Natale Zappia

Professor Natale ZappiaNadine Austin Wood Professor of American History
Associate Professor of History
Department of History

Hoover 201
Personal Page
Curriculum Vitae






Academic History

Ph.D. University of California, Santa Cruz
M.A. Claremont Graduate University
B.S. Cornell University

Professor Natale Zappia is the Nadine Austin Wood Chair in American History. He specializes in colonial/early national North America with an emphasis on the early modern borderlands of the Atlantic World, Pacific Rim, and Native America. His research and teaching explores the intersection of continental trading networks, food pathways, and ecological transformations in colonial North America. You can explore more of his work on his personal website.

Zappia is also working on several public history and community-based outreach projects related to California, food systems, and the American West, including efforts to promote the revitalization of the Los Angeles River.


Selected Publications

“Agro-Ethnic Landscapes of Los Angeles” in The Anthropology of Los Angeles: City, Image, and Politics (Forthcoming, Rowman and Littlefield Press)

“Captivity and Economic Landscapes in Native California” in James Brooks and Bonnie Martin, eds., Uniting the Histories of Slavery (School of Advanced Research Press, 2015)

“Monoculture” in Ken Albala, ed., Food Issues: An Encyclopedia (SAGE Press, 2015)

"Revolutions in the Grass: Politics and Food Systems in Continental North America” Environmental History (Winter 2016)

Traders and Raiders: The Indigenous World of The Colorado Basin, University of North Carolina Press, 2014

"California Indian Historiography: From the Nadir to the Present," California History (Spring 2014)

"Indigenous Borderlands:  Livestock and Power in the Native Far West," Pacific Historical Review (May, 2012)

"Reclaiming the Soil: Gardens and Communities in South Los Angeles," in Josh Sides, ed., Post Ghetto: Reimagining South Los Angeles, University of California Press (Fall, 2012)

"The United States and the World: A Globalized U.S. History Survey," (co-author) in Carl Guarneri and James Davis, eds., Teaching American History in a Global Context, M.E. Sharpe (2008)

The Many Faces of Edward Sherriff Curtis: A Collection of Portraits and Stories from Native North America (with Steadman Upham), University of Washington Press, 2006


Works in Progress

Food Frontiers:  Indigenous and Afro-Eurasian Ecologies in Early America


Selected Grants and Fellowships

Visiting Scholar, UCLA Institute of American Cultures (2016-17)

Mauk and Nunis Fellowship, Huntington Library (2016)

NEH HSI Research Grant 2015-16

Short-term Fellowship, New York Public Library (2014)

Mellon Fellowship, Huntington Library (2014)

Franklin Research Grant, American Philosophical Society (2013)

Visiting Scholar Fellowship, Autry National Center (2013)

NEH Summer Research Stipend (2012)

Charles Redd Center for Western Studies Research Grant (2012)

Mellon Fellowship, Huntington Library (2011)

William Clark Memorial Library Fellowship (2010)


Recent Conferences and Presentations

University of Oklahoma National Science Foundation (NSF) Workshop “The Great Plains: An Environmental History” (2017)

ICW Seminar, Huntington Library (2016)

American Historical Association "Places and Materialities” (2016)

World History Association (WHA) "Networks of Slavery, Captivity, and Freedom in the Americas" (2015)

American Historical Association "Revolutions in the Grass" (2015)

Autry National Center Teaching American History Workshop, “Pre-Contact Native California” (2014)

William and Mary Quarterly-Early Modern Studies Institute Workshop, “Revolutions in the Grass” (2014)

Autry National Center Floral Journey Seminar, “Change and Continuity: Intertribal Trade on Material Culture” (2014)

National Council on Public History, “Intersecting Sustainable Urban Farming and Public History” (2014)

American Studies Association, “Food Deserts in the San Gabriel Valley” (2014)

CSUN Whitsett Annual Symposium, “Reimagining South Los Angeles”  (2013)

Southern Methodist University (SMU) Annual Public Symposium, “Captivity and Economic Landscapes in California and the Far West” (2013)

American Historical Association (AHA), “Empires through the Lens of Food” (2013)

Western Historical Association (WHA), “Indigenous Landscapes in the Far West Borderlands” (2012)

Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS),  “Teaching about Colonial Food Systems” (2012)

NEH Teaching American History Workshop, "Early Exploration in the American West" (2012)

Autry Western History Workshop, "Foodways in Colonial California" (2012)


Public History Projects

Consultant, California Humanities Community Service Project, “Transforming the Scrap Heap: Folk Art and Creative Reuse in Whittier's History” (2016-17)

Programming/Outreach Committee, Play the LA River: (2013-current)

Project Manager, Early California Cultural Atlas Project, Huntington Library (2009-current)

Visiting Scholar, NEH "Early California History" Workshop (2011)

Campus and Community Projects

Whittier College Sustainable Urban Farm (SUrF) (2010-current)

Whittier Boys & Girls Club Garden Program (2011-2012)

Salvation Army Bell Shelter Garden Program (2011-current)

Executive Director, Garden School Foundation (2008-2010)

Master Gardener, University of California Extension Program (2007-current)