McFarlane, Wallace

Field: United States; Advisor: Jacoby; Year: 2014

Scot McFarlane is a Ph.D candidate in history at Columbia University.   His dissertation on the Texas' Trinity River extends from the antebellum period in the middle of the 19th century to the emergence of the environmental movement in the middle of the 20th century because of the ways the river changed in response to the legacy of slavery and urbanization.  Scot's research combines environmental history, the history of slavery, and political history to study how rivers have uniquely heightened and transcended divisions of race, gender, and space to shape our democracy. 
Scot’s research blog, CV, publications, and extensive book summaries can be found on his personal website: 


“Oil on the Farm: The East Texas Oil Boom and the Origins of an Energy Economy,” Journal of Southern History 83 (November 2017) 
“Defining a Nuisance: Pollution, Science, and Environmental Politics on Maine’s Androscoggin River,” Environmental History 17 (April 2012).


Scot is currently teaching his own course, "Rivers, Politics and Power in the US" in the history department. Prior to arriving at Columbia, Scot taught writing and history at high schools in Oregon and Massachusetts.  In collaboration with Daniel Grant, the Society of Fellows, and conservation groups in North America, Scot is launching a new digital humanities project featuring the history of rivers throughout the continent.  He has previously served as the Senior Lead Teaching Fellow for Columbia’s Center for Teaching and Learning mentoring graduate students across disciplines, after running the history department's teacher training workshops the year before.  Scot has been involved in developing several other public history projects online, gives public talks on his research, and regularly leads history tours of New York City.