Photograph of Sara Fingal


Voice: 657-278-8273

Fax: 657-278-5820

Dept: 657-278-2441


Office: Gordan Hall 411

Cal State University, Fullerton

American Studies
800 N. State College Blvd.
Fullerton, CA. 92831

Sara Fingal, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of American Studies

Bio / Description

Sara Fingal's research interests include race and gender in environmental history, U.S. border zones, and water studies. She has experience teaching interdisciplinary classes on American Borderlands, the History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science, the Natural Environment, U.S. History, and Water in American Society. North American Borderlands; Environmental History; California Culture; Science and American Culture.


PhD, Brown University 

MA, Brown University 

BA, Scripps College 

Research Areas

North American Borderlands; Environmental History; California Cultures

Courses Regularly Taught

AMST350: Theories and Methods 

AMST395: California Cultures 

AMST401T: Proseminar in American Studies 

AMST404: Americans and Nature 

AMST449: The West in Symbol and Myth 

AMST502T: Graduate Seminar in American Studies


A Right to the Beach: Battles for California’s Coast and Making Postwar Environmentalism (book manuscript under advanced contract with the University of Washington Weyerhauser Environmental Books Series)


Articles, Peer Reviewed:

“Latinx Environmentalism.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History. Oxford University Press. Article published January 2019: 1-20.


Your House es Mi Casa: American Homebuyers in the Baja California Borderlands, 1964-1989,” Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 49, Issue 1, Spring 2018: 17–41.


 Essays and Chapters:

“Paraíso ‘for Sale”: Visions of Baja California in the Modern California Empire,” California History, Vol. 91, Number 2, Summer 2014: 74-75.

“Designing Conservation at the Sea Ranch,” Environmental History, Vol. 18, Issue 1, January 2013: 185-190. 


Book Reviews:

Review of Coastal Sage: Peter Douglas and the Fight to Save California’s Shore. By Thomas J. Osborne. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2017, 227 pp., $34.95 paper).Reviewed by Sara Fingal. Southern California Quarterly Vol. 100, No. 3, Fall 2018: 375- 377.


Reports or studies:

“Water Heritage Project Multigenerational Conversations Analysis Report,” Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, September 21, 2016. Co-authored with Christian Kelly Scott, MS, Joseph A. Hamm, PhD, MLS, Bruno Takahashi, PhD, and Adam Zwickle, PhD

Recent Presentations/Lectures: 

2021 “A Modern Leisure Empire: American Homebuilding in Mexico,” Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting, Virtual Conference, April 15-18

2019    “History Everywhere: Material Objects in the Classroom,” Pacific Branch of the American Historical Association Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, NV, August 1-3

2018 "Community Leadership Through Coastal Environmental Education," Environmental Justice, Race, and Public Lands: A Symposium, University of Oregon, May 9-11

2018 "Removing the “Best American Beach”: Environmental Privilege on the Los Angeles Waterfront​," American Society for Environmental History Conference, March 14-18

2018 "Alternative Histories of Southern California," Humanities and Social Sciences Lecture Series, CSUF, February 13

2017 "'Save the Beach for Me': Environmental Education and the Fight for Coastal Access, 1949-1987," American
Studies Association Annual Meeting, November 9-12

2017 "Water Pedagogy Across Disciplines: Can we analyze tap water as a historical object?," International Water
History Association Conference, June 14-17

2017 "Women, Water Resource Management, and the Environmental Movement in Southern California," Berkshire
​ Conference of Women Historians Conference, June 1-4

2017 Chair and Commentator on Panel: "Between the Wall and the Bridge: Comparing North American Border Environments,"
Association for Borderland Studies, April 12 - April 15

2017 "Latinos and Environmentalism, " Pushing the Boundaries of Environmental History, American Environmental
History Association Conference, March 29 - April 2

Office Hours

Tuesdays, 2:00-3:00pm and Thursdays, 2:00-4:00pm or by appointment -- please send an e-mail for the Zoom link or to make an appointment.

Current Course Schedule

AMST395: California Cultures 

AMST401T: American Studies Proseminar