Dr. Ryan Jordan

College of Letters and Sciences
Social Sciences

Contact Details

College of Letters and Sciences

Dr. Jordan is a historian of religion and race specializing in the 18th and 19th century United States, as well as in the history of California. He previously taught at Lafayette College, UC San Diego, and the University of San Diego. In 2003-04 he was a fellow at the Center for the Study of Religion at Princeton University. Dr. Jordan holds a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University (2004), as well as a B.A in History from UCLA (1998).


Dr. Jordan teaches undergraduate courses in US history from the colonial era to the present, and offers courses in the history of California. In the MA History Program, Dr. Jordan teaches US history classes, as well as methods courses for students completing a graduate thesis. He has overseen several MA thesis projects on topics ranging from the history of policing in nineteenth century California, to the cartography of the Civil War, to late 20th century debates over suburban development in Fresno.


Dr. Jordan has written extensively on the discourse of religious liberty and race in 19th century America. He is also an expert on the early history of the Society of Friends (Quakers.) More recently, Dr. Jordan’s research has turned to the social and economic history of southern California, and he is currently at work on a study of the Capistrano Valley in southern Orange County.


Contested Revolutions: The Era of American Independence, 1763-1791 (San Diego: Cognella Publishing, 2014)

Church, State, and Race in the United States: The Discourse of American Religious Liberty, 1750-1900 (Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2012)

Slavery and the Meetinghouse: The Quakers and the Abolitionist Dilemma, 1820-65 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007)


“Remembering the Forgotten Village of San Onofre: An Untold Story of Race Relations,” The Journal of San Diego History (Winter/Spring, 2014), pp.27-44

“The Radicalism of the Abolitionists Revisited: The Case of the Society of Friends,” in Orville Burton, et. al., The Struggle for Equality: essays on sectional conflict, the Civil War, and the long reconstruction (Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2011)

“The Dilemma of Quaker Pacifism in a Slaveholding Republic,” Civil War History (March, 2007), pp.5-28

“Quakers, ‘Comeouters,’ and the Meaning of Abolitionism in the Antebellum Free States,” Journal of the Early Republic (Winter 2004), pp.587-608.

“The Indiana Separation of 1842 and the Limits of Quaker Anti-Slavery,” Quaker History (Spring 2000), pp.1-27.


Jordan, Ryan. "Quakers and Abolition." By Brycchan Carey and Geoffrey Plank, Journal of American History 101:4 (2015): 1266-1267.

Jordan, Ryan. "Quakers Living in the Lion's Mouth: The Society of Friends in Northern Virginia, 1730-1865." By A. Glenn Crothers. Journal of Southern History 79:3 (2013): 687-688.

Jordan, Ryan “A History of Southland College: The Society of Friends and Black Education in Arkansas.” By Thomas C. Kennedy. Journal of Southern History 77:3 (2011): 738-739

Ryan P. Jordan. Review of Jackson, Maurice, “Let This Voice Be Heard: Anthony Benezet, Father of Atlantic Abolitionism” and Slaughter, Thomas, “The Beautiful Soul of John Woolman, Apostle of Abolition” H-SHEAR, H-NetReviews. March, 2010.

Jordan, Ryan P. “Imaginary Friends: Representing Quakers in American Culture.” By James Emmett Ryan, Journal of American History 97:1 (2010): 148-148