Faculty and Staff

Kristin Wintersteen
Assistant Professor

Robert Zaretsky

Kristin Wintersteen completed B.A. degrees in Latin American Studies and Spanish at the University of Washington and earned her 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 desiguALdades.net, 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 , an ongoing collaboration between the Louisiana Bucket Brigade and faculty and students at Tulane and Xavier Universities in New Orleans.


Professor Wintersteen’s teaching interests broadly include environmental history, marine, terrestrial, and beyond; Latin American history; world history; and public history. She teaches courses—such as Environmental History in the Americas, Water & Ocean Rights in Historical Perspective, and Environmental Justice in the Gulf/Caribbean—that highlight connections across national and disciplinary boundaries. Her pedagogy regularly incorporates visual cultures, digital media, and community-based learning as a means to engage students as citizens, challenging them to re-imagine the world around them from new perspectives.

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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. She is particularly fascinated by the history and ecology of industrialization and the impacts of this process at a global scale. Geographically, her research has focused primarily on the West Coast of the Americas (especially Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and the United States), and more recently, the Gulf Coast.

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

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Selected Publications

Tentatively titled Elusive Catch: The Global Race for Fish in the Southeast Pacific, Dr. Wintersteen’s book project explores the relationship between fluctuations in the Peru-Chile (Humboldt) Current marine ecosystem and the boom-and-bust cycles of industrial fishing along the South American Pacific Coast.

Articles and chapters

  • “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.
  • Protein from the Sea: The Global Rise of Fishmeal and the Industrialization of Southeast Pacific Fisheries, 1918-1973,” Working Paper No. 26, desiguALdades.net, Free University of Berlin (2012).
  • 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.