future. Both programs can be completed entirely online and/or in-person. Join us as #bengalsmakehistory!

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Congratulations to the three ISU History students who received Outstanding Student Achievement Awards this year! 

Graduate School - Masters: Elizabeth Mawlam (History MA)
College of Arts and Letters - Social Sciences: Maya Peters Greño (History Major)
College of Education: Shelby Killian (History Minor and Endorsement)

Recent Faculty Publications

Recent Student Work

History students have the opportunity to learn a variety of research skills and digital tools to connect our local stories to global history. Check out some recent projects below!

History of Idaho National Labratory

January 2023. Christa White and Alana Haack, working with their supervisor and mentor, Certified Archivist Austin Schulz, are doing important historical work in creating an archives program to capture the history of Idaho National Laboratory.

1880 and 1900 Idaho Census Data

Summer 2022. Idaho State University Special Collections and History Graduate student, Melissa Leaman, worked to restore and host the census data gathered by ISU students in 1975.

About 1975, students at Idaho State University began putting the information contained in the Idaho Territorial Census for 1880 into machine-readable format in order to conduct historical research on Idaho's historical population in an electronic format. In 1989, awards from the State Board of Education/Higher Education Research Council and the History Committee of the Idaho Centennial Commission facilitated completion of the coding of the 1880 census and began the task of coding the 1900 census. Also at this time, the project expanded to involve students not only at ISU but also at the University of Idaho, Boise State University and Albertson College (then, the College of Idaho).

The data used in this study relating to Idaho's population in 1880 and 1900 were supplied in partially-proofed form by the Idaho State University History Department (under copyright agreement with the Idaho State Board of Education).

1880 Census Intro

1900 Census Intro

Polio in Idaho

Summer 2021 Idaho History students researched newspapers and other primary source documents to write blog posts on various aspects of polio in Idaho in the 20th century. Students examined seasonal waves of poliomyelitis outbreaks in Idaho and the ways that Idahoans participated in the campaigns to raise awareness and money to fight the disease, culminating in the development and distribution of vaccines to eliminate the illness. Together, these students provide valuable insights into disease and vaccination campaigns in Idaho history. The page is available here.

Influenza in Idaho

Summer 2020 History of Idaho students built a website to explore the 1918-1920 influenza pandemic in Idaho. The page, available here, is a fascinating collection of historical primary sources that show how Idaho experienced a global pandemic. The page uses ArcGIS mapping software to link these sources to Idaho's towns.

SE Idaho Nikkei Project

Spring 2020 Global Idaho seminar students built a website to explore over a century of experiences and contributions of Japanese Americans of southeastern Idaho, centered on the towns of Pocatello and Blackfoot. The website, available here, combines primary sources, research blog posts, and additional resources to explore.

Faculty Statement on Black Lives Matter

The Department of History at Idaho State University expresses our solidarity with everyone calling for an end to racial violence in the U.S. We are horrified by the murders of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and all of those who have died as a result of systemic racial violence in our country. Their lives mattered. Black lives matter.

As historians, we know that racist violence is not new. Almost exactly a century ago, in 1919, the U.S. exploded in racial violence during the “Red Summer,” in which African Americans were the targets of white supremacist terror throughout the country, resulting in massive casualties and over one thousand deaths. The “Red Summer” is sadly only one example of the long history of racial injustice in our country.

Yet history reminds us that change is possible. We commit to working for that change, and we support the individuals and groups fighting for that change.

To our students, we want to let you know that we are here for you as you navigate this moment. We support you, and we are committed to engaging with and learning from you as we fight systemic racism and injustice.

We want to amplify President Satterlee’s condemnation of racism, and we hope that the entire ISU community will work diligently to become more inclusive. We all need to do a better job of creating a more supportive environment for our Black students, staff, and faculty.

Idaho State University's Land Acknowledgment Statement

Acknowledging Native lands is an important way to honor and respect Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories. The land on which Idaho State University’s Pocatello campus sits is within the original Fort Hall Reservation boundaries and is the traditional and ancestral home of the Shoshone and Bannock peoples. We acknowledge the Fort Hall Shoshone and Bannock peoples, their elders past and present, their future generations, and all Indigenous peoples, including those upon whose land the University is located. We offer gratitude for the land itself and the original caretakers of it.

As a public research university, it is our ongoing commitment and responsibility to teach accurate histories of the regional Indigenous people and of our institutional relationship with them. It is our commitment to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and to ISU’s citizens that we will collaborate on future educational discourse and activities in our communities.