Veta Schlimgen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of History

Dr. Schlimgen is a historian of the modern United States whose interests include U.S. citizenship and constitutionalism, the experiences of racial and ethnic Americans, U.S. expansion and empire, and the Pacific World. These interests inform the courses...

Portrait of Dr. Veta Schlimgen, Assistant Professor of History

Contact Information

Education & Curriculum Vitae

Ph.D. History, University of Oregon

M.A. Museology, University of Washington

B.A. History and French, University of Montana

Courses Taught

HIST 112: World Civilizations, 1500 to the Present

HIST 193: Sugar, a Sweet Class (First-Year Seminar)

HIST 358: African American History

HIST 363: Women in United States History

HIST 367: Civil Rights, Citizenship, and Social Justice in the U.S.

HIST 390: The Modern Pacific World

HIST 497: History Internship


Dr. Schlimgen is a historian of the modern United States whose interests include U.S. citizenship and constitutionalism, the experiences of racial and ethnic Americans, U.S. expansion and empire, and the Pacific World. These interests inform the courses she teaches, which include a survey of modern world history and a first-year seminar on sugar. Dr. Schlimgen teaches advanced courses in History, in International Studies, in Solidarity and Social Justice, and in Women and Gender Studies. Dr. Schlimgen also works in public history and supervises history student internships on campus and in partnership with regional institutions.

Dr. Schlimgen is from the greater Pacific Northwest (Montana, specifically). She has lived in almost a dozen cities, most of which are in the United States, before settling in Spokane, which is a great place to teach, do research, and engage in regional history.

Dr. Schlimgen is a professional historian because she loves stories. The beauty, the awe, and even the tragedy of past experiences gives insights into what it means to be human. They also provide us with clues about who we are and where we are headed. Dr. Schlimgen’s passion for stories translates into her teaching where, together with students, they examine historic stories that are sometimes familiar but often strange. In her classes, students collaboratively do the work of historians by assessing and interrogating sources, looking for patters and changes, and offering conclusions about the past.

The study of history allows for self-discovery while it also builds the skills that equip students for jobs across a wide range of professions (including public service, non-profit, advocacy, sales, law, management, and education among others). Dr. Schlimgen works with students to find and develop opportunities for internships and public history projects. 

Select Publications

“The Invention of ‘Noncitizen American Nationality’ and the Meanings of Colonial Subjecthood in the United States,” Pacific Historical Review (forthcoming)

“Filipino Students, Racial Formation, and the Consequences of Exclusion,” Pacific Northwest Quarterly, vol. 108, no. 1 (Winter 2016/2017)

“Citizenship” entry in Multicultural America: A Multicultural Encyclopedia edited by Carlos Cortés. Sage Reference, 2013, p. 507-513

“U.S. Overseas Territories and the Legacy of Empire,” World History Bulletin, vo. 29, no. 1 (Spring 2013)

Peggy Pascoe: Mentor,” with Torrie Hester, Bea McKenzie, and Camille Walsh, Journal of Women’s History Online (August 2011) 

I study the stories produced by the crossing of borders and boundaries in the 20th century United States. From geo-political and legal borders to social and cultural boundaries, my research is centered on the movement of people into the United States and the transitions they underwent as migrants, residents, or new citizens. At the same time, I also investigate the emigration of Americans out of the continental United States, especially those who migrated to and settled in the Pacific.

My research on Filipina/os as non-citizen ”American nationals” provides the first history of this curious colonial status. This study, Neither Citizens Nor Aliens, investigates the stories and experiences of mainland Filipina/os in the first half of the 20th century, when the Philippines was a U.S. colony. The study provides insights into how the United States built and maintained an empire and how Filipina/os grappled with the challenges of imperialism, nativism, and shifting racial ideologies. The project contributes to scholarship on citizenship and colonialism, immigration and ethnic studies, and the U.S. in the Pacific world.

My current research project similarly contributes to studies of the Pacific world as well as to racial and ethnic studies through an examination of U.S. decolonization efforts in the decades since the Second World War.