Personal Statement:


My research interrogates the connections between environment and economics that originated on the American frontier and have led to the present obsession with market-based solutions to ecological and climate crises. I have broad interests in Western US history, the history of capitalism, agriculture and rural life, environment and ecology, and economic theory, and my specific research focuses on cattle ranching. Some of the topics I have written on include:

Range wars between Cowboys and Sheep Herders

Early grazing regulation in the American West

Women’s activism and consumer boycotts of beef

The gender segregation of Canadian meatpacking labour

International trade disputes over beef and oranges between the US, Australia, and Japan

Cattle futures trading

The environmental history of California rangelands

The performativity of markets for living things

If any of these topics interest you, you should email me!

Are you considering taking one of my classes? Great choice! Here is what my students say about me:

“I feel like your style of teaching is conductive to real learning. I feel more than just educated by this class—I actually feel inspired to explore the West in my own way.”

“You’ve continued to provide some of the most well articulated and passionate lectures & sections I’ve had yet.”

Loved the class. I often find history classes to be boring/dull, but your obvious passion for the subject really brought the material to life. Plus I always love classes that give students leeway to pursue their interests.”

Here is what you need to know before signing up for my classes: I am committed to teaching in university-level history and environmental studies through interaction with students. I try to introduce a broad range of ideas and viewpoints from different angles and periods of time. Sometimes the ideas are controversial or downright wacky, and it is up to you and your peers to evaluate and push back against them when necessary. I require significant independent thinking and independent research. Whenever possible, I allow you to define your own research topics so that you can develop your own expertise in the subject. My classes are not a breeze, but they are one hell of a ride! It would be my absolute pleasure to have you along.

Dissertation Title:

From Original Environmentalists to Welfare Ranchers: Crisis and Stability in the Economics, Ethics, and Ecology of Beef.

Selected Publications:

Peter S. Alagona, Tim Paulson, Andrew B. Esch and Jessica Marter-Kenyon, “Population and Land Use,” Ecosystems of California, Hal Mooney and Erika Zavaleta, eds. (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2016).

Peter Alagona and Tim Paulson, “From the Classroom to the Countryside: The University of California’s Natural Reserve System and the Role of Field Stations in American Academic Life,” Landscape and the Academy: Dumbarton Oaks Garden and Landscape Studies Series (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, Forthcoming).

Book Review by Tim Paulson. Scott Laderman, Empire in Waves: A Political History of Surfing (Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2014). Make Literary Magazine,  2016, (

Teaching Fields:

History of the American West

United States History

Environmental History & Environmental Studies

Economic History

World History

Food Studies

Courses Taught:

History/Anthropology 176B: The American West—Environment & Society

Awards & Professional Activities:

ISEECI Graduate Student Fellowship. Awarded by the Institute for the Study of Ecological & Evolutionary Climate Impacts (ISEECI), a project of the University of California Natural Reserve System (NRS). 2016.
Regent’s Dissertation Fellowship. Awarded by the Department of History, University of California, Santa Barbara. 2016.
Regent’s Special Fellowship. Awarded by the University of California, Santa Barbara. 2011-2016
History Associates Fellowship. Awarded by the Santa Barbara History Associates. 2015.
Summer Research Award for Off-Campus Upper Division and Graduate Students. Awarded by the Charles Redd Center For Western Studies at Brigham Young University. 2014.
Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarships—Master’s scholarship. Awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC). DECLINED.
The Peter G. Liddell Humanities Computing Award. Awarded by the Humanities Computing and Media Centre, Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria.

Research Projects:

Research Fellow. “Grazing and Climate on California Rangelands: A Study of Historical Land Use and Climate Change.” $10,000 USD, Awarded by the Institute for the Study of Ecological & Evolutionary Climate Impacts (ISEECI). Oral history interviews; aerial photograph analysis; non-traditional archival research; orphan and dark data collection and analysis; government agency interfacing; writing presentations, reports, and articles.  2016-Present.

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR). “University of California Natural Reserve System Archive Project.” P.I. Peter Alagona (Grant writer). $35,000 USD (portion allocated to Paulson), Awarded by the National Science Foundation. Indexing historical resources of ecological field stations; drafting site reports; creating archival collection records; off-site research; website construction; and deliverable product writing. 2012-Present. (

GSR. “Egregious Polluters: A socially-constructed explanation of disproportionality in the production of pollution,” P.I.s Simone Pulver and Mary Collins (Grant writers). $10,000 Awarded by Environmental Studies and Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, UCSB. Data collection; case study development; and writing environmental histories of case industries. 2014-2015.

Principle Investigator (P.I.) “Knife Men: Craft and Industrial Labour in British Columbia’s Meat Processing Industry, 1947-79.” No external funding. Oral history interviews of butchers, meat processing workers, and others involved in the British Columbia meat processing industry; ethics review and permissions; advertising and contacting participants; interview design and execution; writing transcripts. 2009-2010. Transcripts held in the University of Victoria Library Special Collections (Call Number TS1970 P38 20100).