PhD History, UCLA, 2006
Current Position: Associate Professor of History & Environmental Studies and Director of the lnterdepartmental PhD Emphasis in Environment and Society, UC-Santa Barbara
Peter Alagona's research focuses on the cultural and political histories of ecology and the related life, environmental, and conservation sciences.
Peter received his PhD in history, with emphases in environmental history and the history of science, from UCLA in 2006. Previously, Peter had received a BA in history from Northwestern University, an MA in geography from the University of California Santa Barbara, and an MA in history from UCLA. Peter's research focuses on the cultural and political histories of ecology and the related life, environmental, and conservation sciences. He has published a wide variety of articles and reviews on these topics, in journals such as Ecology, Space and Culture, Bioscience, Environmental History, The Professional Geographer, Conservation Biology, and the Journal of the History of Biology. He also came to Harvard with an extensive pedagogical record, including teaching assistantships in history and geography, a teaching fellowship in environmental science, lectureships in geography and earth science, and four summers co-leading environmental studies field courses in California's High Sierra.
As an Environmental Fellow, Peter worked with Sheila Jasanoff, the Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, at the Kennedy School of Government. His primary goal was to convert his dissertation, on the history of biodiversity conservation in California, into a book. Whereas his graduate work focused rather narrowly on a few key case studies, his book provides one of the first truly regional histories of American biodiversity conservation. Since debates over biodiversity conservation so often involve issues of land use, he reframed his project to better understand how biological species—like the Mojave desert tortoise, valley oak, and Delhi Sands flower-loving fly—came to represent not only individual living beings and populations of organisms, but also the land itself.
Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard Kennedy School