Maya K. Peterson

TitleAssistant Professor
DivisionHumanities Division
DepartmentHistory Department
AffiliationsEnvironmental Studies Department
Phone831-459-4915 (office),
831-459-2555 (message)
Office HoursSpring 2018: W, 10:30-11:45
Campus Mail StopStevenson Academic Services
Mail1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA
Maya K. Peterson

Research Interests

Imperial Russian and Soviet history
Comparative empire/colonialism
Central Asian history
Environmental History
History of engineering
History of frontiers and borderlands

Biography, Education and Training

Ph.D. in History, Harvard University, 2011
A.M. in Regional Studies: Russia, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, Harvard University, 2005
B.A. with High Honors in History (major), Russian (minor), and German Studies (concentration), Swarthmore College, 2002

Honors, Awards and Grants

  • UCSC IHR Faculty Fellowship, 2016

  • Carson Center Fellowship, 2012-13 (Rachel Carson Center, LMU, Munich, Germany)                            

  • College Fellowship, 2011-12 (Dept. of the History of Science, Harvard University)

  • Social Science Research Council Eurasia Dissertation Support Fellowship, 2010-11

  • Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship, 2008-09

  • Social Science Research Council International Dissertation Research Fellowship, 2008-09

  • Social Science Research Council Dissertation Proposal Development Fellowship, 2007

  • Merle Fainsod Prize, 2005-06; 2003-04 (Harvard University)

  • Roger Martin Travel and Research Grant, 2005-06 (Harvard University)

  • Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship (Russian), 2004-05; 2003-04

  • Abby and George O'Neill Graduate Research Travel Grant, 2004 (Harvard University)

  • Fulbright IIE Fellowship, 2002-03 (Berlin, Germany)  

  • Phi Beta Kappa, 2002                                                                                

Selected Publications

"US to USSR: American Experts, Irrigation, and Cotton in Soviet Central Asia, 1929-32," Environmental History 21, 3 (2016): 442-466.

"Engineering Empire: Russian and Foreign Hydraulic Experts in Central Asia, 1887-1917." Cahiers du Monde Russe, Special Issue: “Land, soil and people. Agricultural expertise and power (19th-20th centuries),” 57, 1 (January-March 2016): 125-146

Teaching Interests

Russian and Soviet history
Modern European history
Environmental History
History of Science and Technology
History of the Silk Roads
Comparative empire/colonialism
Comparative borderlands

Courses Taught

History 100: Historical Skills and Methods
HIS 152 Trade and Travel on the Silk Roads
HIS 173A Medieval Russia
HIS 173B Imperial Russia, 1696-1917
HIS 173C The Soviet Union
HIS 177 Environment in the 19th Century
HIS 196V The Soviet Experience
HIS 196W Brave New World: Visions of Utopia in the Soviet Union
HIS 251A Readings in Modern European History: Environment and Technology
HIS 280A and 280B Graduate Proseminars: Teaching Pedagogy and Presentations and Grant Writing