The History department's full-time faculty members offer classes in American, British, European, Latin American, Middle Eastern, African, Japanese and Chinese history. Faculty members also specialize in in political, social, cultural, diplomatic, environmental, media, gender and ethnic history.
USD actively supports a model of teacher-scholars. Faculty members in history balance their commitment to undergraduate teaching with research and produce award-winning books and articles. We bring our research interests to the classroom. Students learn to work with original sources and to think critically and creatively about a wide variety of historical issues.
Chair and Associate Professor, History
Director, Asian Studies Program
Office: KIPJ 270
Yi Sun, PhD, has been a member of the History Department at USD since fall 1997. She teaches a number of undergraduate courses on East Asian history and U.S.-East Asia Relations. Currently she also serves as the coordinator for the Asian Studies Minor program. Her research interests include Chinese women and modernization, Sino-American relations, and globalization. She has served on the executive board of several academic organizations, including the AsiaNetwork, Chinese Historians in the United States and the Association of Third World Studies, and presently is the associate editor of the Asian section for the Journal of Third World Studies.
Office: KIPJ 289
Ryan R. Abrecht, PhD, joined the department in fall 2015. A specialist in ancient Mediterranean history and culture, he teaches a range of undergraduate courses in ancient history, including The Ancient World, Greek Civilization, Roman Civilization, Late Antiquity, and Ancient History through Modern Fiction. His research focuses on social and religious history, immigration and urban life, and cross-cultural interactions in borderland regions. He is also broadly interested in premodern world history, in particular in the comparative study of ancient Roman and Chinese imperialism.
Associate Professor, History
Office: KIPJ 266
Thomas W. Barton, PhD, joined the faculty in 2007. He offers a wide sweep of undergraduate courses, including The Medieval World, The Pacific World, Europe’s Discovery and Conquest of the World, Christians, Jews, and Muslims in Spain, Renaissance Europe, and Historians’ Methods. His research concerns the social history of Europe and contacts between Europeans and non-Europeans in the medieval and early modern periods, with a current focus on the case of eastern Iberia and the western Mediterranean.
Office: KIPJ 265
Iris H. W. Engstrand, PhD, is a native Californian. Engstrand’s academic honors include USD’s distinguished University Professorship; the Davies Award for Faculty Achievement; Awards of Merit from the San Diego, Southern California, and California Historical Societies, Western History Association, and Orange Coast College; fellowships from the Fulbright Commission, American Philosophical Society and Huntington Library; and the California Design Award in Historic Preservation. She is a trustee of the San Diego Natural History Museum and the San Diego Maritime Museum, past president of the American Historical Association Pacific Coast Branch and of the Western History Association. Engstrand has lived and traveled extensively in Spain and Mexico and lectures widely in both English and Spanish. She has degrees in history, with maors and minors in the fields of California, Mexico, Latin America and the Spanish Southwest history, biology and Spanish
Engstrand has recently been awarded the prestigious medal of the Order of Isabel la Católica (Isabel the Catholic -- ruler of Spain in 1492) by Juan Carlos, King of Spain, for outstanding contributions to the history of Spain in the Americas.
Office: KIPJ 263A
Office Hours: Is on sabbatical for the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters.
Colin Fisher has been a member of the USD history department since 2002. He teaches classes in U.S. environmental history, environmental visual culture, history of food, and history and memory, among others. He also teaches the senior thesis sequence required of all history majors. His research centers on minority cultures of nature in the United States.
Graduate Program Director
Office: KIPJ 269
Michael Gonzalez, PhD, began teaching at the University of San Diego in 1995. He currently is director of the History Masters program.
Office: KIPJ 267; SLP 409B
James O. Gump, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1981. He currently serves as the Honors Program Director. In the History Department, Gump offers undergraduate courses on war and peace in the modern world, history of Africa, rise and fall of apartheid, and modern Europe. His research focus is comparative, South African, and Native American history, with special interests in ethnic conflict, state-sponsored violence, and transitional justice.
Interdisciplinary Humanities Program Director
Office: KIPJ 279
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.
Associate Professor, History
Office: KIPJ 278
Clara M. Oberle, PhD, has been a member of the History department since 2008. She offers courses on modern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Germany. Further teaching interests include World War II, women in history, and urban history. Her research focus is on Berlin, on post-catastrophe cities, and on German history, with special interests in migrations, comparative military occupations, urban planning and housing, as well as the interplay between law and memory.
Office: KIPJ 268
Dr. Kenneth P. Serbin's research spans the fields of Brazilian social, cultural, political, and religious history as well as the history of science, technology, and medicine.
Office: KIPJ 271
Kathryn C. Statler, PhD, has been a member of the faculty since 1999. She is the coordinator of the Peace and Justice Studies minor. Statler offers undergraduate courses on the Vietnam wars, U.S. foreign relations, history of France, peace and justice studies, and armed conflict and American society. Her research focus is international and multidisciplinary, with an emphasis on alliance politics and cultural diplomacy.