Shaine Scarminach

Office: Wood Hall 14BShane Scarminach, Doctoral Candidate, Department of History, UConn
Office Hours, 2020-21: By appointment

Advisor: Frank Costigliola

BA History, University of San Francisco, 2010
MA History, California State University, Los Angeles, 2014

Areas of Interest: US and the World, US Empire, Environment, Capitalism, Latin America

Current Research Interests

I study the history of the United States and the world, broadly conceived. In my research and teaching, I explore the intertwined histories of US empire, world capitalism, and the global environment. In particular, I am interested in how the exercise of US power abroad has relied in part on managing human interactions with the environment. I am also interested in how those interactions became a site of social struggle for individuals and groups within and beyond the United States.

My current research explores changes in the human use of the oceans beginning in the middle of the twentieth century. During this period, new scientific knowledge and technological development made the oceans more legible to human society, and as a result, more susceptible to human impacts. The imperatives of economic growth and development at mid-century, combined with this new science and technology, pushed people to travel farther and faster on the ocean’s surface, draw greater amounts of living and non-living resources from coastal waters, and search for new sources of mineral wealth in the deep oceans.

The pace of these changes motivated government officials, scientists, lawyers, industry lobbyists, and civil society groups to come together in the 1970s to create a new framework for managing the ocean environment. After over a decade of hard-fought debate within the United Nations, their work produced the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, an international agreement signed in 1982 that regulates all uses of the oceans under national jurisdiction. I place these events in the wider political and cultural contexts of the Cold War, decolonization, and the modern environmental movement, and investigate in detail the diplomatic negotiations, strategic thinking, and institutional arrangements that influenced this watershed moment in global ocean governance.

Selected Awards and Honors

2019 Research Stipend, Rockefeller Archive Center
2018 Gerald R. Ford Presidential Research Grant, Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation
2017 Thomas G. Paterson Graduate Fellowship in the History of US Foreign Relations, Department of History, University of Connecticut
2016 Tinker Field Research Grant, Tinker Foundation
2015 Pre-Doctoral Funding Award, El Instituto: Institute of Latina/o, Caribbean, and Latin American Studies, University of Connecticut
2014 Outstanding Scholars Program Fellowship, the Graduate School, University of Connecticut
2013 Eugene Fingerhut Award for Outstanding Graduate Student in History, Department of History, California State University, Los Angeles
2010 David Herlihy Prize in History for Undergraduate Honors Thesis, Department of History, University of San Francisco

Selected Presentations

2019 “Refusal and Resignation: The Reagan Administration, the NIEO, and the Law of the Sea,” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations Annual Conference, June 20-22.
2018 “Oceans Come First: The United States, Ecuador, and the Ocean Environment,” Workshop for the History of Environment, Agriculture, Technology, and Science, October 5-7.
2017 “Of Borders and Boundaries: The United States, Ecuador, and the Ocean Environment,” New Perspectives in Environmental History, April 27.
2016 “Making Waves: Territorial Sovereignty and Resource Nationalism in U.S.-Ecuador Relations,” Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations, June 23-25.
2015 “Salt of the Earth: The Salinity Problem and U.S.-Mexican Relations during the Nixon Administration,” New England Historical Association, August 31.