Official Website of Author

Carol Lynn McKibben

Urban History | Immigration | Race & Ethnicity | Gender 

Dr. Carol Lynn McKibben is an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. She has been teaching courses in California history, Urban history and Immigration history for the Department of History and Urban Studies at Stanford University since 2006. She has also engaged in numerous community based research projects on the Monterey Peninsula for thirty years.  

Her first book, Beyond Cannery Row: Sicilian Women, Immigration, and Community in Monterey, 1915-1999 placed women at the center of a transnational migration story that focused on the ways migration re-shaped Sicilian fishing families as they moved back and forth from villages in Sicily to Monterey, California and, at the same time, altered the character of the city over the course of the twentieth century.

Dr. McKibben served as Director of the Seaside History Project from 2005-2012. Her second book, Racial Beachhead: Diversity and Democracy in a Military Town (Stanford University Press, 2012) showed how federal investment and diversity of personnel stationed at nearby Fort Ord transformed a small community, Seaside, into an important center of civil rights activism in California.

As Director of The Salinas History Project Dr. McKibben is currently engaged in a community based research project that aims to re-examine the historical development of the city of Salinas in regional, state, and national context.








Forthcoming, Stanford University Press, 2020














Most recent student evaluations from Race & Ethnicity in Urban California 
Spring 2020, Stanford University

"In the time of the COVID epidemic and BLM movements/riots, it has been a very difficult time, but Carol has been nothing but compassionate and helpful. She always ensured she made time for me and the rest of the students during these hardships and was very lenient. I enjoyed her class very much and I hope see her soon, perhaps in one of her other courses." 

"California history, especially race and ethnic relations, is important for this university to embrace. Stanford being somewhat removed from the surrounding populous, needs to offer students courses that give them a better understanding where we are and of the history that surrounds us. Professor Mckibben went above and beyond talking me through important concepts and relating course material to my graduate research. The course is important, organized (which is important for me as a student), timely, and engaging. The themes of the course actually extend beyond California and have value for students in various areas of study. 


I also want to note the way Professor Mckibben treated me and the other students actually made me feel more welcomed here as an African-American, than other professors I have had in the past (communicates expectations, offers assistance, and is clear about where and how to improve). Coming to Stanford was an extremely rough transition riddled with doubt and feelings of not belonging. I have been followed by police, walked away from, or treated very cold. These interactions made me question: maybe I made the wrong choice in coming here? This class reminded me of why I applied, of the importance of my work, and that there are professors that treat you as a human, actually have empathy for the challenges of school, and have heart, which goes such a long way in these troubling times."

"This was one of my favorite classes at Stanford. I feel much more confident in my knowledge about California and in looking at individual cities/towns to analyze the patterns." 

"Despite the Zoom format, Carol did an amazing job of fostering a community among the class. The breakout sessions allowed me to get to know my peers well and deepen my understanding of the material. The guest lecturers were useful in breaking apart a long class and the short breaks helped conserve my energy and keep my momentum all through the class. I think blocking off the class in different portions (i.e. lecture, guest, discussion, etc.) helped breakdown the three hour period and made the class much more enjoyable and prevented Zoom fatigue from such a long time on screen. Carol is also one of the best instructors I have had at Stanford and I would highly recommend anyone take a course with her if possible. Overall an amazing course!"

"Prof. McKibben is an amazing professor. She truly cares about her students and their education."

"Great course, great instructor."

"If you want a better understanding of how race and ethnicity operate in relationship to urban space this class is a must. Although, we did not do the service learning component due to COVID, there is also great opportunity to engage with local communities through service learning. It’s a positive, supportive and supportive space which can be nice if you have had a particularly rough quarter relating to other professors. The instructor is well versed in the subject, kind hearted, and loves her students."

"Absolutely take it!!! Carol is one of my favorite professors ever, and you'll learn a ton in the class. Even with a 3-hour time slot, she managed to make the class very engaging and interesting, and we take breaks every hour. I am also proud to be a member of the Carol Fan Club! Take this class -- you'll learn a huge amount and make great connections."

"The course is interesting, the reading is dense (~ 50 pages a week), you learn more about history than modern race relations 6 This course made me regret not being a CSRE major from day one. The subject matter is fascinating, weighty, and complex, yet Professor McKibben makes it easily approachable. Her hands-on teaching style is one of the highlights of the course. Her lecture style is enthusiastic and funny, discussions are engaging and deep, and she gives more one-on-one attention to each student than any other class I've been in. The end result is a class that felt like it was customized to my interests while still ensuring I go outside my comfort zone. Three hour class sessions are intimidating over zoom, but Professor McKibben structured each course with lectures, guest speakers, discussions, and occasional breaks in such a way that I rarely suffered from "zoom fatigue." She was also flexible with assignments, due dates, and readings starting week 6, far before other professors starting making academic accommodations available. Ultimately, this class inspired me to take more CSRE courses in the future, and to join an informal summer "book club" guided by Professor McKibben with other students in the class. I would highly recommend this class to anyone, including and especially non-CSRE majors."

"This class was very insightful for anyone looking to deepen their understanding the urban landscape across California. The instructor, Carol, is very kind and insightful and very willing to help you learn more about the areas that interest you the most based on your preferences. The readings are all well-selected, if a little lengthy."

"I think this course amazing. I strongly recommend it. The information you will receive is very necessary. I don’t believe you need to be an Urban Studies Major to take this class. Everyone needs to be educated on the topics that were taught in this course."


A fascinatingly splendid book that challenges conventional wisdom about the power of race to shape urban life. This book illustrates the role of

small communities in the transformation of the twentieth-century American society.

Sardines migrate; fishermEn persist in following their paths—until, that is, women community builders declare an end to the constant shifting of home, family, and identity required by

this distinctive way of life. In her fascinating study of the fishing networks that linked Sicily, California, and Alaska, historian Carol McKibben makes a compelling case for female power. Her work reveals migration and settlement as deeply gendered processes in which female labor and decision making can be determinative. 

McKibben has written a provocative study whose implications extend well beyond the boundaries of its unassuming subject. She calls into question our conventional understanding of modern American urban history.











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© 2020 Carol Lynn McKibben