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Professor leads walking tour of Portland history

October 21, 2013

When she’s not on campus, Assistant Professor with Term of History Reiko Hillyer can often be spotted leading historical walking tours through the Portland neighborhoods of Chinatown and Old Town.

One of five tours offered by nonprofit organization Know Your City, Hillyer’s tour highlights the histories of Portland’s Chinese and Japanese immigrants and the city’s African American community.

“The quip that Portland is a ‘white city’ can be a dangerous one,” Hillyer said. “While it may point to the reality of a lack of diversity in Portland as compared to other major cities, such a characterization also contributes to an erasure of Portland’s multicultural past and present.”

The content of Hillyer’s tour relates closely to the ethnic studies colloquium she teaches called Race, Place, and Power. However, Reiko explains, “In almost every course I teach, I try to incorporate some Portland history so that students can understand the local manifestation of the processes I am discussing.”

Leading the tour has also prompted Hillyer to think about developing a lower-division course on the history of Portland, with the belief that students who understand the city’s history will feel more connected to Portland during their time here.


Katrina Staaf ’16 contributed to this story. 

Know Your City Tours Department of History


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