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Ian Rocksborough-Smith

Ian Rocksborough-Smith, PhD

Assistant Professor


Abbotsford campus, D3016

Phone: 604-504-7441 local 4702

email Ian


I teach mainly U.S. history at the University of the Fraser Valley in S'ólh Téméxw / British Columbia, Canada. My research interests include the study of late 19th and 20th Century United States, public history, social movements, and histories of race, labor, religion, and empire in the Atlantic world. I have published in The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research, Afro-Americans in New York Life and History, Harvard University’s African American National Biography, The Journal of American Studies of Turkey, Reviews in American History, The Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, LABOROnline (LAWCHA), Canadian Dimension and in The Conversation (Canada). I have a book available for order from the University of Illinois Press entitled: Black Public History in Chicago (April/May 2018). 



  • PhD., University of Toronto
  • MA, Simon Fraser University

Teaching Interests

  • U.S. history; Canadian history; Public History; Race and Class; Urban History; Gender Studies


  • “Catholic Inter-racialism in 1950s Chicago,” American Catholic Historical Association at the American Historical Association Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois (January 4, 2019).
  • Panel organizer and presenter, “New Histories of Anti-racist Activism in Chicago,” Organization of American Historians, Sacramento, California (April 12-14, 2018).
  • Invited Panelist, “Beyond the Monograph: Rethinking the Significance of Alternative Resources in the Production of Black History,” Association for the Study of African American Life and History Annual Meeting, Cincinnati, Ohio (September 29, 2017).
  • “The Ambiguities of Catholic Inter-racialism in 1950s Chicago,” Labor and Working Class History Association Conference, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington (June 23, 2017).
  • "Surveillance in a Time of Misery: U.S. Radical History and the Archives of the Cold War's Long 20th Century,” How Class Works Conference, State University of New York – Stonybrook, New York (June 9-11, 2016).
  • “Outstanding Authorities on Negro history:’'Curriculum Reforms and Black History Activism in World War II Chicago,” The Stokes Seminar: A Graduate Student and Faculty Colloquium of the Dalhousie Department of History, Halifax, Nova Scotia (October 2, 2015).
  • "Under the Banner of ‘the History and Heritage": Black Nationalism and The Afro-American History Association,” Social Science History Association, Toronto, Ontario (November 7, 2014).
  • Panel organizer and presenter, “African American (Inter)Nationalisms: Black Public History in Chicago, 1955–1963,” Organization of American Historians, Atlanta, Georgia (April 12, 2014).
  • “Contentious Cosmopolitans: Civil Rights, Black Public History, and Racial Knowledge Production in Cold War Chicago, 1942-1974,” American Studies Association, San Juan, Puerto Rico (November 16, 2012).


  • Black Public History in Chicago: Civil Rights Activism from World War II into the Cold War (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2018)
  • "'I had gone in there thinking I was going to be a cultural worker': Richard Durham, Oscar Brown, Jr. and the United Packinghouse Workers Association in Chicago, 1949-1955," Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society (Fall 2016): 259-299.
  • “Margaret T.G. Burroughs and Black Public History in Cold War Chicago,” The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research 41:3 (Fall 2011): 26-42.
  • “Reframing Black Internationalism and Civil Rights during the Cold War,” co-authored with John J. Munro, Journal of American Studies of Turkey 29 (Spring 2009): 63-79.
  • “Filling the Gap: Intergenerational Black Radicalism and the Popular Front Ideals of Freedomways Magazine, 1961-1965,” Afro-Americans in New York Life & History 31:1 (January 2007): 7-42.
  • “That’s a hell of a dialectic, man”: Jack O’Dell’s working-class affinities and the influence of Left-wing radicals in the civil rights movement,” in Jack O’Dell: The Urgency of Now. Ed. Michael Zweig (State University of New York, Department of Economics, Stony Brook: 2005), 12-20.

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