Skip to main content

Dr. Kyle Ciani

Schroeder Hall - SCH 306B
Office Hours
On sabbatical for Fall 2023 semester.
  • About
  • Education
  • Awards & Honors
  • Research


Professor Ciani specializes in the histories of women and gender across the Americas, with a focus on social justice issues. She is a Core Faculty member for the Women's, Gender & Sexualities Studies (WGSS) program, the History Department's liaison to the Honors Program, and the advisor for the Registered Student Organization, Women's History Club. Ciani is involved with efforts by museum professionals to diversify exhibition spaces and has worked on the National Women's History Museum Congressional Commission, the committee to secure the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument as a National Park Site, and is a member of the National Advisory Committee for the 1977 Women’s Conference Digital History Project. She also works with K-12 educators on strategies to better integrate the histories of women and girls into K-12 curricula. Ciani's service beyond ISU includes the CARES Committee for the Western History Association, the Voting Rights Committee for the McLean County League of Women Voters, advocacy for McLean County's YWCA, and the School Street Food Pantry.

Current Courses

135.007History Of The United States To 1865

135.008History Of The United States To 1865

262.001History of Women in the United States Since 1865

299.001Independent Honor Study

490.002Readings -- Field Of Study

330.001The Family In History

301.001Honors Thesis

299.001Independent Honor Study

499.005Independent Research For The Master's Thesis

490.002Readings -- Field Of Study

Teaching Interests & Areas

Histories of Women & Gender in the Americas; American Family; Women's Activism in the Americas.

Research Interests & Areas

In her book, Choosing to Care: One Hundred Years of Childcare and Social Reform in San Diego, 1850-1950 (University of Nebraska Press, 2019) Ciani assessed how the changing culture of work in southwestern transborder communities directed childcare strategies and policy formation. Her current research project is an examination of educational developments in the southwestern United States during the 20th century, including the introduction of public schools on reservations and efforts to rehabilitate adolescents judged delinquent by the court system.

Ph D History of Women & Gender

Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI

MA History

University of San Diego
San Diego, CA

BA History

University of San Diego
San Diego, CA

Influential & Inspirational History/Social Sciences Education Faculty

Department of History

Influential & Inspirational History/Social Sciences Education Faculty

Dept of History

Outstanding Service (Humanities)

College of Arts & Sciences

Leaguer of the Year

League of Women Voters of McLean County

Impact Award

University College

Impact Award

University College

David A. Strand Diversity Achievement Award

Illinois State University

ISU Leadership Initiative

Office of the Provost

Stan and Sandy Rives Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Illinois State University

University Teaching Initiative Award

Illinois State University

Book, Authored

Ciani, Kyle E. Choosing to Care: One Hundred Years of Childcare and Social Reform in San Diego, 1850-1950. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2019.

Book, Chapter

Kyle Ciani, "San Diego Zoo, San DIego, California," in American Tourism: Constructing a National Tradition, J. Mark Souther and Nicholas Dagen Bloom, eds. (Center for American Places at Columbia College Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012), 227-236.

Journal Article

Ciani, K. Childcare in San Diego during the World War II era. Judy Wu, Ph.D. and Rebecca Jo Plant, Ph.D. (EDs). Women & Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 (2022)

Kyle E. Ciani, “A ‘Growing Evil’ or ‘Inventive Genius’: Anglo Perceptions of Indian Life in San Diego, 1850-1900,” Southern California Quarterly, 89:3 (Fall 2007): 249-284.

Kyle E. Ciani, “Hidden Laborers: Female Day Workers in Detroit, 1870-1920,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 4:1 (January 2005): 23-51.

Kyle E. Ciani, “Revelations of a Reformer: Helen D. Marston Beardsley and Progressive Activism,” Journal of San Diego History 50:1/2 (Summer/Fall 2004): 102-123.

Kyle E. Ciani, “The Power of Maternal Love: Negotiating a Child’s Care in Progressive-era San Diego,” Journal of the West 41:4 (Fall 2002): 71-79.

Newspaper, Article

Kyle E. Ciani, “Putting an End to the Silence of Sexual Assault and Rape,” Gender Matters, 16:3 (February/March 2011): 1-2.

Ciani, K. The Personal is Historical. Gender Matters 14.3 (2009): 1-2.


Abortion Rights in the U.S. prior to Roe v. Wade. Post-Roe Reproductive Justice Speaker Series. Dept. of Politics & Government. (2022)
Centennial Celebrations: Complexities of the 19th Amendment. Academy of Seniors. Illinois State University Senior Professionals. (2021)
Centennial History of the Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute. Illuminating the Future for Children, Families and Community. Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute. (2021)
Finding Women's Voices in Unexpected Spaces: How Archival Research Revealed a Diverse San Diego. St. Mary's College Gender Studies Colloquium. St. Mary's College. (2021)
Bad A** Women: 20th Century Activists in the U.S.. History/Social Sciences Middle & High School Teacher Symposium. ISU Dept of History and McLean County Museum of History. (2020)
From the Lobby to the Street: Strategies Used by Voting Activists in the Early 20th Century. How Long Must Women Wait: Woman Suffrage and Women's Rights in Champaign. Museum of the Grand Prairie. (2020)
One Hundred Years of Activism Through Maternal Eyes, 1920-2020. International Women's Day. League of Women Voters. (2020)
Not all Women are Alike: Defining Pay Differentials. 2018 National Equal Pay Day Rally. Equal Pay Coalition. (2018)
Paradoxes of the Equal Rights Amendment Ratification Failures and Successes. The Equal Rights Amendment: Yesterday and Today. National Archives Foundation and Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument. (2016)
Daily Grinds: Day Workers, Women Adrift & Girl Problems in Progressive-Era Cities. The 8th Annual Labor Day Lecture. Monmouth College Department of History. (2015)

Grants & Contracts

Summer Seminar & Institute: Gender, the State, and the 1977 International Women's Year Conference. National Endowment for the Humanities. Federal. (2017)
Summer Faculty Fellowship. College of Arts & Sciences. Illinois State University. (2004)
Pre-tenure Faculty Initiative Grant. College of Arts & Sciences. Illinois State University. (2003)
New Faculty Initiative Grant. College of Arts & Sciences. Illinois State University. (2002)
Child Care Policy Project. Pew Charitable Trusts. Private. (1996)