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Department of


Molly McClain

Interdisciplinary Humanities Program Director

Molly McClain, PhD, serves as director of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Program. Her work in seventeenth-century British history includes a biography of the duke and duchess of Beaufort as well as articles on Queen Mary II. She also publishes work on local history. A ninth-generation San Diegan, she co-edits The Journal of San Diego History.


Ph.D., Yale University, History
B.A., University of Chicago, History


Scholarly and Creative Work

McClain's scholarly work includes "Love, Friendship, and Power: Queen Mary II's Letters to Frances Apsley," The Journal of British Studies 47, no. 3 (2008); "A Letter from Carolina: French Huguenots in the New World," William and Mary Quarterly 3rd ser., 64 (2007); Beaufort: The Duke and his Duchess, 1657-1715 (2001); “The Duke of Beaufort's Tory Progress through Wales, 1684,” The Welsh History Review 18, no. 4 (1997); and “The Wentwood Forest Riot: Property Rights and Political Culture in Restoration England,” in Political Culture and Cultural Politics in Early Modern England, eds. Susan Amussen and Mark A. Kishlansky (1995).  

McClain co-authored the popular Schaum's Guide to Writing Great Essays (1998). She also writes many articles on San Diego history. Her next project is a biography of Ellen Browning Scripps (1836-1932), the journalist, suffragette, investor, and philanthropist who became one of the richest women in California.

Teaching Interests

McClain teaches classes in British and European history with an emphasis on art, architecture, and culture. She has participated in team-taught, interdisciplinary seminars such as “The City and Utopia.” She also uses role-playing games, part of the “Reacting to the Past” series, in the classroom. In “Birth of Two Nations: France and India,” students become French revolutionaries inspired by Jean-Jacques Rousseau and adopt the roles of Hindus and Muslims seeking to wrest political control away from the British Empire. McClain is a former recipient of USD's Davies Award for Faculty Achievement.