Connie Y. Chiang

Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies

Teaching this semester

HIST 2160 / ENVS 2432. History of the American West

Connie Chiang
Survey of what came to be called the Western United States from the nineteenth century to the present. Topics include Euro-American relations with Native Americans; the expansion and growth of the federal government into the West; the exploitation of natural resources; the creation of borders and national identities; race, class, and gender relations; the influence of immigration and emigration; violence and criminality; cities and suburbs; and the enduring persistence of Western myths in American culture. Students write several papers and engage in weekly discussion based upon primary and secondary documents, art, literature, and film.This course is part of the following field(s) of study: United States.

HIST 3160. The United States Home Front in World War II

Connie Chiang
Examines social and cultural changes on the United States home front during World War II. While some Americans remember World War II as the good war, an examination of this period reveals a more complicated history. By analyzing a variety of historical sources -- scholarly writings, government documents and propaganda, films, memoirs, fiction, and advertising -- investigates how the war shaped and reshaped sexuality, family dynamics, and gender roles; race and ethnic relations; labor conflicts; social reform, civil rights, and citizenship; and popular culture. Also considers the war’s impact on the immediate postwar years and how Americans have remembered the war. Students write a major paper based on primary source research. This course is part of the following field(s) of study: United States.

Connie Chiang studies modern United States history, with specialties in environmental history, the history of the American West, social history, and Asian American history. She is particularly interested in how shifting human interactions with and attitudes toward the natural world have transformed American society. She is the author of Shaping the Shoreline: Fisheries and Tourism on the Monterey Coast and has published articles in many journals, including the Journal of American History and Environmental History.

Her current book project, Nature Behind Barbed Wire: An Environmental History of the Japanese American Incarceration, explores how the environment shaped the confinement of over 110,000 people of Japanese descent during World War II.


  • Ph.D., History, University of Washington, 2002
  • M.A., History, University of Washington, 1997
  • B.A., History & Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara, 1996

Major Publications


Shaping the Shoreline: Fisheries and Tourism on the Monterey Coast. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2008.

Peer Reviewed Essays and Journal Articles

"Winning the War at Manzanar: Environmental Patriotism and the Japanese American Incarceration." In Rendering Nature: Animals, Bodies, Places, Politics, edited by Marguerite S. Shaffer and Phoebe S.K. Young, 237-262. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

"Race and Ethnicity in Environmental History." In Oxford Handbook of Environmental History, edited by Andrew C. Isenberg, 573-599. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

"National Unity and National Discord: The Western Homefront during World War II." With Charles Dorn, Associate Professor of Education, Bowdoin College. Theme Issue on Teaching the American West, Journal of the West 49, no. 3 (Summer 2010): 41-60.

"Imprisoned Nature: Toward an Environmental History of the World War II Japanese American Incarceration." Environmental History 15, no 2 (April 2010): 236-67.

"The Nose Knows: The Sense of Smell in American History," in "Roundtable: The Senses in American History." Journal of American History 95, no. 2 (September 2008): 405-16.

"Novel Tourism: Nature, Industry, and Literature on Monterey's Cannery Row." Western Historical Quarterly 25, no. 3 (Autumn 2004): 309-29.

Shaping the Shoreline: Fisheries and Tourism on the Monterey CoastWestern Historical Quarterly Cover Pacific Historical Review Cover

"Monterey-by-the-Smell: Odors and Social Conflict on the California Coastline." Pacific Historical Review 73, no. 2 (May 2004): 183-214.

"Connie Y. Chiang on 'Mother Nature's Drive-Thru.'" Environmental History 8, no. 4 (October 2003): 670-74.

17 mile drive at pebble beach advert

Research Interests

Research interests include:

  • American environmental history
  • History of the American West
  • Social history
  • Asian American history