Tim Paulson

External postdoctoral fellow

PhD, University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of History ( 2017)
MA, University of California, Santa Barbara, Department of History (2013)
BA, University of Victoria, Department of History (2010)

Supervisor: Joseph Taylor and Tina Adcock

Personal website: http://tpaulson4.wixsite.com/timpaulson

Research Description

The total mass of cows on earth is greater than that of any other non-microscopic lifeform, including humans. Their impact must surely be massive, too. It is, but the impact of cattle on different landscapes all over the world—including dry grasslands, mountain meadows, forests, feedlots, meatpacking factories, financial institutions, and supermarkets—has less to do with body mass than the socio-economic structures they sustain. My primary research interrogates the history of bovine capitalism and the ways people in the beef industry actively re-engineered both markets and landscapes over time. My dissertation on this subject used archival sources from the United States, Canada, and Australia.

My second research project at Simon Fraser University seeks to examine the long history of ecological change on specific landscapes. The current phase of the project is developing deep historical case studies of rangeland sites in British Columbia using a wide array of archival and non-archival sources, some familiar to historians and others usually reserved for scientists. I aim to bring all these sources together as data that can actually test and inform models of long term ecological change. Each case study contributes to local microhistorical interest; the project presents a new approach for historians to the questions of science; and this research will help me to link the transnational narrative developed in my dissertation to the finer texture of local experience.

Dissertation Title

Invisible Hooves: Markets and the Environment in the History of American and Transnational Cattle Ranching, 1867-2017, University of California, Santa Barbara (2017).


Peter S. 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 2017).

Tim Paulson, “From ‘Knife Men’ to ‘Streamlining with Curves’: Structure, Skill, and Gender in British Columbia’s Meatpacking Industry,” BC Studies 193 (Spring 2017), 115-145.

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), 75-94. Note: Volume is the winner of two 2017 PROSE awards from the Association of American Publishers.

Book Review by Tim Paulson. Jack Stauder, The Blue and Green: A Cultural Ecological History of an Arizona Ranching Community (Las Vegas and Reno, NV: University of Nevada Press, 2016). The Public Historian 39, no. 3 (August 2017), 137-139.

Double Book Review by Tim Paulson. Edward Payson Evans, Animal Trials (London: Hesperus Press, 2013 [1906]), and Denis Hayes & Gail Boyer Hayes, Cowed: The Hidden Impact of 93 Million Cows on America’s Health, Economy, Politics, Culture, and Environment (New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 2015). Make Literary Magazine (2017), http://makemag.com/double-review-cowed-by-denis-and-gail-boyer-hayes-and-animal-trials-by-edward-payson-evans/.

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), http://makemag.com/review-empire-in-waves/.


SSHRC Postdoctoral Fellowship. Awarded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), 2017-2019.

Best Conference Poster. Awarded by the American Society for Environmental History (ASEH), 2017.

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 Special Fellowship. Awarded by the University of California, Santa Barbara, 2011-2016.

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.

The Peter G. Liddell Humanities Computing Award. Awarded by the Humanities Computing and Media Centre, Faculty of Humanities, University of Victoria, 2010.