Kelli McCoy, Ph.D.

Professor of History
Chair, Department of History and Political Science
Dr. Kelli McCoy

Dr. Kelli McCoy teaches classes in 19th and 20th century U.S. history, U.S. women’s history, and world civilizations. She has also taught special seminar courses in the 1960s in the U.S. and San Diego history. Her primary areas of research are on social reform movements in the early 20th century U.S., especially focusing on women, gender, and the law. Her current book manuscript is on the early 20th century movement to end human trafficking and the way that played out in the legal system. She also has ongoing research projects in the fields of gender and the media, the history of science, and the connection between movements against human trafficking in the past and present.


  • Ph.D., U.S. History, University of California, San Diego
  • M.A., U.S. History, University of California, San Diego
  • B.A., History and Literature, Point Loma Nazarene University

Courses Taught

  • World Civilizations II – HIS 111
  • United States History, 1815 to1914 – HIS 320
  • America in the 1960s – HIS 380
  • United States History, 1914 to the Present – HIS 425
  • Senior Seminar in History – HIS 470
  • Topics in Women's History – HIS 475
  • San Diego Urban History –HIS 480

Experience in Field

  • Research at the National Archives and Records Administration in Chicago, IL; San Bruno, CA; Seattle, WA; and Laguna Niguel, CA. Extensive use of archived federal court cases, appellate cases, and prison records to collect and analyze information about over 1,000 cases that took place from 1910 to 1940.

Professional and Community Involvement

  • Served on local organizing committee for the Western Association of Women Historians (WAWH) Conference in San Diego, spring 2017
  • Interviewed for KPBS show San Diego Historic Places: Point Loma Nazarene University about the Point Loma Theosophical Society, aired May 30, 2013
  • Invited Lecture: “Policing Sex: Moral Panics and the Law in the 20th Century U.S.” San Diego Museum of Art, February 1, 2013

Awards and Honors

  • Alumni Association Faculty Grant, Point Loma Nazarene University, 2016 – 2017
  • First Runner-Up for 2014 Jerome I. Braun Prize, Awarded by the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society for the best unpublished article on the legal history of the North American West, February 2015
  • Alumni Association Faculty Grant, Point Loma Nazarene University, 2013 – 2014
  • National Archives Regional Residency Fellowship, Chicago, 2011
  • Research and Special Projects (RASP) Grant, Point Loma Nazarene University, 2011 – 2012

Dissertations, Presentations, and Publications

  • Kelli McCoy, “Regulating Respectable Manliness in the American West: Race, Class, and the Mann Act, 1910-1940.” Western Legal History, Vol. 28 No. 1 (Winter/Spring 2015): 1-42.
  • Kelli McCoy and Rick Kennedy, “Cotton Mather and the Uppity Women.” Books and Culture online. May 6, 2014.
  • Kelli McCoy, "The 1920s: Looking Forward, Looking Backward”; “Emergency Banking Act”; “What’s So Great about the Great Depression?”; “Bonus March”; “Breadlines”; and “The Dust Bowl.” Textbook articles for Spring 2014.
  • Kelli McCoy, “The Price of Independence: Paying for Life after College.” In Results May Vary: Christian Women Reflect on Post-College Life, eds. Linda Beail and Sylvia Cortez Masyuk. Point Loma Press Series. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2013. 
  • Kelli McCoy, “Women in Society.” In Celebrating Women in American History, Vol. III: The Progressive Era and Great Depression, ed. Elizabeth Rholetter Purdy, 19-34. New York: Facts on File, 2011. Edited reference volume.
  • Kelli McCoy and Jamie Gates, “White Slavery, Human Trafficking, and a Wesleyan Theopolitical Imagination: From the commodification of all things to the reconciliation of all things to God in Christ.” Presentation at the Wesleyan Theological Society Conference, PLNU, March 2016.
  • Kelli McCoy, “How the Early Twentieth-Century Campaign against “White Slavery” Can Help Us Understand Current Movements against Human Trafficking.” Presentation at the Conference on Faith and History, Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA, September 2014.
  • Kelli McCoy, “Negotiating the Regulation of Sex in the U.S.: A Comparison of the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest.” Pacific Branch of the American Historical Association Annual Conference, Portland, OR, August 2014.
  • Kelli McCoy, “The International White Slave Traffic: Legislating the Global Movement of Women.” World History Association Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN, June 2013.
  • Kelli McCoy, “Regulating Unmanly Behavior: Masculinity and the Mann Act, 1910-1930.” Western Association of Women Historians Annual Conference, Santa Clara, CA, April 30- May 3, 2009.