Sarah Payne

Contact Information

Phone: 970-491-6840



Office: Clark B363

Office Hours: T/R 12:30-1:45 pm

Role: Faculty

Position: Assistant Professor

  • Public History; Environmental History


Visit my Website Past Perfect

Areas of Specialization

Public History with ProfessorsOre and Fish-Kashay.History of Women Gender & Sexuality with ProfessorsAlexanderLittleandHindmarch-Watson.Environmental History with ProfessorsFiege Orsi Alexander and Howkins.


I joined the faculty at CSU in fall 2012 when I was hired as one of the department s three Public Historians. Prior to my time at CSU I worked in a wide range of Public History positions including at a consulting firm specializing in historic preservation and cultural resource management as the managing editor of the New Mexico Historical Review and as a consultant for museum and outreach projects. In addition to teaching and continuing to practice Public History my research is in the field of Environmental History. My current manuscript project Cleaning up after Sex: An Environmental History of Birth Control in the United States explores the production consumption and disposal histories of contraceptives from the late nineteenth-century to the present.In addition to teaching in the history department I serve as a Faculty Council Member of CSU s Public Lands History Center. At the PLHC my colleagues and I work with students on a wide range of projects that further knowledge of the history of America's public lands using our expertise in environmental history historic preservation Native American history social history museum studies and cultural resource management.

Regularly Taught Courses

  • HIST 503 Methods Seminar in Historic Preservation
  • HIST 580A1 Methods Seminar in Digital History -- visit our current course blog here
  • HIST 479 The Practice of Public History
  • HIST 478 Heritage Resource Management (cross-listed as ANTH 478)
  • HIST 476 The History of America s National Parks
  • HIST 355 American Environmental History
  • HIST 151 U.S. History since 1877
  • HIST 349 U.S. History since 1945





SP14 Digital History Methods Seminar – HIST 580A1

In this course, students will engage with literature addressing the primary issues of and technologies used to create digital history. We will learn, experiment with, and ultimately apply to real-world digital history projects a number of technologies (including Gephi, Sketch-up, Neatline, Omeka, and others). Our class will work with the undergraduate course HIST 480A5: Historical Methodology in the Digital Age as we workshop technologies and produce content for the CSU Lory Student Center. Students in this graduate seminar will complete their choice of one of three digital projects by working through the primary steps of any public history project. Through these projects, students will gain valuable project administration and team management skills as they work with peers and undergraduates to complete digital history projects for real clients.

SP14 Heritage Resource Management – HIST/ANTH 478

Why do we care about the past and how do we protect it? In this course, we ll investigate these questions by combining lectures and readings with class discussions, activities, and assignments to explore the theory and method of heritage resource management (HRM), or cultural resource management (CRM). (The term HRM is used internationally, whereas in the U.S. the same field is typically called CRM.) Heritage/cultural resource management is an interdisciplinary practice that uses the methodologies of history, architecture, archaeology, landscape architecture, etc. to identify, preserve, interpret, and/or mitigate resources. We will learn about heritage/cultural resource management legislation primarily in the U.S., but also in other countries, and internationally. We will discuss the how-tos of managing resources, including public involvement and stakeholders, site protection, and interpretation. We will investigate the current conflicts and ethical dilemmas in the field. In addition, we will use writing exercises and discussion to sharpen critical thinking and writing skills.

FA13 The Practice of Public History – HIST 479 - Syllabus

Public History, most simply defined, is any kind of history that is produced for an audience beyond an exclusively academic audience. This course will combine lectures, readings, class discussions, and assignments to introduce students to the various types of Public History. We will explore the theory, method, and practice of the primary areas of public history. Learning Outcomes: By the end of this course, students should be able to demonstrate a firm grasp of: 1) what public history is, who does it, where, and for whom 2) the core issues framing and energizing the field, and 3) the roles of historians and basic methodology used in the major forms of public history including Historic Preservation and Cultural Resource Management, Museums and Site Interpretation, Archives and Records Management, Oral History, Historical Film, History for Business and Government, Historical Editing and Publishing, Community History and Heritage Tourism, and Digital History.

Methods Seminar in Historic Preservation – HIST 503

This graduate seminar will combine lectures and readings with class discussions, activities, and assignments to introduce students to the principles and practice of historic preservation. The course objectives are twofold: 1) to provide students with a solid background in the history, purposes, and theories of historic preservation in the United States, and 2) to teach students the methodology and skills needed to complete the most common types of preservation work. This course will require intense and critical engagement with course materials, primary and secondary research, out-of-class collaboration with classmates, and may require attending field trips to historic properties during and/or outside of the scheduled class period.

History of America’s National Parks – HIST 476

This course will combine lectures and readings with class discussions and activities to explore the history of the America s National Parks. The goals of the course are threefold: 1) to acquaint students with a basic foundational narrative of the major ideas, people, and legislation that have contributed to the history of National Parks; 2) to introduce students to the major themes, problems, and conceptual frameworks that comprise this history; and 3) to develop critical thinking, reading, and writing skills through class discussions of readings and required writing assignments.