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Key Researcher

Paul Hirt

Associate Professor of History

Paul Hirt is a historian specializing in the American West, global environmental history, environmental policy and sustainability studies. He is a Senior Sustainability Scholar in the School of Sustainability and a member of the Graduate Faculty of the Environmental Social Science PhD program, the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology PhD program, and the School of Geographical Science and Urban Planning. From 2006-2010 Dr. Hirt served as the Director of Graduate Studies for History.

Hirt’s publications include a monograph on the history of electric power in the U.S. Northwest and British Columbia, titled The Wired Northwest (Univ Press of Kansas, 2012). He also published a history of national forest management since WWII (A Conspiracy of Optimism, 1994), and edited two collections of essays on Northwest history (Terra Pacifica, 1998 and Northwest Lands, Northwest Peoples, 1999). Hirt has also authored more than two-dozen articles and book chapters on environmental and western history. His current research projects include collaborative interdisciplinary research on energy transitions, water use and conservation, and urban growth and sustainability in southern Arizona. Hirt is also involved in public engagement programs focused on nature and history at the Grand Canyon and in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands.

Hirt has served as a book and manuscript reviewer for more than a dozen academic presses and journals and has held positions on several editorial boards and professional association program and prize committees. From 2007-2011 he served on the Executive Committee of the American Society for Environmental History and in 2011 joined the editorial board of the journal Environmental History. He also chairs ASEH’s Advisory Board for Professional Development and Public Engagement.

In his private life Hirt is involved with regional conservation organizations, serving on the board of directors of the Sky Island Alliance based in Tucson, Arizona from 2002-2011: