Professor of History
Paul Otto came to George Fox University in 2002 after teaching at Calvin College and Dordt College. He earned a BA at Dordt College, an MA at Western Washington University, and a PhD at Indiana University where he specialized in early America and Native American history. He serves as chair of the Department of History, Politics, and International Studies, and is the Director of the Liberal Arts Critical Issues Program (LACI). Among his departmental duties, he teaches the U.S. survey, Introduction to Historical Studies, Latin American History, South African History, and Colonial and Revolutionary American history; he also the advisor for the local chapter (Alpha-Eta-Omega) of Phi Alpha Theta, the History Honor Society. In 2010, the university awarded him a faculty scholarship achievement award.
Otto's research focuses upon European-Native American relations. His first book, The Dutch-Munsee Encounter in America: The Struggle for Sovereignty in the Hudson Valley, is published by Berghahn Press. He undertook research on this book as a Fulbright scholar in the Netherlands in 1993-1994. In 1998, he received the Hendricks Award for his work on Dutch-Indian interactions. In further recognition for his work on New Netherland, he has been made a fellow of the New Netherland Institute and the Holland Society of New York.
Growing out of his original research on Dutch-Native American relations, Otto is writing a history of the use and development of wampum in the colonial northeast in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In support of this research he has received an Andrew Mellon Fellowship at the Henry E. Huntington Library (San Marino, California), an Earhart Research Grant, a Gilder-Lehman Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend. Prof. Otto presented Beads of Power: A Short History of Wampum at the university's Fall Faculty Lecture on October 5, 2010.
Paul Otto is available to lecture on topics related to his research and teaching expertise. In particular, he is prepared to speak on the following topics:
- “Beads of Power: A Short History of Wampum” or other wampum topics
- Topics related to the history of colonial Dutch-Native American relations
- “Going Native: White Indians Take Hollywood Films Captive” (lecture and slide presentation)
- Integration of Faith and Learning (Christianity and the Study of History, Christianity and the Liberal Arts)