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Dr. Kyle Ciani

Schroeder Hall - SCH 306B
Office Hours
Office Hours on campus will resume ​August 15, 2024. ​
  • 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. Her publications examine the advocacy involved in securing resources, such as childcare and education, to make waged labor available to women workers. She is a Core Faculty member for the Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies (WGSS) program and is the History Department's liaison to the Honors Program. Ciani is involved with efforts by museum professionals to diversify exhibition spaces, which has included the National Women's History Museum Congressional Commission and the committee that secured the Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument as a National Park Site. She is currently a member of the Sharing Stories 1977 National External Advisory Committee, which is a NEH-funded Digital History Project to collect the histories of delegates and alternates at the 1977 National Women’s Conference. 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

135.005History Of The United States To 1865

261.001History of Women in the United States To 1865

301.001Honors Thesis

299.001Independent Honor Study

499.005Independent Research For The Master's Thesis

300.002Senior Seminar In History

135.001History Of The United States To 1865

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 and Inspirational History/Social Sciences Education Faculty Member

Department of History

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

Stan and Sandy Rives Excellence in Undergraduate Education

Illinois State University

University Teaching Initiative Award

Illinois State University

Book Review

Laboratory of Deficiency: Sterilization and Confinement in California, 1900-1950s by Natalie Lira (University of California Press, 2021), Journal of San Diego History, 69:1 (2023): 122-125.

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

“Securing Childcare during the World War II: The Case of San Diego” Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000, Vol. 26, no. 1 (Spring 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.


The Power in Education: Generational Change in the 20th century. 50 Years of Women's Rights: An Interactive and Intergenerational Exploration. League of Women Voters of McLean County and McLean County Museum of History. (2024)
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)

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)