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Alex Finkelstein

Lecturer in History

Education

Ph.D., University of Oklahoma, History, 2022
M.A., University of Oklahoma, History, 2018
B.A., University of Southern California, History, 2016

Biography

Alex’s research follows the logic and practice of punishment that has been central to modern United States development. He tells the story of the relationship of freedom and unfreedom by illuminating how, when, and why freedom has been restricted. This subject matter shapes how he approaches the classroom as a place for students to think critically and creatively about complex histories and systems that structure daily experiences. Because his studies and interests have been inherently interdisciplinary, his teaching has always sought opportunities to incorporate creative and diverse approaches. The classroom provides an opportunity for students to unpack and analyze systems and ideas that can be taken for granted or overlooked because of their power and presence in society.

He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma with an emphasis in Western and Environmental U.S. History. As of a historian of the Carceral State, his approach engages numerous fields, including environmental studies, legal studies, Africana studies, Chicanx studies, anthropology, sociology, political science, and economics. His research and writing focuses on Colorado’s carceral history as a window into both the exceptional and the normative practices of punishment in the U.S. His work has appeared in academic journals and published anthologies, and he is the co-editor on “Rethinking Regions in an Era of New Nationalism.”

Courses Taught

  • HIST 126: U.S. History to 1865
  • ENVS 100: Introduction to Environment and Sustainability

Publications

  • Reconsidering Regions in an Era of New Nationalism, co-edited with Anne F. Hyde (Nov. 2023, University of Nebraska Press).
  • “‘Control of the Industry’: Nineteenth Century Oil Infrastructure in New Deal Era Cinema,” in American Energy Cinema. Ed. Raechel Lutz, Sarah Stanford-McIntyre, and Robert D. Lifset (2023, West Virginia University Press), 231-242.
  • “Colorado Honor Convicts: Roads, Reform, and Region in the Progressive Era,” Journal of Gilded Age and Progressive Era 20, no. 1 (Winter 2021), 24-43.
  • “The Politics of Space and Memory: The Jefferson Davis Highway in the West” in Contested Commemoration in U.S. History: Diverging Public Interpretations, Global Public History Series, eds. Melissa M. Bender and Klara Stephanie Szlezák (2019, Routledge), 73-93.
  • “Los Angeles’ 1863-1876 Boom: A New Order of Economy, Power, and Race,” Southern California Quarterly 99, no. 2 (Summer 2017): 140-183.

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