Oregon History 101



Oregon History 101 is a nine-month public history program series designed to give Oregonians a basic understanding of the state’s significant people, places, and events. Each month, historians will present a chapter of Oregon History, beginning with the earliest peoples and ending with the turn of the twenty-first century. The series will emphasize Oregon’s connection to historical themes in American History, including Native history, early exploration, western expansion, race, gender, and social justice, and the post-industrial economy.

Series Editors Dr. Carl Abbott and Dr. William Lang have designed the series and invited many of the state’s most distinguished senior scholars to speak. Each presentation will feature images from the Oregon Historical Society archives and will be filmed and made available on the World Wide Web. All events will take place at McMenamins Kennedy School (Portland) and will be free and open to the public, all ages. 




 Series Schedule and Speakers

lewis poster

September 8, 2014

Native Life and Pre-Contact
Dr. David G. Lewis, Tribal Historian and Manager of the Cultural Exhibits and Archives Program, Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde


sea and land

October 6, 2014, 7pm (doors at 6)
Kennedy School, Portland

Exploration and Fur Trade
Dr. William Lang, Emeritus Professor of History, Portland State University
Gregory Shine, Chief Ranger and Historian, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site

During a century of sometimes intense maritime and terrestrial exploration, EuroAmericans sailed and trekked to Oregon Country and made charts and maps that informed the world about the Northwest Coast of North America and the interior Pacific Northwest. Their experiences, the effect they had on Native people, and the interest they stimulated about the region set agendas for subsequent events that affect Oregonians to the present day.

 Using knowledge gained from explorers, British and American fur companies envisioned control of the rich natural resources of the Oregon Country—especially its fur-bearing animals, timber, and salmon—as the path to profit and power in what soon became a jointly-occupied territory.

In the process of extracting key resources, these fur traders transformed area networks of commerce, transportation, and communication; established new communities; linked the Oregon Country to the global marketplace; and helped lay the groundwork for key political boundaries, cities, and transportation corridors known in Oregon today. 

William L. Lang is Emeritus Professor of History at Portland State University, the founding director of the Center for Columbia River History, and founding editor of The Oregon Encyclopedia. He is the author and editor of many books and articles on the Columbia River and the Pacific Northwest. Gregory P. Shine is the Chief Ranger and Historian at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and the Northwest Cultural Resources Institute. The author of numerous articles, studies, and digital publications, he serves on the editorial board of the Oregon Encyclopedia and is an adjunct faculty member in the History Department at Portland State University.


November 3, 2014

Missionaries, the Oregon Trail, and State-Making
Dr. David Johnson, Professor of History, Portland State University

December 1, 2014

Immigration and Ethnicity
Dr. Jacqueline Peterson-Loomis, Emeritus Professor of History, Washington State University

January 5, 2015

Cities and Towns
Dr. Carl Abbott, Emeritus Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University

February 2, 2015

Progressive Era and Women
Dr. Kimberly Jensen, Professor of History, Western Oregon University

March 2, 2015

Economic Change: Ships to Silicon Chips
Dr. Daniel Pope, Emeritus Professor of History, University of Oregon

April 6, 2015

New Politics: Environmentalism and Civil Rights
Dr. Steven Johnson, Adjunct Professor of Urban Studies and Planning, Portland State University
Dr. Marisa Chappell, Professor of History, Oregon State University

May 4, 2015

Thinking About Oregon
Dr. Richard Etulain, Emeritus Professor of History, University of New Mexico
Dr. Jane Hunter, Professor of History, Lewis & Clark College