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Dr. James B. LaGrand

Professor of American History, Director of the University Honors Program

Interest and areas of expertise

Modern American Political and Social History, Urban History, Public History, Native American History

  • Ph.D., U.S. History, Indiana University, 1997
  • M.A., U.S. History, Indiana University, 1992
  • B.A., History, Calvin College, 1990
Classes I teach
  • U.S. History, 1865-present (syllabus)
  • U.S. History, 1890-1945 (syllabus)
  • U.S. History, 1945-present (syllabus)
  • The Vietnam War (syllabus)
  • U.S. Urban History (syllabus)
  • African-American History since 1865 (syllabus)
  • Native American History (syllabus)
  • The American West (syllabus)
  • Public History (syllabus)
  • Nationalism and its Discontents in Modern America (syllabus)
  • My Country, Right or Wrong? America and its Critics
  • Historical Methods (History sophomore seminar) - Fall 2014
  • Historiography and the Philosophy of History (History senior seminar)
  • Created and Called for Community (first-year core course)
  • The Wages of Sin is Death: Breaking Bad as the New American Tragedy (syllabus)

James B. LaGrand is a historian of modern America.  He teaches a wide range of courses on American history since the mid-nineteenth century, and his research and writing focuses on the intertwining of political and social history during this time.  He serves as a referee, editorial reviewer, and consultant for journals, scholarly presses, and textbooks.  Before moving to Pennsylvania to teach at Messiah College in 1997, he lived in Boston; Ottawa, Canada; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Bloomington, Indiana.  He and his wife, Betsy, and their three children live in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Selected Works

Selected Publications

Selected Presentations

  • "Martin Luther King's 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' Across the Generations," Association for Core Texts and Courses (ACTC) annual conference, Ottawa, Canada, April 2013.
  • "Is there a Place for the Nation in Modern American History?" Calvin College History Department Colloquia Series, March 2012.
  • "The Promise and Problems of Progressivism in Industrial America," Center for Vision and Values Lecture Series, Grove City College, March 2012.
  • "Protestant-Inspired Reform in the City: The Search for Solidarity and Connection," Conference on Faith and History biennial meeting, George Fox University, October 2010.
  • "The West in American Life, Culture, and Politics," State Department Summer Institute for University Teachers, Grantham PA, July 2007.
  • "The Beginnings of Chicago's American Indian Community," Conference on Illinois History annual meeting, October 2005.