History Faculty, Fall 2023
History Faculty, Fall 2023

Welcome to the History Department

When you study History, you don’t just study the past. You acquire knowledge and skills that will help you in the future. We teach you how to see patterns, make connections, do research, compare sources, analyze evidence, communicate persuasively, tell a good story, and develop a richer, more nuanced understanding of the world. Join us and find out!

DMH building exterior photo
We are located on the First Floor of Dudley Moorhead Hall in DMH134

Why Major in History? Because History Majors Get Jobs!

History majors can do anything. History is the perfect preparation for careers in business, law, media, government, consulting, libraries, museums, teaching, and so much more.

Major in History

About Us

Discover how the Department of History can give you access to a variety of fulfilling careers, and get to know us.

Meet our Faculty

Undergraduate Programs

See what the requirements are for history majors and minors, and how studying history can have a positive impact on your future career.

Graduate Programs

Discover the types of programs we offer and gain insight into what a Master's Degree could mean for your future career.

Need Advice?

Contact Dr. Glen Gendzel for Undergraduate Studies or Dr. Katharine Olson for Graduate Studies.

Courses Offered

Check out what we're offering for the Fall 2024 semester in the Fall 2024 Schedule Handout [pdf]


If you need financial assistance, there are a many scholarships available for history students who meet specific criteria.
old, archival books


Thinking about majoring in History or Social Science Teacher Preparation or both? How about a History minor? Need help choosing classes or checking on your requirements? Get help from our advisors!

Find an Advisor

Faculty Publications and Accomplishments:

Southern Black Women and Their Struggle for Freedom during the Civil War and Reconstruction

Congratulations to Dr. Katherine Chilton for being a contributing author to a recently published collection on Southern Black women's struggles during the Civil War and Reconstruction.

The Waterboys - Two Irishmen and the Politics of Water in California

The Waterboys - Two Irishmen and the Politics of Water in California

Dr. Glen Gendzel's recent interview on Irish national radio as a guest on "The History Show," talking about his recent article on Irish water engineers in California.

Click to Listen!

Abandoning Their Beloved Land

Abandoning Their Beloved Land: The Politics of Bracero Migration in Mexico

By Dr. Alberto García. A podcast hosted by Rachel Grace Newman an Assistant Professor of History at Colgate University. Dr. Newman interviews San José State's very own Dr. Alberto García about his new book Abandoning Their Beloved Land: The Politics of Bracero Migration in Mexico

Listen to the Podcast Now!

Public Faces, Secret Lives

Public Faces, Secret Lives: A Queer History of Women's Suffrage Movement

By Dr. Wendy L. Rouse. A podcast hosted by Susan Liebell a Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia.  Dr. Liebell interviews San José State's very own Dr. Wendy Rouse about her new book Public Faces, Secret Lives: A Queer History of the Women's Suffrage Movement. 

Listen to the Podcast Now!

Sex, Sexuality and Suffrage

Sex, Sexuality and Suffrage

A panel of scholars (Featuring Dr. Wendy L. Rouse) talked about how suffragists, as a group, outwardly adhered to traditional ideas of marriage and heterosexuality to demonstrate the suffrage movement’s respectability, yet many privately engaged in non-traditional relationships. The California Historical Society hosted this event and provided the video.

Watch Video Now!

Books by Mary Pickering

Auguste Comte - An Intellectual Life

The intellectual life of Auguste Comte, a radical and controversial figure who founded the discipline of Sociology, and launched Positivism, a philosophical and political movement whose influence was widespread. His life and work had been all but forgotten until Mary Pickering devoted decades to understanding this man and his contributions.

Listen to the podcast here!

Slavery, Fatherhood & Paternal Duty

Fathers vs. Slavery

Check out a podcast with Dr. Libra Hilde discussing her book, Slavery Fatherhood, and Paternal Duty in African American Communities Over the Long Nineteenth Century

Listen to the Podcast Now!

Negotiating Socialism in Rural China

Negotiating Socialism in Rural China is the first monograph in English on how China’s agricultural collectivization began. It challenges the conventional wisdom and explores how the national policy emerged from complex bureaucratic interactions among central, regional, local governments and peasants.

Bill and Mike: How Two Irishmen Slaked the Thirst of California’s Great Cities

Written by Dr. Glen Gendzel. Los Angeles and San Francisco, with nearly 20 million residents in their combined metropolitan areas, are California’s two most famous cities. Yet neither city has anything close to an adequate water supply within hundreds of miles. Tremendous feats of hydraulic engineering are necessary to store and transport water from California’s inland mountain rivers to big cities on the state’s semi-arid coast. In the early twentieth century, a pair of Irish immigrant engineers named Bill and Mike took charge of building these water systems for Los Angeles and San Francisco...

Read the Full Article!

Gail Laughlin
Gail Laughlin. Collections of the Library of Congress (https://www.loc.gov/item/mnwp000109/)

The Very Queer History of the Suffrage Movement

Written by Dr. Wendy L. Rouse. When lawyer and suffragist Gail Laughlin (1868-1952) discovered that her evening gown had no pockets in it, she refused to wear it until the pockets were sewn on. Objecting to the restrictive nature of women’s clothing was just one of the ways that suffragists sought to upend the status quo in the early twentieth century. The women’s suffrage movement allowed women to re-examine, question, and begin to systematically rebel against the many restrictions they had lived under for centuries – including oppressive gender and sexual norms. There are, of course, more serious examples, besides Laughlin’s demand for pockets, of how suffragists defied the gendered conventions of their day....

Read the Full Article!

Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography

On November 17, 2010 Mary Pickering spoke in the University Scholar Series hosted by Provost Gerry Selter at the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. Mary Pickering discussed her three-volume Pulitzer Prize nominated work entitled Auguste Comte: An Intellectual Biography. Comte was a French Philosopher and the father of sociology. Professor Pickering teaches courses at SJSU in French history, German history, European women's history, and urban history.

Watch the Video Here!