Paula Tarankow

Lecturer in History

Paula Tarankow

Contact & Office Hours

Spring 2020

Thursday, 4-5 p.m.; Or by appointment.


Pierce Hall 108



Ph.D., Indiana University

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 post­–Civil War era reform and historical animal studies. The study of human-animal relationships allows her to pursue research questions about race and racism in the white American imagination. She is currently writing a history of animal welfare reform in the U.S. South. Her book project, “Loyal Animals, Faithful Slaves: American Animal Advocacy, Race, and the Memory of Slavery,” reconstructs the culture of humane sentiment and humane education forged by white and black southern reformers in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries. She explores this story within the contexts of white memorialization of slavery and the Civil War through Lost Cause sentiment and black activists’ claims to respectability, “uplift,” and readiness for full citizenship. 

In the classroom, she often incorporates animal histories into human-centered narratives to enrich our understanding of the human experience and provide an alternative approach to the study of American history. She also aims to spark students’ curiosities about their relationships with and ideas about animals beyond the classroom. She has received writing and research support from the Animals and Society Institute and the Culture and Animals Foundation.