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Department of History

Department Highlights

2015 Spring Classes

Professor Margaret Tillman has published "Engendering Children of the Resistance: Models of Gender and Scouting in China, 191901937," in Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review

Professor Kathryn Brownell
did an op-ed on MSNBC.  Please see the attached link for the op-ed.

Professor Caroline Janney has won the Charles S. Sydnor Award for the best book in southern history for 2013.  The award was presented by the Southern Historical Association.

Professor Kathryn Brownell
has published Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life (University of North Carolina Press).

Professor Yvonne Pitts
has been awarded the Cromwell Book Prize by the American Society for Legal History.

Professor Michael Smith
has published Rockets & Revolution: A Cultural History of Early Space Flight with the University of Nebraska Press.

Katie Martin
, a History major, and Professor Nancy Gabin are profiled in JPUR: Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research.  The journal published Katie's article "'We Can Take It!' Race and the Civilian Conservation Corps in Indiana, 1934-1941." Katie wrote this paper with Professor Gabin's supervision and it served as her Honors thesis.

Professor Melinda Zook
 has published "A Latitudinarian Queen: Mary II and her Churchmen," in Religion and Women in Britain, c. 1660 - 1760, edited by Sarah Apetrei and Hannah Smith (Ashgate).

Professor Melinda Zook
has been awarded the prize for the Best Book on women and gender for 2013 by the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women for her book Protestantism, Politics, and Women in Britain, 1660-1714.

Professor Kathryn Brownell 
has been appointed as a Purdue Institute for Civic Communication Faculty Fellow.  Please see the link.

Professor Sharra Vostral has received a courtesy faculty appointment in the School of Engineering Education.

Professor Sally Hastings has published ”Women’s professional expertise and women’s suffrage in Japan, 1868-1952,” in Gender, Nation and State in Modern Japan, ed. By Andrea Germer, Vera Mackie, and Ulrike Wöhr (London and New York:  Routledge, 2014).

Professor Silvia Mitchell has published “Growing Up Carlos II: Political Childhood in the Court of the Spanish Habsburgs” in The Formation of the Child in Early Modern Spain, Grace E. Coolidge, ed. (Ashgate, 2014). 

Professor Kathryn Brownell's op-ed on Nixon's legacy 40 years after his resignation in Reuters.



Doug Hurt

R. Douglas Hurt
Department Head

Welcome to the Department of History at Purdue University. The department is dedicated to excellence in undergraduate and graduate teaching as well as historical research. The department’s thirty-three faculty members take pride in fostering close working relationships with students. The academic year began with 61 graduate students, approximately 200 undergraduate majors, and 155 undergraduate minors who help make the Department of History a vibrant intellectual community. The department has earned campus-wide recognition for excellent teaching. Departmental faculty consistently win major research awards and grants, hold offices in professional organizations, and serve on editorial boards at home and abroad as well as publish articles in major journals and author critically acclaimed books. 

The department offers faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students exchange opportunities with Peking University in Beijing, Central European University in Budapest, and Sabanci University in Istanbul. The Honors Program provides many opportunities for students to exel in their undergraduate careers. Please see our website for more information about our undergraduate and graduate programs. You will find that departmental events throughout the year include: lectures, colloquia, forums, receptions, and banquets. We are grateful to the alumni and friends of the department who take part in our functions as guests and as presenters. The public is extended an open invitation to attend our programs. Keep up to date with our functions by viewing the Calendar. Please feel free to contact the department with any questions at

We have an exciting year ahead during which time the department will build on its achievements from previous years as well as plan for the future. Visit our website often!

See all 2012-2013 Department Highlights

Meet our new faculty 

Wendy Kline

Wendy Kline, Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine


Wendy Kline joins Purdue as the Dema G. Seelye Chair in the History of Medicine in the Department of History.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis, in 1998. She is the author of several articles and two books: Bodies of Knowledge: Sexuality, Reproduction, and Women’s Health in the Second Wave (University of Chicago Press, 2010) and Building a Better Race: Gender, Sexuality, and Eugenics from the Turn of the Century to the Baby Boom (University of California Press, 2001).

Her current book project, under contract with Oxford University Press, is entitled Coming Home: Medicine, Midwives, and the Transformation of Birth in Late-Twentieth-Century America.  Based on interviews and archival records of midwives, doctors, and health organizations, this book will be the first in-depth, historical analysis of the home birth movement in the U.S.  Two articles on this topic are forthcoming: “Communicating a New Consciousness: Countercultural Print and the Home Birth Movement in the 1970s,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine. And “The Little Manual That Started a Revolution: How Hippie Midwifery Became Mainstream,” in David Kaiser and Patrick McCray, eds., Groovy Science: The Countercultural Embrace of Science and Technology over the Long 1970s.

Prior to coming to Purdue, Kline was a professor of history at the University of Cincinnati, where she taught courses on U.S. women’s history, the history of sexuality, and women’s health.  She is also a professional violinist, having most recently played with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra.  She looks forward to playing with the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra this fall.

Kim Gallon

Kim Gallon, Assistant Professor in History


Dr. Kim Gallon joins Purdue University as an assistant professor of history from Muhlenberg College.  She is also the founder and director of the Black Press Research Collective ( and an ongoing visiting scholar at the Center for Africana Studies at Johns Hopkins University.  Her research focuses on discourses and representations of gender and sexuality in the early twentieth century Black Press.  She is completing a manuscript titled, “We Are Becoming a Tabloid Race: The Politics of Gender and Sexuality in the Black Press, 1925-1945.”   Her future research focuses on cultural Pan-Africanism in African American and Ghanaian newspapers in the twentieth century.  She is also a Digital Humanist and was recently awarded a NEH Digital Humanities Level 1 Start-Up grant for her work on digitizing scholarship on the Black Press.  Her work has been published in History Compass, Journalism History, Transformations, Pennsylvania History and Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. Her writing on Black popular culture and romance is featured on the “Popular Romance Project” web site (

Dr. Gallon received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Pennsylvania, with major fields in African American and American History and Women, Gender and Sexuality.   She holds graduate certificates in African Studies, Africana Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies.  She also earned a M.S. in Library and information Science from Drexel University and a BA in English from Rutgers-Camden University. 

Margaret Tillman

Margaret Mih Tillman, Assistant Professor in History


Dr. Margaret Mih Tillman joins Purdue University as an assistant professor of history from the University of Mississippi where she was a visiting Assistant Professor. Her dissertation, “Precocious Politics: Preschools and Child Protection in China, 1903-53,” examines the influx of scientific and sentimental ideas that drew childrearing from the private to the public domain.  She has published several articles and has presented her work at the Association for Asian Studies and the World History Association. Once she has finished revising her dissertation as a book manuscript, her next project, tentatively entitled “Tested: China’s Modern Examination Bureau,” will analyze the vicissitudes of college-entrance testing in twentieth century China.  A graduate seminar that she has designed on museum collections to offer comparative perspective on the professionalization of antiquarianism will appeal to graduate students regardless of geographic specialization. 

Dr. Tillman received her PhD in History from the University of California, Berkeley.

Sharra Vostral

Sharra Vostral, Associate Professor in History

Dr. Sharra Vostral is an Associate Professor of History in the College of Liberal Arts, and affiliated with Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies, American Studies, and the College of Engineering Education.  Her research centers upon the history of technology, specifically gender, and histories of medical devices and health. Her book, Under Wraps: A History of Menstrual Hygiene Technology examines the social and technological history of sanitary napkins and tampons, and the effects of technology upon women’s experiences of menstruation. Her current research explores the 1980 health crisis of Toxic Shock Syndrome and its relationship to tampon technologies.

Dr. Vostral received her Ph.D. in History at Washington University in St. Louis. She completed her M.A. in American Studies at St. Louis University, and earned honors in Comparative Religion at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. Before coming to Purdue, she was an Associate Professor in Gender & Women’s Studies and History at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.