Stacey Smith

Stacey Smith


Assistant Professor

303A Milam Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331
Phone: (541) 737-1258
Fax: (541) 737-1257
Email: stacey.smith@oregonstate.edu


Stacey Smith specializes in the history of the North American West, with a particular emphasis on race relations, labor, and politics in nineteenth-century California. She teaches courses on the American West and the Civil War and Reconstruction as well as the U.S. history survey.



  • Smith’s new book (August 2013) explores the intersection of western history and the history of slavery.  “Freedom's Frontier: California and the Struggle over Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction” seeks to recast the story of the sectional crisis, emancipation, and Reconstruction in the United States by geographically recentering it in California. Weaving together the histories of a diverse array of unfree Californians—American Indian apprentices, illegally enslaved African Americans, contract laborers from Asia and Latin America, and bound Chinese prostitutes—she explores how California went through its own distinctive, regional struggle over unfreedom that both reshaped the social and legal landscape of the West and transformed the face of national Reconstruction politics.
  • Smith completed her Ph.D.in 2008 at the University of Wisconsin, where she received support for her work from the Western History Association, the American Historical Association, the Huntington Library, the Doris G. Quinn Foundation, the Institute for Research in the Humanities, and the Charles Redd Center for Western Studies. In addition to revising her dissertation for publication, she is currently co-editing The California Gold Rush: A History in Documents for Oxford University Press.
  • She has been awarded the Louis Knott Koontz Memorial Award given by the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association. This award honors the most deserving article published in the Pacific Historical Review for the previous year and is chosen by the journal's Board of Editors.  The winning article is "Remaking Slavery in a Free State: Masters and Slaves in Gold Rush California," published in the Pacific Historical Review  80, no. 1 (Feb. 2011).  This same article has also won the Ray Allen Billington Award, given by the Western History Association which recognizes the best article on Western history published in any journal outside of the Western Historical Quarterly.

Select Publications

Freedom's Frontier Freedom's Frontier:
California and the Struggle over
Unfree Labor, Emancipation, and Reconstruction