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

North American Borderlands; Environmental History; California Culture; Science and American Culture


PhD, Brown University 

MA, Brown University 

BA, Scripps College 

Research Areas

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 and Thursdays, 1:30-3:00pm in GH-411 or on Zoom

Current Course Schedule

AMST395: California Cultures 

AMST401T: American Studies Proseminar