Lecturer in History
Contact & Office Hours
Pierce Hall 108
Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington
M.A., B.A., California State University, Los Angeles
Paula Tamara Tarankow is a social and cultural historian of the 19th-century United States. She specializes in histories of race, violence and reform in the post–Civil War era. Her current research centers on the relationship between antebellum paternalism and postbellum animal anticruelty reform in the U.S. South. Her book project is tentatively titled “Loyal Animals, Faithful Slaves: American Animal Advocacy, Race, and the Memory of Slavery.” In this work, she exposes how the southern logic of protecting animals emerged from Lost Cause mythology and the legacy of slaveholding.
In the classroom, she often incorporates animal histories into human-centered narratives to expand how we understand the human experience. She also aims to spark students’ curiosities about interspecies relationships outside the classroom. Students in her courses may expect to explore legacies of slavery, emancipation and white supremacy. Tarankow maintains an interest in scholarship associated with the transdisciplinary field of animal studies. She has received writing and research support from the Animals and Society Institute and the Culture and Animals Foundation.