Sean Fraga is currently a postdoctoral fellow at USC and is an interdisciplinary historian of the North American West, studying links between U.S. territorial expansion, the environment, indigenous sovereignty, technology, and mobility, primarily during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
His book project, Ocean Fever: Steam Power, Transpacific Trade, and American Colonization of Puget Sound, is under contract with Yale University Press for publication in the Lamar Series in Western History. In Ocean Fever, he argues that Americans acquired and developed the Pacific Northwest in order to participate in Pacific Ocean commerce. Americans interested in trade with East Asia saw Puget Sound’s deep harbors as valuable portals to the Pacific Ocean and used railroad and shipping connections to build Northwest seaport towns into global commercial hubs. But in the process, American settlers dramatically altered coastal environments and repeatedly displaced indigenous peoples. Today, tribal nations around Puget Sound are leveraging their marine sovereignty to shape the region’s future.
You can learn more about his work at seanfraga.com/