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Faculty and Staff

Kristin Wintersteen
Assistant Professor

Robert Zaretsky

Phone: (713) 743-0378
Office: 535 Agnes Arnold Hall

Kristin Wintersteen earned B.A. degrees in Latin American Studies and Spanish at the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. in Modern Latin American History at Duke University, specializing in the environmental history of industrial fisheries in the Southeast Pacific. Her research has been supported by Fulbright-Hays, the Organization for American States, the Forest History Society, the American Historical Association, and the American Society for Environmental History, among others. Before coming to UH, Dr. Wintersteen spent a semester as a research fellow with, an interdisciplinary research network co-hosted by the Free University of Berlin. She later taught courses at Tulane University as a postdoctoral fellow with the Stone Center for Latin American Studies, where she also co-coordinated the Down By The River public history project, a collaboration between the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and faculty and students at Tulane and Xavier Universities in New Orleans. During the 2014-15 academic year, Dr. Wintersteen was a resident fellow at the Institute for Historical Studies in the History Department at the University of Texas at Austin, as part of a cohort of faculty exploring the theme, “Cycles of Capital and Commodities.”


Professor Wintersteen’s teaching interests broadly include environmental history, marine, terrestrial, and beyond; Latin American history; global history; food studies; and public history. She teaches courses that highlight connections across national and disciplinary boundaries: Environment in the Americas, Water and Ocean Rights in Historical Perspective, Environmental Justice in the Gulf and Caribbean, World History Theory and Teaching, and Global History of Food (forthcoming). Her pedagogy regularly incorporates visual cultures, digital media, and community-based learning.

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Research Interests

Oceans, water, and the maritime world are at the center of Professor Wintersteen’s research interests in the field of environmental history. Her work explores the history and ecology of fisheries industrialization and the impacts of this process at a global scale, especially as it relates to the food system. Geographically, her research has focused primarily on the Pacific Coast of the Americas (especially Chile, Peru, the United States, and their coastal waters)—and more recently, the Gulf Coast.

Professor Wintersteen has presented her work at numerous conferences and workshops, including the American Society for Environmental History, the Latin American Studies Association, the American Historical Association, and the Latin American Society for Environmental History (SOLCHA).

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Selected Publications

Dr. Wintersteen’s current book project, Protein from the Sea: The Global Rise of Fishmeal and the Industrialization of the Humboldt Current Ecosystem, explores the relationship between fluctuations in the Peru-Chile (Humboldt) Current marine ecosystem and the boom-and-bust cycles of industrial fisheries along the South American Pacific Coast.

Articles and chapters

  • “The smell of money: Fishmeal on the periphery of the global food economy,” Harvard Design Magazine 39 (Fall/Winter 2014): 32-40.

  • “Proteína del mar: El auge global de la harina de pescado y la industrialización de las pesquerías en el Pacífico Sudoriental, 1918-1973,” trans., A. Ulloa, in B. Göbel, M. Góngora-Mera, and A. Ulloa, eds., Desigualdades socioambientales en América Latina (Berlin and Bogotá: Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut and Universidad Nacional de Colombia, 2014), 309-337.

  • “Sustainable Gastronomy: A Market-Based Approach to Improving Environmental Sustainability in the Peruvian Anchoveta Fishery,” in Environmental Leadership: A Reference Handbook, Vol. II, ed. D. Gallagher (SAGE, 2012): 626-634.

  • Co-author with John D. French, "Crafting an International Legal Regime for Worker Rights: Assessing the Literature since the 1999 Seattle WTO Protests," International Labor and Working Class History 75 (Spring 2009), 145-168.