Christopher Pastore

Social and cultural historian examines human dimensions of environmental change

The World Within Reach
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Christopher Pastore

Assistant Professor
College of Arts and Sciences
Department: History

European and Native American history; social and human dimensions of environmental change; colonial history

Campus phone: (518) 442-5311
Campus email:


Assistant Professor Christopher Pastore is a social and cultural historian of early America with particular interest in the human dimensions of environmental change. His work examines the ways Europeans and Native Americans interacted with contested spaces — those that defied ownership and jurisdiction, that were neither "natural" nor "civilized"— which has steered my research into a decidedly watery world.

His book, Between Land and Sea: The Atlantic Coast and the Transformation of New England, examines the environmental history of Narragansett Bay (Rhode Island) from first European settlement in 1636 through industrialization during the first half of the nineteenth century. This study uses one of the largest estuaries on the East Coast and one situated at the heart of early English settlement in New England as a means to write estuaries into Atlantic history.

Pastore's work recovers that history by examining the ways settlers drew resources from rivers and creeks and the bays into which they flowed. He explores the ways coasts were mapped by explorers, promoters, and professional cartographers and how those processes reflected cultural conceptions of water through time. He also shows how water was partitioned among competing interests when it became the primary source of industrial power.

Pastore received his Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire.