Department of History

History student works with her classmate during a group assignment

George Santayana once wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” The Department of History is interested in the critical events and issues in the past, helping future generations better understand how they impact the present and future. Faculty members have research interests spanning the legal, political, military, commercial and social history of North America, Asia, and Europe. Courses offer students knowledge and skills to benefit whichever field they choose.

Associate of Arts, History Emphasis

Diploma in International Development


A variety of courses are offered in Canadian, American, European, Asian, Global, and Indigenous history.


Dr. Chris Clarkson

History - Chair
Office: Salmon Arm Building 109
Campus: Salmon Arm
Phone: 250-832-2126 ext. 8248
History instructor Chris Clarkson

I was raised in Northern BC and worked as a coal miner prior to attending university. Since arriving at Okanagan College in 2003, I have taught courses in Canadian, Indigenous, American, Chinese, Japanese, and World history. My research focuses on legal and penal history and my published work includes Domestic Reforms: Political Visions and Family Regulation in British Columbia, 1862-1940 (UBC Press, 2007), and (co-authored with Professor Melissa Munn, Criminology and Sociology) Disruptive Prisoners: Resistance, Reform and the New Deal (University of Toronto Press, 2021).

PhD, History, University of Ottawa
MA, History, UVic
BA, History and English, UVic

Dr. Shao Kang Chu

Office: Ashnola Building 113
Campus: Penticton
Phone: 250-492-4305 ext. 3223
History instructor Shao-Kang Chu

My primary research interests include the life and career of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Nationalist Movement, and China’s role in the Second World War. I enjoy teaching history, especially that of the modern world and modern China, from a non-Western perspective. Of all genres of history, I particularly enjoy military and political history. History, I believe, has always been the epitaph for the rich and powerful, and will remain so in the future.

PhD, History, University of British Columbia
MA, History, Southern Illinois University Carbondale
BA, History, Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Howard Hisdal

Office: Centre For Learning 418
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4768
History instructor Howard Hisdal

As a college professor my area of specialization is Canadian military history during the Second World War.  After I graduated from Royal Military College I served as an infantry platoon commander in the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, then, following 17 years as a civilian, I became an armoured troop leader in the British Columbia Dragoons, a reserve regiment in the Okanagan. I made lieutenant twice and captain once, retiring from the military in 2014 after 25 years of service, including 10 military parachute jumps.  The Canadian Armed Forces awarded me a Canadian Forces Decoration (CD) for honourable service.  Since 2005, I have taught courses at Okanagan College in Ancient, Medieval, Canadian, American, World, and Indigenous history.  I have also created and taught courses on Warfare and Terrorism since 1945, and the Rise of Modern Capitalism. Okanagan College has given me a Teaching Excellence Award.

MA, History, Carleton University
Honours History Teaching, University of Toronto
Teacher Education, Social Studies, University of British Columbia
BA, History, Royal Military College

Dr. Jim Wood

Office: Business Building 208
Campus: Kelowna
Phone: 250-762-5445 ext. 4766
History instructor Jim Wood

Jim Wood joined the History Department at Okanagan College in 2013 after teaching at several universities across Canada, including Trent, RMC, UBC Okanagan, and UVic. His articles have appeared in Canadian Military History, The Journal of Military History, The American Review of Canadian Studies, War and Society, and BC Studies, and his book publications include We Move Only Forward: Canada, the United States, and the First Special Service Force, 1942-44 (2006) and Militia Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921 (UBC Press, 2010). He is a reserve officer in the Canadian Armed Forces, and he lives in Kelowna with his wife and three children.

PhD, History, Wilfred Laurier University
MA, History, University of New Brunswick

Matthieu Caron

Office: Main Building D365
Campus: Vernon
Phone: 250-762-5445
Caron, Matthieu headshot history

Matthieu Caron came to Okanagan College while completing his doctoral research at the University of Toronto. His dissertation — "Dissipating Darkness: Nighttime Governance in Montreal, 1954-1986" — examines how urban authorities govern nighttime and its economy, and it addresses questions relating to labour, sexuality, and art. He is part of the editorial committee for the Urban History Review / Revue d’histoire urbaine and is currently beginning a research project that entangles the administrative histories of Vancouver and Montreal during the second half of the twentieth century. At the college Professor Caron teaches British Columbia, Canadian, and twentieth century world history. 

PhD (ABD), History, University of Toronto
MA, History, Université de Montréal
BA, History, McGill University


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