Dr. Allison Varzally

Contact Information

Voice: 657-278-4339
Fax: 657-278-2101
Dept: 657-278-3474


Allison Varzally, Ph.D.

Professor of History


Allison Varzally is a Professor of History at California State University, Fullerton interested in the histories of Immigration, Multiracial Relations, Asian Americans, and the American West. She teaches a range of courses and often serves as one of the graduate advisers for the history department. Her first book, Making a Non-White America: Californians Coloring Outside Ethnic Lines (University of California Press), examined the social, cultural and political interactions among diverse minorities in shared neighborhoods throughout the state that fostered multiethnic civil rights activism and the collapse of legal discrimination in education, housing, and marriage soon after World War II.  In 2008, Varzally won the Immigration and Ethnic History Society's Theodore Saloutos Award for best book in immigration history. Currently, she directs an oral and archival history project that examines Southern California’s food culture and commercial restaurants and serves as book review editor for the Southern California Quarterly, a journal dedicated to the history of the Far West and its associated regions. She has published articles that contemplate patterns of intermarriage, Asian International Adoption, approaches to teaching California History, and the racial turn in immigration history. Her second book,  Children of Reunion: Vietnamese Adoptions and the Politics of Family Migrations   (University of North Carolina Press, 2017) explores the lives of and stories told about Vietnamese children and their American and Vietnamese families to better understand the Vietnamese diasapora and changing ideas of U.S. citizenship in an era of heightened debate about national purpose and responsibility in the world.  She enjoys hiking, baseball, and the beach.


2002, Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles

M.A. History, University of California, Los Angeles, 1999

B.A. Williams College, 1994

Research Areas

Migrations, California, Comparative and Multiracial Relations, American West

Courses Regularly Taught

HIST 170B United States Since 1877

HIST 210A Baseball History

HIST 310 The California Experience

HIST 477A Multiracial History of America

HIST 477C American Immigration History

HIST 481B History of California

HIST 475C U.S. History Since 1960

Grants & Special Projects

Current Research Projects:

Dr. Varzally’s most recent project, California Kitchens, examines regional restaurants as spaces of immigrant labor, community, and cultural challenge after World War II. Since 1950, Californians, like all Americans have increasingly eaten at immigrant-powered restaurants rather than cooked at home, a new geography of consumption created by changes in the structure of American farming and global trade, the rise of franchising, and women’s expanded role in the labor force, and the successful marketing of dining out as an accessible, family-friendly leisure activity. However, the labor of more numerous and diverse immigrants has mattered most to the expansion of restaurants and their role, she argues, as sites not only of satiation, but community-making, employment, and contested citizenship.