Elisabeth Orr
Interim Dean, Social Sciences & Arts

Contact LAC, T-2329

I have been a professor in the History and Political Science Department since the fall of 1999. During that time I have taught a variety of history courses including the U.S. history survey courses from the pre-colonial period to the present, a course on the history of the American West and the history of the Americas (Canada, the U.S. and Latin America). Elsewhere I have taught the history of American Women, a course on American popular culture in the twentieth century and U.S. suburban history.

I love teaching in general because of those “Ah ha!” moments we all have when we are learning something new. For me, pulling together various strands of history into a coherent whole that helps to explain an important shift in events or helps to explain current situations in our country and/or in the world, is a great privilege. Teaching allows me to continue learning and also gives me the honor of showing my students the amazing ways that history can help us to make sense of our world in the present day. Although most of my students begin thinking that history is just a course they are required to take, I know that many of my students will come to love the study of history by the end of the class. My goal is not necessarily to make history majors of my students (although it’s nice when it happens) but rather to help my students see the beauty of becoming lifelong learners who will be informed and can make intelligent decisions in their own lives and regarding the future of our country and the future of our planet. This has never been as important as it is today as we face terrifically difficult challenges like climate change, overpopulation, and environmental devastation. I want to make history come alive for students so that they can see it as an important field of study that will inform their lives over many years.

Since you’re visiting this webpage, you might be interested to know that I attended Long Beach City many years ago myself. I received my bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College, a small liberal arts college in Ohio which is important historically because it was the first college to accept both women and blacks back in 1833. I later attended Indiana University where I received both my Master’s Degree and my Ph.D. in History. Feel free to ask me about graduate school if you think you might be headed in that direction.

I am married and have two sons, ages 4 and 2, who keep me very active. I live in Long Beach and grew up here and attended local schools. I love the L.A. area because it offers so many incredible opportunities to get out into nature, as well as amazing museums, universities, restaurants and interesting cultural events.

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