Locally Engaged, Globally Prepared

The CSUN History Department combines teaching and research at the highest levels. Our mission is to teach students to think independently, read critically, and write persuasively in order to understand more deeply the complexities of the past and engage constructively with today’s world as informed citizens.

Our undergraduate and graduate programs provide students with a grounding in research, writing, and analytical thinking skills through coursework in the history of the United States, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and Asia. History faculty explore the past from a variety of perspectives including political and economic history, urban and social history, cultural and intellectual history, the history of women and gender, legal history, and diplomatic, military, and international history. In upper division tutorials and proseminars, faculty work with students in small seminar-style classes.

The History Department fosters student research through a variety of seminars and special programs that involve trips to archives and historic sites in the United States and internationally. Through its internship program, the Department gives students an opportunity to gain practical experience in a variety of fields while earning credit towards their degree. The History Department also maintains a dedicated Writing Center to help students improve their writing skills.

Students at CSUN study History because...

  • They want to build the skills they need to pursue careers in teaching, the law, museums and historical preservation, public relations, journalism, government, and many other fields.
  • They value the department's internship program, which has placed hundreds of students in career-building internships at museums, historical sites, and nonprofits throughout greater Los Angeles.
  • They appreciate the personal attention they get from their professors, who have won more than two dozen Distinguished Teaching and Publication Awards from the University.
  • They receive financial support in the form of special history scholarships and awards.

History Department News

Dr. Jessica Kim Receives $100,000 Grant to Help Tell History of LA Park

Jessica KimCSUN history professor Jessica Kim and her students will be conducting research and developing historical signage and educational programs at Los Angeles State Historic Park, with the goal of elevating the rich, “untold” stories of the area, including those of Black, Latinx, Asian and Indigenous communities. Read the full story at CSUN Today.

New Hire: Introducing Assistant Professor of History Marissa Jenrich

Assistant Professor Marissa JenrichThe History Department is pleased to welcome its newest faculty member, Dr. Marissa Jenrich, as Assistant Professor of History beginning Fall 2023. A proud product of the Cal State and UC systems, Dr. Jenrich received her BA (English) and MA (History) from Cal State Long Beach and her PhD (History) from UCLA where she wrote her dissertation on “White Women and Black Unfreedom in New York City, 1712-1894.” She is the co-author of “Co-opting Respectability: African American Women and Economic Redress in New York City, 1860-1910,” Journal of Urban History 43:2 (November 2015): 1-20. Dr. Jenrich has taught at UCLA, CSULB, and Scripps College, where she was Visiting Assistant Professor of History in 2022/3. At CSUN Dr. Jenrich will be teaching US History, the Civil War and Reconstruction, Slavery, Women’s History, and the History of Incarceration.

In Memoriam: Nat Zappia (1974-2023)

Nat Zappia

The History Department mourns the loss of its beloved colleague Dr. Natale "Nat" Zappia, who died of brain cancer on April 27, 2023 at the age of 48. An environmental historian by training as well as a community leader and master gardener, Nat was Professor of History and Director of CSUN's Institute of Sustainability where he encouraged students to think about new ways of producing food and to explore the codependent relationship between humans and nature. Nat had recently received a $1.3 million grant from the Swedish Government to research traditional ecological knowledge and survival practices among Indigenous communities around the globe including the California-based Chumash and Tataviam tribes. A graduate of Cornell University, the Claremont Graduate University, and UC Santa Cruz, Nat was the author of Traders and Raiders: The Indigenous World of the Colorado Basin, 1540-1859 (University of North Carolina Press, 2014) and Rez Metal: Inside the Navajo Heavy Metal Scene (University of Nebraska Press, 2020) as well as numerous articles. He will be missed.

History Alumna Curates Museum Exhibition on Jewish Delis

Neon sign with arrow pointing down and the words "Kosher Meats"More than a place to get a meal, the Jewish deli is a community forged in food. The exhibition “I’ll Have What She’s Having: The Jewish Deli" explores how Jewish immigrants, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe, imported and adapted traditions to create a uniquely American restaurant. Read the New York Times article, "The Jewish Deli: An American Tale Told in Pickles and Pastrami" (.pdf)

History Alum Romeo Guzmán Brings El Monte Murals Back to Life

El Monte community members work on a new mural in the city.On March 10, 1977, the El Monte City Council approved a moratorium on murals across the city after some business owners complained about the imagery. Decades later, public art has returned to the Valley Mall. Read the story at KCET: "A 1970s Moratorium Stunted El Monte's Mural Movement. A New Work Brings It Back to Life".